Jewish-Islamic Forum

Jewish-Islamic Forum

With its events, our Jewish-Islamic Forum strives to reach both a general audience and professionals in academia and government. The Forum's focal points are the circumstances of Jews and Muslims as minorities in Germany and the history of their fluctuating relationship. It pursues questions of religious practice and the philosophy of religion, such as the tension between tradition and modernity in both Judaism and Islam. Additionally, the Forum concerns itself with the impact of the conflicts in the Middle East on German society.


W. M. Blumenthal Academy

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
Postal address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

A Comparative Perspective on Judaism and Islam

In particular, the Forum aims to reveal commonalities between Judaism and Islam through a comparative perspective without neglecting the unique attributes of each. With these efforts, we hope to counteract the frequent tendency to frame them as starkly oppositional. The Jewish-Islamic Forum also hosts events that complement our museum's temporary exhibitions, building a bridge between the Academy and the Museum.

Signe Rossbach
Provisional Head of the Academy Programs
+49 (0)30 259 93 344

W. M. Blumenthal Academy

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
Postal address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

Lecture Series 2019/20 (6) Others’ Faith Show all

Others’ Faith

This lecture series explores the complex relationship of Judaism and Islam to the other religions. Two researchers are invited to each event who present the topic from Jewish and Islamic perspectives and enter into dialog with each other.

Mono or Poly? Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism

Tue, 4 Feb 2020, 7 pm
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein (Elijah Interfaith Institute) and Muhammad Suheyl-Umar (Iqbal Academy of Pakistan) talk about Jewish and Muslim views on Hinduism, which recognizes multiple deities.

What do you think about Jesus? Judaism, Islam, and Christianity

Tue, 18 Feb 2020, 7 pm
Israel Yuval (Hebrew University in Jerusalem) and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth (Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) discuss where Jewish and Muslim perspectives on Christianity overlap.

On the Path to Enlightenment: Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism

Thu, 12 Mar 2020, 7 pm
Jerome Gellman (Ben-Gurion University) und Johan Elverskog (Southern Methodist University) talk about the ways Judaism and Islam approach a tradition of thinking that recognizes deities but not one all-powerful and immortal God.

Non-Transcendental Morality: Judaism, Islam, and Atheism

Mon, 20 Apr 2020, 7 pm
Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University) and Ufuk Topkara (Johns Hopkins University) discuss, if mindsets critical of religion can be constructive for a Jewish and Islamic theology that speaks to our times.

Tying the Knot versus Bonds with God: Jews and Muslims in Interfaith Marriages

Thu, 18 Jun 2020, 7 pm
Madeleine Dreyfus (psychoanalyst with a doctorate in cultural anthropology) und Imen Gallala-Arndt (lawyer and a lecturer at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) talk about interfaith marriages in Judaism and Islam.

Judaism and Islam – The History of Theological Relations

21 November 2019 (with video recording)
Lukas Mühlethaler (Free University Berlin) and Imam Abdullah Antepli (Duke University, USA) discuss how Judaism and Islam see each other from different perspectives (in German and English)

Lecture Series 2018-19 (6) Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam Show all

Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam

Scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology over the past centuries have called into question the centrality of humans as the “crown of creation.”

Today, religious and scientific positions are often seen as irreconcilable. This lecture series sets out to explore the tensions and affinities between Judaism, Islam, and the sciences.

Creation and Evolution in Schools

4 July 2019, 7 pm
Evolutionary biology is not taught at some religious schools in the United States, Israel, and some Muslim-majority countries. This has encountered growing criticism, including from some Jewish and Muslim theologians and scholars. But how teachers present both scientific and theological views of the world without either de-legitimizing or reifying religious perspectives? The education scholars Rachel S. A. Pear and Anila Asghar discuss these questions from both Jewish and Muslim perspectives.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

13 June 2019 (with video recording)
Many people are skeptical of miracle stories found in Jewish and Muslim Scripture, or reject them entirely. For others, as believers, they are objective accounts of the facts and proof of God’s existence. Is it possible to believe in miracles in this day and age? A discussion with James A. Diamond, the expert in Jewish philosophy, and Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu, a scholar of religion.

Humanity: Between Destiny and Free Will

30 April 2019 (with video recording)
New findings in psychology, neurology, and genetics have been increasingly casting doubt on humans’ capacity to make conscious decisions. This comes down to whether humans are responsible for their own actions. Is our free will really just an illusion? A discussion with Alan Mittleman (Jewish Theological Seminary of America) and Martin Mahmud Kellner (Institute of Islamic Theology, Osnabrück).

