Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees Transitions to the Future

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to announce that, effective January 16th, 2017, the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA) — a project launched by Tanenbaum — moved to the Tides Center to continue its critically important work.

In September 2013, the T A N E N B A U M | Center for Interreligious Understanding was proud to convene a broad range of religious leaders and faith-based organizations to begin what is now America’s leading interfaith response to the Syrian crisis.

As a project of Tanenbaum, MFA has grown to include more than 75 constituent organizations. In addition to impacting more than 85,000 refugees in urgent need of aid, MFA addressed nearly 9,000 people with face-to-face public outreach programs, and reached audiences numbering more than 470 million through print, broadcast and digital media.  MFA has conducted briefings in many parts of the U.S. as well as Canada, Israel, the U.K and E.U. It has directly addressed the three core fears that hamper humane and sensible refugee policies: economic impact, terrorism, Islamophobia.

Tanenbaum is proud to have incubated MFA’s early work and to have enabled its growth.  Having grown and expanded its reach in the last three years, MFA is now ready to begin operating separately as a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) organization that serves as a fiscal sponsor, and provides services to over 230 nonprofits across the United States.

Tanenbaum looks forward to MFA’s continuing success and to remaining a member of the Multifaith Alliance and an active partner on the critical issues where our work to combat religious prejudice, hatred and violence intersects.

Joyce S. Dubensky
Tanenbaum CEO

Tanenbaum’s MFA Speaks Out – Don’t Demonize Refugees!

Dear Friends,

At Tanenbaum, we know that many of the people who are today’s refugees are just like us. People of many different cultures and beliefs, and ways of practicing them. They are orphans. They are parents with children.

Our nation is now in the midst of a debate about these individuals. The undertone is divisive, suggesting that only Christians should be brought in, that refugees can be equated with rabid dogs, and that all people who follow Islam (i.e., 1.6 billion people) must be treated as prospective ISIS activists. Tanenbaum objects to the hate-mongering that is going hand in hand with legitimate cries for appropriate security measures. And our President, the founder of Tanenbaum’s Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees project, had something to say about it.

Take a look.
Please stand with us, and fight the hatred that breeds violence and hate,

Joyce S. Dubensky,

Click here to stand with us and support our work

New Study Asks, Will America Elect a Mormon President?: News Roundup

Apologies for the delay in posting – last week was a big one for us!

In Tanenbaum news, our annual Award Ceremony was Monday, May 21st at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental in New York City. We were proud to honor our president and founder Dr. Georgette F. Bennett with the first-ever Visionary Award, and PBS correspondent Ray Suarez with the Media Bridge-Builder Award. Pictures will be up on the website soon; for now, you can check out the coverage on Lifestyle + Charity magazine. Thanks to all who attended and supported this year’s event, which broke Tanenbaum fundraising records!
On the election trail, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s Mormonism continues to make headlines.  The Deseret News reports on a new study:
"Our results suggest that Romney’s religion will remain a potential political stumbling block," Monson wrote in tandem with his co-authors, David Campbell of Notre Dame and John Green of the University of Akron. "However, the application of our analysis extends beyond Mitt Romney, and even the electoral viability of Mormon politicians more generally. … Our results suggest that sustained contact across religious boundaries — interreligious bridging — fosters religious tolerance in the political sphere."
Meanwhile, television pundit Bill Maher posted a tweet calling Mormonism a “cult:”
"Why even listen to #MittRomney on foreign policy? His entire FP experience is 2 yrs trying to brow-beat Frenchmen into joining his cult"
The Obama camp quickly distanced itself from Maher. Obama senior strategist David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union" that Romney's faith was "not fair game" and said the campaign "absolutely" repudiated any effort to inject religion into the race, as UPI reported.
Workplace discrimination issues were also top of mind last week, as several new lawsuits were announced and one pending piece of legislation made headway in California:
  • Sheldon Reichstein filed suit against Youth Advocate Programs Inc. in Texas, claiming that colleagues made derogatory remarks about his race and religion. (Southeast Texas Record)
  • A Time Warner employee is suing, alledging that he was terminated on the basis of religion after complaining about co-workers viewing pornography at work. (Reuters)
  • A New Jersey lingerie store employee is claiming that her Orthodox Jewish employers terminated her for dressing too provocatively. (ABC News)
  • In California, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would offer more protections to employees needing to wear religiously-mandated clothing or headwear, moved forward in the state assembly. (IndiaWest)
In Education news, a coalition of educational and religious groups issued an 11-page pamphlet on bullying, harassment and free expression in schools. (Huffington Post) This comes on the heels of a contested Illinois anti-bullying bill to which religious groups objected; the bill eventually failed amid concerns that it was promoting a same-sex lifestyle.
Following in the footsteps of our own Peacemakers in Action, an international interfaith delegation headed to Nigeria to promote peaceful coexistence among Nigerians of all faiths.