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The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at the GTU co-sponsored their annual Madrasa/Midrasha Day of Learning on October 10 with over sixty people in attendance. Each year a topic is explored from both Jewish and Muslim perspectives. This year’s speakers were Rizwan Mawani, an educator, scholar, and research consultant who is currently completing his MA at the Center for Islamic Studies, and Francesco Spagnolo, a multidisciplinary scholar who is also the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, a Lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, and a host for the cultural programs of Italian National Radio (RAI) in Rome. Carol Bier, textile artist, Islamic Art Historian, and Visiting Scholar with the Center for Islamic Studies, moderated the panel.
Too often, Judaism and Islam are paired only when discussing issues like Israel/Palestine, and they are treated as polarities of the other. At the GTU, CJS and CIS are collaborative institutions, seeking ways to enhance the work of the other, especially with topics of human experience, while allowing for the theological distinctiveness of each tradition.