Statement of Purpose
Jews and Muslims at Yale works to create understanding between Jews and Muslims in the Yale community on religious and political issues. We seek to foster a strong community of Jews and Muslims, through which lasting friendships and continued dialogue can be achieved. By establishing a base of friendships and strong relationships, JAM endeavors to break down barriers and create new perspectives on present conflicts.

 Group Description
JAM works to create a community of Jews and Muslims and a safe space for dialogue through regular small-scale discussions, social and educational events, and group dinners. We seek to educate our members about each others’ cultures and customs and gain a deeper appreciation of our similarities and differences. We also hope to raise awareness among the broader campus community about Judaism, Islam, and issues affecting Jews and Muslims through text studies, sharing of religious experiences, and service projects. JAM aims to foster an atmosphere of constructive and civil dialogue on campus and make visible shows of solidarity.

Our History

Jews and Muslims at Yale (JAM) was founded in 2002, with the goal of increasing dialogue and understanding between the Jewish and Muslim communities on campus in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Following 9/11, the Jewish and Muslim communities on campus recognized the need to come together, as exemplified by the students who gathered on Cross Campus to read parts of the Qur’an and the Torah immediately after the attacks. In 2002 Josh Bendor and Aatif Iqbal founded JAM, which would provide a structured way for Jews and Muslims to hold meaningful, long-term dialogue on important issues. While there were already many friendships and connections between Jewish and Muslim students on campus, there was no structured forum for discussing the complicated and sensitive issues confronting the two communities.
From its founding, a central element of JAM was its weekly dinners at the Slifka Center—where many Jews and Muslims already ate because of religious dietary guidelines. Over meals students were given the opportunity to discuss issues related to their religions, the relationship between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and the Middle East. Fishbowl discussions were also often used to help discuss difficult issues, especially ones related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One of JAM’s most successful traditions in recent years, the annual interfaith Iftar (the meal that marks the end of each day’s Ramadan fast), has become an important time for Yale’s Jewish and Muslims communities to come together to kick off the school year.
In addition to discussions and dialogue, which comprises the core of what JAM does, our activities have included film screenings, guest lectures, interfaith prayer swaps, community service projects, and the founding of this blog.
Over the years, JAM has helped foster respectful and productive discussions between the Jewish and Muslim communities on campus. We are proud to say that what now prevails on Yale’s campus is a culture of respectful dialogue and at times respectful disagreement, but not a culture of people arguing back and forth, essentially talking at each other instead of talking with and listening to each other.
In recognition of JAM’s important accomplishments, JAM has attracted attention from campus leadership, as well as local and national media.