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Nisa-Nashim Co-Chairs Retreat 2021

2021-11-25T12:17:46+00:00

On 13 and 14 November, our Co-Chairs from all around England gathered in London for their annual retreat.

This was part of Nisa-Nashim’s ongoing pioneering work to bring together the Jewish and Muslim communities through the women, a challenge particularly after the flare up of hostilities in Israel/Gaza earlier this year. 

The weekend started with a visit to a Mosque – the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid – to hear the fascinating history of the building and give the Muslim women a chance to pray Isha, the evening prayer, before going for dinner.

This mosque, located in the heart of Tower Hamlets, has a rich history of serving its community since the mid eighteenth century; first as a church, then as a synagogue and now as a mosque, and so it was a meaningful place to start what was to be a weekend of sisterhood, robust discussion and introspection.

 

The next day saw our women  engage in a session titled “Difficult Conversations and Nisa Nashim” with founder and President of BIMA (Belief in Mediation and Arbitration) Dr Zaza Elsheikh. Her ability to firmly but carefully dissect the issues that she labelled ‘the elephants in the room’ allowed the group the safe space to discuss issues that affect Muslim/Jewish relations, and what tools can be used to effectively work through these.

 

The group visited Sandy’s Row Synagogue for a tour and a history of London’s oldest surviving and still functioning Ashkenazi synagogue from the President, Harvey Rifkind. 

 

The afternoon was spent building stronger community bonds, and participating in a social action activity for Mitzvah Day, a day of faith based social action. The women left late on Sunday, full of new ideas to take back to their home town and network. 

Our Director and co-founder, Laura Marks OBE, said “it has never been more important to build bridges between communities than now and I was delighted by the determination of our women to tackle such challenging issues”

Our Chair of trustees, Hifsa Iqbal MBE said “I was so proud of our women and so delighted to be part of this uplifting, positive engagement which, we believe, will bring lasting change.”

Check out some pictures from our wonderful event!

Nisa-Nashim Co-Chairs Retreat 20212021-11-25T12:17:46+00:00

Nisa-Nashim Teachers Group – A discussion on Inspirational Women

2021-09-19T22:54:00+01:00

Our Teachers’ Group has continued to meet during the past year and a half. In one of their last zoom call, the women who could attend decided to discuss four inspirational women from our traditions, two wives of Prophet Mohammed, Benazir Bhutto and the judge / prophetess Deborah.

Check out their beautiful smiles in this picture!

Nisa-Nashim Teachers Group – A discussion on Inspirational Women2021-09-19T22:54:00+01:00

We are back

2021-09-19T22:44:09+01:00

While we really loved our events online, we really missed face to face interactions. With the lifting of restrictions, Nisa-Nashim groups, members and co-chairs are finally starting to meet again. 

Rachel and Liz, co-chairs of Nisa-Nashim Marylebone, met to plan their next events. 

Anna, our Group Liaison Manager and co-chair of the Southgate group, met with Adele from South West London. The banner just happened to be in her car, we swear!

We are back2021-09-19T22:44:09+01:00

Nisa-Nashim Peace Rally!

2021-09-19T22:22:24+01:00

In the past months the events in Israel and Palestine have created a lot of tension within our communities. We wanted to send a message of peace and unity, and to show that we stand together no matter what. 

We organised a small gathering in North London and we ended up with a wonderful turnout, with nearly 30 women and girls who dropped everything to join us for mint tea, brownies, huge smiles and loads of chat!!

It was a really special afternoon. Passers by asked us what was going on and we told them it was a peace gathering of Jewish and Muslim women. They all said “how wonderful” – and it truly was #peace #salaam #shalom. 

Check out this article about our rally.

Nisa-Nashim Peace Rally!2021-09-19T22:22:24+01:00

Nisa-Nashim Leeds met in person – again!

2021-09-19T19:07:50+01:00

Nisa-Nashim Leeds had its first face to face meeting in over one and a half year – since the pandemic struck. It fills our hearts with joy to see that finally our women are starting to gather again! We have missed seeing their beautiful smiles, and we are sure you did as well.

Also, Nisa-Nashim Leeds was born 5 years ago, courtesy of the wonderful co-chairs Salma and Hilary – what an accomplishment!

