Cultural Programs

Shared Traditions, Common Chords, and Food for Thought

When: Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 6pm
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall
An evening of interfaith dialogue, music and food with Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali. Schneier and Ali will engage in a dialogue on the struggle for interfaith tolerance between Muslims and Jews in the United States. The two will tackle both domestic and international issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The clerical dialogue will be complemented by a joint performance by Pakistani Muslim rock star Salman Ahmad and renowned Klezmer musician Yale Strom. A dinner of Kosher and Halal food will follow this program.

Sesame Street in the Middle East: Paving the Road for Coexistence

When: Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 6pm
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall
Lewis Bernstein, a Queens College alum, spoke about his experience as executive producer of a joint Israeli-Palestinian production of "Sesame Street". Broadcast within Israel and the Palestinian Authority, "Rechov Sumsum" (Hebrew)/Shar'a SimSim (Arabic) featured Israeli and Palestinian Children, as well as Middle East versions of the puppets familiar to millions of Americans.

From Ballots and Bombs to the Negotiating Table? Prospects for Arab Israeli Diplomacy

When: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 5pm
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall
After elections in the United States and Israel, and the war in Gaza, new leaders touting new policies will face the enduring realities of the Israeli-Palestinian and the Israeli-Syrian conflicts. The special U.S.-Israeli relationship may come under the custody f new owners. Their relationship to each other, and to the Palestinians and Syrians, may be key to reviving a moribund peace process. Four experts with long experience in the struggle to resolve this fundamental conflict will offer their insights from points across the political spectrum. Panelists include Yossi Klein Halevi, Aaron David Miller, Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) Ilan Paz, and Jonathan Tobin.

Common Chords III: The Next Generation

When: Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 5:30-7:30 PM
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall
The latest of the Common Chords programs saw the return of Muslim Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad, and renowned Klezmer musician Yale Strom. Strom and Ahmad performed with their bands, and then collaborated in a Klezmer/Sufi rock jam. The next generation of musicians/composers was honored. Winners of the Forest Hills Composition Competition performed their original works, which were created to celebrate the themes of diversity, coexistence and “common chords”.


When: Wednesday, February 27, 2008, 5:30-7:30 pm
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall

Featuring Azhar Usman lawyer and co-founder of Allah Made Me Funny, featured in the New York Times, and on Nightline, the Daily Show, and NPR's "All Things Considered" and Rabbi Bob Alper, "The world's only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy . . . intentionally," seen at the Improv, and on Showtime, Good Morning America, and CNN.

This event was a lighthearted celebration of Muslim and Jewish comedy. Muslim lawyer/comedian Azhar Usman and Jewish Rabbi/comedian Bob Alper had audience members laughing, cheering and clapping for the duration of their hour and a half set.

Common Chords II

When: Tuesday, February 5, 2008, 5:30-7:30 PM
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall
Performances by Muslim Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad, and renowned Klezmer musician Yale Strom. Strom and Ahmad were joined by world class Soprano Monica Yunus, daughter of Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus and cofounder of “Sing for Hope”.

Common Chords

When: Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 4:30-6:30 PM
Where: LeFrak Concert Hall

”Common Chords,” a celebration of Muslim and Jewish music, will be presented at Queens College on Tuesday, May 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in LeFrak Concert Hall. Featuring Salman Ahmad of Junoon, South Asia’s most popular rock band, and Yale Strom, the world’s leading Klezmer artist, the concert is the final event in a semester-long series on bridging the cultural divide between Muslims and Jews. It is part of “The Middle East and America: Clash of Civilizations or Meeting of the Minds,” Queens College History Professor Mark Rosenblum’s nationally acclaimed project to promote understanding and informed discussion about the Middle East conflict on campus, in high schools, and in the larger community. This project is an initiative of the Michael Harrington Center at Queens College and the Taft Institute.