How Much God Is in the Holy Scriptures?

5 March 2019, 7 pm; with video recording
How can belief in the divine revelation of Scripture be reconciled with historical textual research? A discussion between Benjamin Sommer, an expert in modern Jewish theology, and Ghassan el Masri, researcher on the Koran in the context of the Arabic literature of his time.

God, Darwin, and Evolution

31 January 2019, 7 pm; with video recording
The insights of evolutionary biology have marked a sea change in our understanding of how life emerged. In light of this, how do Judaism and Islam envision their belief in Creation today? A discussion between Natan Slifkin and Fatimah Jackson.

Science in the Light of Faith

20 November 2018, 7 pm, with video recording
Geoffrey A. Mitelman and Ahmad S. Dallal discuss how Jewish and Islamic theologians have reflected for centuries on the conflicting powers of God and his revelation and human reason.

Lecture Series (6) Jewish and Islamic Perspectives on Human Rights Show all

Jewish and Islamic Perspectives on Human Rights

Our lecture series addresses controversial human rights topics arising in various walks of life and examines them from Jewish and Islamic perspectives. For every lecture, we invite two scholars who present their own positions and then engage in a dialogue.

My God, Your God, No God

14 June 2018
What are the commonalities and differences between the Jewish and Islamic perspectives toward the contemporary discourse on human rights? Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University) and Anver Emon (University of Toronto) discuss questions in the dynamic space between individual freedom of belief and specific religions’ absolute claim on the truth.

Equal before God and Humans?

3 May 2018
What are the commonalities and differences between the Jewish and Islamic perspectives toward the contemporary discourse on human rights? Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth College) and Katajun Amirpur (University of Hamburg) discuss questions of gender justice in Judaism and Islam.

How Much Criticism Do Judaism and Islam Tolerate?

12 April 2018
What are the commonalities and differences between the Jewish and Islamic perspectives towards the contemporary discourse on human rights? Suzanne Last Stone (Yeshiva University) and Anshuman Mondal (University of East Anglia) discuss the culture of debate, freedom of opinion, and the openness to outside criticism in Judaism and Islam.

The Right to Life

8 March 2018
David Novak and Jonathan Brown discuss under what conditions a person's right to life can be restricted in Judaism and Islam and how this right is weighed against other legal rights.

Human Rights Treaties and How They are Received

25 January 2018
Michael Galchinsky and Mashood Baderin debate, among other questions, what religious and ethical norms underlie human rights agreements and what are the primary features of the current Jewish and Muslim discourse over the adaptation and practical enforcement of human rights outside of Europe and North America.

Human Rights and Religions – A Contradiction?

23 November 2017
Human rights are regarded as a secular value system. Where do Judaism and Islam provide a link to contemporary human rights discourse or are they even incompatible? Prof. Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali and Jill Jacobs entered into a discussion.

Film and Reading Series (9) Between Marrakesh and Mashhad: Jews in Islamic Countries Show all

Between Marrakesh and Mashhad: Jews in Islamic Countries

This film and reading series, hosted by the Academy program’s Jewish-Islamic Forum from July 2016 to September 2017, explored the past and present of Jewish lives in different countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

Las ultimas palavras

14 September 2017
Documentary, Turkish/Ladino with English subtitles

Yousef Abad

6 July 2017
Video art by the Israeli-Iranian artist Elham Rokni; Persian/Hebrew with English and Hebrew subtitles (audio recording of the talk available)

My Father’s Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq

11 May 2017
Reading and discussion in English with the author Ariel Sabar

Iraq N’ Roll

27 April 2017
Documentary, Israel 2011, 54 min,
Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

Damascus With Love

9 March 2017
Feature film, Syria 2010, 91 min, original Arabic version with English subtitles

The Jews and the Longest Kiss in History

14 December 2016
Documentary, Great Britain 2011, 60 min, English original version

Salata baladi – An Egyptian Salad

3 November 2016
Documentary, Egypt 2008, 105 min, Arabic with English subtitles

Villa Jasmin

28 September 2016
France 2008, 87 min, French/Arabic original soundtrack with English subtitles

El Gusto

14 July 2016
Documentary, Algeria, France, Ireland, 2012, 88 min, French/Arabic original soundtrack with English subtitles

Lecture Series (6) Ethical Questions in Judaism and Islam (with video recordings) Show all

Ethical Questions in Judaism and Islam (with video recordings)

The lecture series explored contentious ethical issues from diverse aspects of life and shed light on them from Jewish and Islamic perspectives. Two guest scholars gave each lecture, presented their tradition’s position, and engaged in a mutual dialogue.

