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July 2, 2010

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 2, 2010 PAGE 13A Riding the French countryside in the Jewish-Muslim friendship bus By Sue Fishkoff France in 1963, has a bach- dren stink of Jew hatred,' elor's degree in Arabic and " Serfaty said. "I told her BESANCON, France is a professor ofJewish law, that's true everywhere, but (JTA)--On a hot afternoon Hebrew philology and me- I was glad to workwith her." in early June, an unusual sorah--the transmission of A Muslim community looking bus is parked in the Jewishtradition.Alongtime center in another Paris central square of this his- activist in Jewish-Catholic suburb invited him to talk toric city in eastern France. dialogue, Serfaty in 2001 toagroupofMuslimwomen Passers-by cast sidelong organized France's first who wanted a Jewish per- glances at the brightly col- high-level meeting between spective on the violence oredportraits on its sideac- Jewish and Muslim leaders in Gaza. companied by such slogans on behalf of the Consis- "I went because this is as "Jews and Muslims say toire, the governing body what we want, the Muslim no to discrimination" and of French Orthodox Jewry. base reaching out to us," "We are more alike than As the intifadaworsened, Serfaty said. "It's not the you think." so did Jewish-Muslim rela- mayor calling us in." It is the friendship bus, tions across Europe in the But it's slow going. Ella a project of the French early 2000s, including in Ktourza, AMJF's program Jewish-Muslim Friendship France. Serfaty continued director, says some French group, known by the acre- organizing such meetings towns don't want to work nym AJMF. until, in November 2004, he with them. Led by a rabbi and imam, decided he had to take his "They're afraid, they'd the bus and its team spend work to the streets, rather hide their prob- five weeks every sum- "That's where the trouble lems," she said. mer traveling through the was, andthat'swherewe had And many religious Mus- French countryside hosting to be," he said. lims in particular are wary panel discussions, chatting Sue ishkoff In the summer of 2005, of the colorful bus, which with pedestrians, promot- The Jewish-Muslim Friendship bus team talks June lO to a Muslim activist in the central he teamed with Azizi, a has the word "Jew" embla- ing dialogue, and holding square of Besancon, France, law professor as well as an zoned all over it. out the hope of mutual imam whohadmovedfrom In the town square in respect and cooperation two communities in France titles," said Morgi Madini, Mosque of Paris and the Morocco to France two Besancon, young women between two communities has been exacerbated by a a Muslim and linguistics CRIF, the French Jewish years earlier. The two clerics in hijabs, the headscarves more often found at odds. rise in religious extremism professor in Besancon who umbrella organization, took 15 Jewish and Muslim worn by religious Muslim "This is our sixth summer among its Muslims and showed up for an AJMF Most Jews and Muslims teenagers from the Paris women, scurry past with- touring France," said Rabbi their poor economic status, discussion of Jewish and in France have roots in the suburbs, all young men, on out stopping to take the Michel Serfaty, AJMF's Many FrenchMuslims, par- Muslim dietary practices, same region: the former asix-weekbustourthrough Jewish-Muslim coopera- founder and co-leader of ticularly the young people, "We need this kind of rap- French colonies of Algeria, the French countryside, tion literature spread out the bus project with Imam are unemployed or working prochement; we need to Morocco and Tunisia. They Everyone slept in the bus on tables or bothering to Mohamed Azizi. "We fight menial jobs. They are living listen to each other." share a similar culture and andspenttheirdaystalking speak with the program discrimination and stereo- in crowded suburbs like the Few such initiatives exist history, and many speak the to young people and elected volunteers. types, and try to break down one where a 23-year-old in France; none besides this samelanguage, Arabic. That officials about tolerance "They are afraid," Azizi thewallsbetweenouryoung French Jew, Ilan Halimi, one is led by a rabbi and helps launch the dialogue, and diversity, said. "They see the words people." was kidnapped, tortured and imam. Their partnering, although it does not guar- After three summers, 'Jewish-Muslimfriendship' Tensions run high be- murderedbyagangofyoung and the fact that the work antee accord. Serfaty and Azizi decided and they are wary." tween France's estimated Muslims in 2006. takes place on the streets "There is a rupture be- to limit the summer tour to The only Muslims who 6 million Muslims and "We have done a bad and in schools, gives the tweenthe third and fourth adults while continuing to pause to find out what's 600,000 Jews. In addition job teaching our children AJMF project great access generations," said Serfaty, workwithtroubledParisian going on that afternoon to reverberations from the the importance of getting to France's Muslimpopula- who grew up in pre-inde- youths the rest of the year. are men like 38-year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, the alongwitheachotherwhile tion, say Serfaty andAzizi, pendence Morocco speak- Theboys, Serfatysaid, were Nordine Nemer, who says relationship between the maintainingtheirowniden- AJMFworkswiththeGrand ing French and Arabic and a bit "unpredictable" on the he works for an organiza- interactingwithhisMuslim road. Serfaty says his goal tion trying to end violence