Local Jewish and Islamic community members will continue their dialogue on issues of common ground at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at the John Jones Conference Center of the WVU Health Sciences Center .

The free event is open to the public and is being sponsored by the Nova Institute in the WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. A light meal will be served.

“Muslim and Jewish Common Ground: Continuing the Dialogue”is the second in an ongoing series of sessions among Muslim and Jewish residents of the Morgantown area. This session will address issues that result when raising minority children in a majority culture; workplace issues; and the common experiences that Muslims and Jews share in a majority-Christian culture.

“We have a great deal of common ground,”said Cheryl Torsney, president of Morgantown’s Tree of Life Synagogue and an associate provost at WVU .”Of course we share similar traditional dietary practices, but we also have very similar customs on how to deal with death.

�€?Most importantly,�€? Dr. Torsney said, �€?we share the parenting challenges of handling the general assumptions of a majority culture. The cultural default is always Christianity, so sometimes issues arise that make our children uncomfortable.”

The goal of the dialogue is to encourage the two communities to interact with one another and to work together on issues of mutual concern.

“This group can help inform the rest of the community about the things that we have in common,�€? Torsney said. �€?The Jews and Muslims who live in Morgantown aren’t going to be fighting the battles of the Middle East . We’re people who share common concerns. We’re part of this community and we’re part of each other’s community.”

The Nova Institute is a center of research and training housed in the Division of Social Work within the School of Applied Social Sciences in the Eberly College . The Institute incorporates existing education, training and research capacities in nonprofit organizations and voluntary action (NOVA) , and combines them with the development of capacities in the related areas of student-based and citizen-based deliberation and dialogue and service learning opportunities.

For more information, contact Dolly Ford, NOVA Institute Project Director, at Dolly.Ford@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-3501, ext. 3102.