Check out these wonderful pictures.

Nisa-Nashim Leeds met in person – again!2021-09-19T19:07:50+01:00

Fun Facts and Follies

2021-09-19T18:30:35+01:00

Seen that the past two years have been quite hard, we decided it was only fitting to organise an evening of fun, games and performances!

Our women are not only wonderful human beings, they are also incredibly skilled.

After a fun quiz on Islam, Judaism and Nisa-Nashim, we enjoyed some delightful performances which included traditional singing, prayers and some poetry as well. 

Check out this wonderful poem written by one of our co-chairs, Liz.. She read it live for us and we really wanted you all to read it! 

Fun Facts and Follies2021-09-19T18:30:35+01:00

Intermarriage – Personal Perspectives

2021-09-03T15:08:55+01:00

During one of our most popular events, we explored the topic intermarriage through stories and perspectives of Jewish and Muslim women.

We had four wonderful speakers who told us about their personal stories and experiences, in what turned out to be a moving and fascinating evening. 

Lynda Ford-Horne, our co-chair and a wonderful teacher, told us about her experience as a Jewish woman married outside the community.

Shahnaz Ahsan, an author and commentator, walked us through her life as a Muslim married to Avi, who is Jewish. They have a baby boy who they are raising in both faith (and food!) traditions.

Susan Katz Miller, the author or ‘The Interfaith Family Journal’, an interactive workbook designed to help any interfaith couple or family figure out a successful pathway, is an interfaith child, interfaith spouse, and the parent of two grown interfaith children.

As a speaker on interfaith families and interfaith identities, she explained what she has learned in her years of experience and gave us some very found advice. 

Anna Hussain, the Nisa-Nashim Group Liaison Manager, was raised as an Orthodox Jew and converted to Islam about 14 years ago.

Quoting her ‘It feels like I’ve been waiting all my life for an opportunity such as this’, she read the most moving letter, sharing with us her life journey, insecurities and feelings.  

It was one of our most moving and deep events, and we hope to have a new one soon!

Intermarriage – Personal Perspectives2021-09-03T15:08:55+01:00

Israel / Palestine: A Nisa-Nashim Open Listening Event

2021-09-03T09:13:39+01:00

The topic of Israel and Palestine is filled with emotions and multiple truths, so we wanted to provide a safe listening space for our co-chairs.

Over 50 women gathered from our network gathered one  morning to pray for peace in the region, but also to be able to express honestly how they have been feeling in the past days, in a session kindly hosted by Dr Jane Clements from FODIP.

Our work is more needed than ever now and this event was part of a long lasting commitment to honest conversations and true friendship. 

Israel / Palestine: A Nisa-Nashim Open Listening Event2021-09-03T09:13:39+01:00

The Parents Circle-Families Forum for Nisa-Nashim: Voices of Bereaved Mothers

2021-07-01T13:58:08+01:00

Despite clashing with England-Germany, 70 Jewish and Muslim women attended a Nisa-Nashim event on line to hear Robi Damelin and Layla Alshekh from the Bereaved Families Forum, talk about losing their child to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Robi, who lost her only son David, a young soldier, to a sniper, found a way forward through meeting Palestinian bereaved parents and committing to finding a way to come together.

Layla lost her 6 month old baby during the second intifada, after he had inhaled tear gas and was refused access to multiple hospitals by Israeli troops. It took 16 years before she was able to talk about her loss, which she did in the company of Israeli bereaved parents, saying it was like reopening the wound; “For the first time I felt we shared the same pain and shed the same tears”.

Praising Nisa-Nashim, and our focus on bringing Jewish and Muslim women together, Robi urged the British women not to import the conflict, asking us to be part of the solution, not the conflict.

To see so many people attend a zoom event which competed with England-Germany and supper time attested to the importance and power of Robi and Layla’s stories.

They made a huge impact on everyone in the room and showed what determined, loving women can achieve.

Here is the video of this inspiring event, a reminder that war is never the solution. Salam, Shalom. 

The Parents Circle-Families Forum for Nisa-Nashim: Voices of Bereaved Mothers2021-07-01T13:58:08+01:00