Israeli doctors set aside emotions neighbors--somethingfew is to create a cadre ofyoung against children. Nemer young Jews and Muslims Muslim activists committed stays for more than an hour, in France do today. "Jews to peaceful relations who discussing the finer points flotilla passengers .e left the suburbs, and are notafraidtoreachout of group psychology with in.jr, t fl a,o,,jt 1.I,, Jtl this young generation of totheAJMFwhenproblems Priska Tirouvanzian, an Muslims doesn't know any arise, intercultural psychologist Jews. They have forgotten That has already hap- who is traveling with the ByAdam Kredo at the National Guard As- organization," he explained, that their grandparents pened, bus to study the impact of sociation. "I didn't respect "We are not used to asking used to live together." Last November in Evry, this kind of dialogue. WASHINGTON (Wash- [the Turkish patients] and I someone what you really "We do this work because a volatile Paris suburb, a "This is good, but it's ington Jewish Week)--The don't agree with what they did before you came to the no one else dares," said Alge- Muslim activist who runs not enough," Nemer said, call came early on a recent did...but at the same time I hospital--if you wanted to rian-bornMarcDahan, apro- an afterschool program for smiling carefully. "Talk- morning:Ahelicoptercarry- wanted to provide them the biowusup...orifyouwanted fessor of applied mechanics underachieving Muslim ing is fine, but for things ing those wounded duringa best treatment possible and to kili someone. The minute and volunteer director of the children invited Serfaty to to change in this country, deadly raid on a Gaza-bound to cure them." you are in the hospital, you AJMF branch in Besancon. speak to her charges, we need to take serious flotilla would soon arrive at Mor-Yosefsays his staff-- are a patient like all other Serfaty, who moved to "She told me, 'These chil- action." the Hadassah Medical Center some of whom performed patients." in Jerusalem. life-preserving surgery on Disgruntled donors who But as doctors began several ofthewoundedboat question the policy hear this "00I00LOIIlllA ,JEWS IN THE MllJ'I'/UIY unloading the injured, they passengers--felt similarly, response from Mor-Yosef: quickly realized it wasn't "Nobody said, 'I don'twant "This is your money, and Medals, uniforms, maps, documents, photos & artifacts relate the Israeli soldiers who had been to treat them.' Nobody found donation is an option. [But] rushed to their facility for anexcusetogootherplaces," we're not going to change stories of hundreds of patriotic women and men who served since emergency treatment, he recalled." "Everybody our values." the mid-1800s through "In a few minutes, we knew the helicopters were Either way, Hadas- the current conflicts. understood that they are re- ontheirwayandcametothe sah's doctors have worked ally the terrorists who were traumaunit.Andtheminute through much tenser cir- brought to our hospital," Dr. they knew [the patients] were cumstances, Mor-Yosefsaid. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Hadas- from Turkey, the treatment "More than 25" of Ha- sah's director general, re- was [delivered] as expected dassah's employees lost called in a recent interview, on a professional level." relatives in violent clashes The medical team was Apparently not all of the between Palestinians and tasked with providing care hospital's donors agreed Israelis during the second to about seven severely in- with the impartial policy, intifada, he said. juredTurkswhohadsuffered as Mor-Yosefsaid that since Despite the tragedies, injuries to their extremities the flotilla incident, a few Hadassah's medicalprofes- and lungs after engaging have threatened to pull their sionals"continued towork, Exhibit runs thru in a deadly clash with Is- funding, andtoputonthewhitecoat. January2,2011 raeli Navy commandos in "Some of them said, 'I Andthe minutethey puton Also enjoy our core exhibit MOSAIC: Iewish Life in Florida, art exhibits, Museum Store and Bessie's Bistro the early morning of May 31. don't want to give money to the white coat, they act like Would the Israeli medical a hospital that treats terror- professionals and try to put staffers be able to uphold ists,'" he recalled, emotions aside." This exhibit is primarily sponsored by:The Rosenblatt Family, Robert Arthur Segall Foundation, & Galbut-Menin Family.The Museum their Hippocratic Oath and Fiscal pressure from do- The ability to effectively is supported by individual contributions, foundations, memberships and grants from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Arts; the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners and treat patients who had at- nors won't force a change in compartmentalize one's its Cultural Affairs Council and Tourist Development Council; and the City of Miami Beach and its Cultural Arts Council. tacked Israeli soldiers just hospital policy--no matter feelings, Mor-Yosefsaid, can ', o*T':" hours earlier? who you are, if you wind up only be cultivated through lllr_ Jewish Museum of Florida [1 .== !i:=j, "For me it was not an in Hadassah's emergency much time and training, pl= 3Ol Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139  .j  MIAMIBEACH Tel: 305.672.5044 - ,o,  issue," said Mor-Yosef, who room, you'll be taken care "It doesn't come easy," JJ|iJ .o== Tuesdays - Sundays, lOam-5pm. Closed Mondays & Jewish & Civil Holidays was in Washington on June of, Mor-Yosef said. but it is a requisite skill, 15 to attend a symposium "We're a humanitarian he said. Bring this ad in for 2 for 1 admission Hr-JN