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The Role of Women

In response to your September 30 article, “Jewish and Muslim Leaders: Better Together,” we would like to voice our agreement that Jewish-Muslim cooperation and dialogue, especially since 9/11, is a hopeful phenomenon for both communities and for America. We believe that dialogue is a fundamental building block for mutual respect, inter-group harmony and peaceful co-existence.

How much more accurate your story would have been, though, had it noted that women’s dialogue groups such as ours have for years made pioneering contribution to this dialogue? Instead, other than the one woman mentioned in the piece who is identified as a “critic” of the phenomenon, you only mention, quote and picture men.

We are eight women, four Jews and four Palestinians, who have been engaged in monthly dialogue for over three years. We are not hard to find — in fact, The Forward gave over its op ed page to us last year (“A Conversation Among Women,” Nov. 10, 2010) for essays written by our Palestinian members and edited by one of our Jewish members, Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

We speak as well for the many women’s dialogue groups that preceded us when we ask that The Forward recognize women’s path breaking efforts to create personal relationships at the grass roots that must exist if there is ever to be peace among peoples and nations.

Kathleen Peratis, Jeanine Shama, Talia Haztor, Feda Nasser, Letty Pogrebin, Katie Halper, Nadia Saah, Sabah Allen

New York

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