NCJW Minnesota Section’s Muslim and Jewish Women of Minnesota (MJWMn) challenges commonly held narratives about what it means to be Muslim or Jewish women. MJCWMn is a coalition of three organizations: NCJW has a 123 year history; Rabata and Reviving Sisterhood are new, startup organizations. They initially came together around shared public policy goals: gun violence, and rising Islamophobic and anti-Semitic bias, racism and intolerance. Acknowledging the dangers Muslim women who wear hijab face as they walk through world, exemplified by the horrific murder of a Muslim teen girl in Virginia this past year, the three groups share a desire to create a powerful anti-gun violence advocacy effort while offering mutual support and growing understanding.
The November, 2016 elections were a raw and searing time, especially for Muslim women. Coming together at an event to prepare for NCJW’s lobby day, our Muslim sisters said that for the first time since the election they felt hope, and the potential power of this alliance to shape the lives of women for the future.
NCJW’s focus on civic engagement provides the overall rubric for the coalition’s activities. With nearly 230 women participating in multiple events, all three organizations are hoping that their alliance will convince more Muslim and Jewish women to run for office, address difficult areas of disagreement, and build and strengthen mutually supportive personal and political relationships. As NCJWMN Board member, Sara Schonwald, says: “My practice of Judaism boils down to this: We are all connected, and it is our honor and our responsibility to work together for tzedek (justice). MJWMn, then, is faith in action. We build a more just world together– one relationship at a time, one meal at a time (because we eat together a lot!) and one policy issue at a time.”