Muslim-Jewish Christmas

We are looking for 10 cities nationwide to participate in a unique and easy interfaith program called the Muslim-Jewish Christmas (MJC), aimed at creating a unique opportunity for mosques and synagogues nationwide to come together on Christmas Eve. This initiative seeks to foster meaningful interfaith dialogue, build relationships, and engage in joint activities that address pressing needs in our local communities.

Our History
For 12 years, MJC has brought together thousands of Houstonians around the greater Houston area to break bread, laugh, cry, and learn from one another. This program is a unique and attention-grabbing opportunity bringing together Muslims and Jews around Christmas Eve to further their relationships through dialogue, activity, and a potluck meal.

Growing between Minaret Foundation and the Houston Congregation For Reform Judaism, in the first five years, our program has grown to include six synagogues and six mosques in two separate events. Developed through a layered process, our program provides a low-entry and media-worthy means of bringing 75-150 individuals together for a relationship-building event that can become a signature interfaith program in their respective communities.

Previous programs have created conversations around sacred allyship, mercy, forgiveness, identifying hate, past struggles, and connections with our faith. Through the sharing of intimate perspectives of our faith with others at the table, it creates and deepens bonds between communities.

Surveys from prior events have shown terrific results: 86% of attendees would attend again, 93% would recommend it to their friends, 89% said it helped them see new perspectives, and 94% believe we have more in common in our faith traditions than that which divides us.

Using yearly thematic elements to engage one another in dialogue, both communities can further develop their relationship by breaking bread and deepening their bonds. Past thematic elements have included sacred allyship, mercy, forgiveness, rooting out hate, struggles of the past, and connections with our faith.

Program Objectives

Interfaith Dialogue: The program seeks to encourage open and honest dialogue between Muslims and Jews, creating a space for respectful and coordinated discussion.

Community Engagement: By addressing pressing needs of the local community, contemporary issues, or spiritual aspects, participants will collaborate to develop actionable plans to make a positive impact in their shared surroundings.

Relationship Building: The Muslim-Jewish Christmas program aims to build lasting relationships between mosques and synagogues, building upon or establishing a foundation for ongoing cooperation and mutual support.

Thematic Focus: Each event will revolve around a thematic element chosen collaboratively by participating mosques and synagogues. The focus will be on topics that unite both communities, ensuring no attempts at winning the conversation but fostering a shared understanding and mutual growth.

Program Structure

The Muslim-Jewish Christmas can be hosted at a neutral location, creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, or alternatively, it can rotate between Muslim and Jewish venues every other year, promoting a sense of shared ownership and partnership.

The program focuses on engaging participants in group conversations rather than relying solely on panel discussions and group debates. By encouraging dialogue, the program seeks to facilitate open communication, mutual understanding, and building connections between attendees of both faith communities.

Co-hosts should introduce the Muslim-Jewish Christmas program at the start of each event, laying out its vision and objectives. This introductory phase will help set the groundwork for the ensuing conversations, emphasizing the importance of respectful and inclusive dialogue.

Moderated group conversations will form the heart of the program, where participants can express their perspectives, share personal experiences, and explore common ground. These dialogues will be carefully facilitated to ensure that all voices are heard and that participants feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas.

A typical program will also include a wrap-up session, allowing participants to reflect on key takeaways from the discussions and identify actionable next steps for continued engagement. This will reinforce the program’s commitment to creating lasting impact and meaningful change in the community.

To foster a warm and welcoming atmosphere, finger food should be available throughout the program, emphasizing a pot-luck style arrangement and encouraging attendees to bring and share traditional dishes from their respective cultures. This culinary exchange will not only add to the festive spirit of the occasion but will also serve as a beautiful representation of the shared values of hospitality between Muslim and Jewish communities.

We believe the Muslim-Jewish Christmas is a meaningful and easy step towards building bridges of understanding and collaboration between our faith communities. By encouraging genuine conversations and sharing in each other’s cultural practices, this program promotes a sense of interconnectedness and collaboration extending beyond the event, forging lasting relationships between individuals in our faith communities.

What is Minaret Foundation’s role?

We will provide you with information, knowledge-sharing opportunities, training, and marketing materials to make the event successful. This will be a local program focused on your communities and a fun addition to your existing lineup of interfaith or educational programs.

How Do You Get Started?

Our goal is to see the Muslim Jewish Christmas in 10 cities this year! If you’re interested in being a host city, please contact Fatima at fatima@minaretfoundation.com or by calling (281) 401-9229. We’re here to provide the support you need to make this program successful in your city.

Frequent Questions

Who creates the theme?

The unified theme is collaboratively determined with stakeholders, including new partners implementing the program in their respective cities, before mid-October.

How much does this program cost?

Apart from ancillary costs from the venue, the program has a low or zero associated cost.

Why Christmas?

It is an easy and ripe opportunity to bring individuals together in both communities because of the lack of programming, work, and school.

Are Christians invited?

MJC is a terrific time to focus exclusively on the relationship between Muslims and Jews. Christians are always welcome, but they may be a little busy!

What are examples of past themes?

In Houston, we have done programs related to the hereafter, charity, Muslim/Jewish identity struggles, mercy and forgiveness, raising a family in America as a minority, and standing together against hate. Programs have been conducted at mosques, synagogues, and even a movie theater inside the museum.

What day and time should the program occur?

The program should happen before Christmas dinner and is easiest to do on the weekend leading up to Christmas or on Christmas Eve itself. It can occur in the daytime or in the evening, depending on what works best for your community.