Man as Lord or Guardian of Creation?

13 July 2017
Discussion: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Director of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, and Nawal Ammar, Dean of the Humanities & Social Sciences College at Rowan University in New Jersey

Sexual Ethics: Sexuality, Lust, Eroticism, and God

16 May 2017
Discussion: David Biale, author of Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America and Kecia Ali, author of Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Quran, Hadith, and Jurisprudence.

Military Ethics: The (Religious) Laws Silent Beneath the Weapons?

6 April 2017
Discussion: Michael Broyde, Professor and Head of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and Asma Afsaruddin, Professor at Indiana University.

The Boundaries of Life - Bioethical Challenges

23 February 2017
Discussion: Laurie Zoloth professor of religion at Weinberg College, Northwestern University, and Ilhan Ilkilic, director of the Institute for Health Sciences and the Institute for the History of Medicine and Ethics at the University of Istanbul.

Business Ethics – Is Capitalism Kosher/Halal?

8 December 2016
Discussion: Nathan Lee Kaplan, author of a book on Talmudic business ethics, and Idris Nassery, research associate at the Institute of Islamic Theology, University of Paderborn

Social Ethics – On Fair Social Order

26 October 2016
Discussion: Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies, Huron College of Western University in Canada, and Micha Brumlik, senior advisor at the Berlin-Brandenburg Center of Jewish Studies

Jewish-Moroccan Film Week (5) My Heart in the Maghreb Show all

My Heart in the Maghreb

In May 2016, the film week My Heart in the Maghreb presented a variety of perspectives on Moroccan Judaism, with feature and documentary films from France, Canada, Israel, and especially from Morocco itself. Most of the films made their German debut in the festival.

Oulad Moumen & They were Promised the Sea

12 May 2016
Two movies and Closing Panel

Opening of the Jewish-Moroccan Film Week

8 May 2016
Introductory Talk by Daniel J. Schroeter and Concert by Neta Elkayam Howa Jani

White Walls & Come Mother

9 May 2016
Two movies: White Walls (Director: Meital Abekassis) and Come Mother (Director: Sami Shalom Chetrit)

Goodbye Mothers, Moroccan Jews. Destinies Undone & Where are you going, Moshe?

10 May 2016
Three movies: Goodbye Mothers (Director: Mohamed Ismaïl), Moroccan Jews. Destinies Undone (Director: Younes Laghrari) & Where are you going, Moshe? (Director: Hassan Benjelloun)

Aïda & The Midnight Orchestra

11 May 2016
Two movies: Aïda (Director: Driss Mrini) und The Midnight Orchestra (Director: Jérôme Cohen Olivar)

Lecture Series (5) Judaism & Islam in the Diaspora (with video footage) Show all

Judaism & Islam in the Diaspora (with video footage)

The series of panel discussions explored topical questions that Jews and Muslims in the diaspora confront in their everyday religious practice. Each event featured two academics presenting the Jewish and Islamic perspectives.

Feminist Approaches to Judaism and Islam

14 April 2016
Panel Discussion with Judith Plaskow, religious scholar and author of one of the first works of Jewish feminist theology, New York and Ziba Mir-Hosseini, researcher on Islamic law and gender, London.

Organic Meets Kosher and Halal

1 June 2016
Panel Discussion with Shai Lavi, Professor of Law and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University, and Sarra Tlili, University of Florida.

Becoming a Jew, Becoming a Muslim

18 February 2016
Panel Discussion with Tobias Jona Simon, rabbi of the Association of Jewish Communities in Lower Saxony and Esra Özyürek, professor for Contemporary Turkish Studies at the European Institute, London School of Economics.

Religious Law and Secular State

9 December 2015
Panel Discussion with Ronen Reichman, Professor of Talmud, Codices, and Rabbinic Literature at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg and Mathias Rohe, Professor of Civil Law, Private International Law, and Comparative Law as well as head of the Erlangen Center for Islam and the Law in Europe (EZIRE), Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg.

What Does Diaspora Mean for Jews and Muslims?

29 October 2015
Panel Discussion with Michael L. Satlow, Professor of Judaic Studies and Religious Studies at Brown University, Providence and Sarah Albrecht, research associate at the Institute of Islamic Studies, Free University Berlin.

Calendar of Programs

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