October 15, 2009

Four Pairs of Interfaith Fellows: Malka + Aziza

Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer

Four Pairs of Interfaith Fellows: Malka + Aziza Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer

» download (mp3, 5:32)

We’re in the final throes of polishing up our latest production, "Curiosity Over Assumptions: Interreligiosity Meets a New Generation" (yes, we know it's a mouthful!). Featured in this show are two activists based in Los Angeles, Malka Haya Fenyvesi and Aziza Hasan, whom Krista first encountered in 2007 at an Interfaith Youth Core conference. Together they co-direct an interfaith fellowship program in Los Angeles called NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. As production for this show unfolded, we were searching for how to illuminate the lived experience and impact of interfaith programs like NewGround. We wanted to know: "What do these NewGround fellows actually do? What does it look like or sound like?" The organization didn't have any audio recordings of their bi-monthly dialogue sessions, so we initially considered interviewing a handful of alumni. Then we discovered four pairs of fellows had actually interviewed each other through StoryCorps, a traveling oral history project. To kick things off, here's some tape of Malka and Aziza talking about their family histories and memories, and how these legacies speak to the activist work they're doing in LA. Earlier this year we used StoryCorps material in another show we produced, "Alzheimer's, Memory, and Being." This lovely audio gave the program emotional heft, and our audience noticed. As one listener wrote:

"This morning on the way to the dog park I was completely overwhelmed and moved listening to the two daughters interview their father. The interview was beautiful in its sadness and horrified me in its possible prediction of my relationship with my parents. I had to sit for a long while waiting to clear the tears before I could get out of my car." -Brian Coleman, Boca Raton, FL

As producers, we love getting e-mails like this because it tells us that the material we're putting out there "sings." Over the coming week, we'll be featuring excerpts of some NewGround conversations on SOF Observed. Let us know what you think. *Special thanks to StoryCorps, who recorded these stories in Los Angeles in 2009.

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is co-director of NewGround, and is the interfaith program coordinator at the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) in Los Angeles.

is co-director of NewGround, and director of interfaith programming for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in Los Angeles.