DAUGHTERS OF ABRAHAM
Co-Founders Lisa Larsen Hill, Fredda Klopfer, Mojdeh Hassani
Our Mission for Daughters of Abraham is to learn from each other’s faith and values and how it effects our lives. We will more fully understand each other’s faith journeys and be inspired by our commonalities of faith and learn and celebrate our differences. By sharing our faith stories, we will garner respect and mutual trust. We will look for ways to cooperate with our neighbor.
I met Fredda and Mojdeh at a seminar called Forgotten Women of the Torah. They told the story of Sara and Haggar and then told a play about what Sara and Haggar would say to each other today. It was amazing. I approached them and asked if they would be interested in doing something together and they did…they said I was the missing piece. They had long thought about this and am delighted and grateful for our collaboration and friendship.
We launched in March 23, 2019 and had 5 amazing sessions. Our meetings have been conducted at the Glenwood Landing Life Center, also with a visit to the Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove and the Congregational Church in Manhasset. We will visit the Islamic Center of Long Island in March 2020.
Daughter of Abraham Sessions
Each session consists of prayer, an educational handout, and sharing of faith stories from the participants. Each session has a theme, where we ask our participants to share their faith stories which will be identified in advance. We end each session with a lesson/s learned.
The meetings comprise of speakers and breakout sessions that are co-mingled religions ending with a light refreshment. We have limited the group to 30-36 (10-12 women from each faith) in order to create an opportunity for meaningful dialogue. Our intention is to create a community where we can build on our understanding and trust. It is not a religious class but rather sharing personal stories of our faith. This is not the definitive discussion of doctrines but sharing stories by lay people.
Holy Days: Celebrations or commemorations of the 3 religions most significant holy days, how they came about and what takes place during those days.
Each session has a theme which we advise the participants ahead of time so they are prepared if they want to share their experiences. For e.g. in one session we asked participants to bring something that was meaningful to their faith. Mojdeh brought her grandmother’s black hijab. She stated, “Some of you may feel frightened by this article of clothing due to what you have seen on television, but to me this is my grandmother’s hijab and she used to hide me and my brother under it, and for me this is a symbol of love.” With these shared stories we break down walls and instill respect and understanding.
Our session surveys help guide us to improve every session.
|Mojdeh Hassani is a passionate teacher who has been teaching in the field early childhood, special education since 1986. She attained her first Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and her second Masters of Education in the field of Early Childhood Special Education, both from Teachers College, Columbia University.
She began her teaching career with home-based services for developmentally delayed infants and toddlers, and gradually moved to elementary level services. She has worked in private special education schools, NYC’s District 25, and—for the past 18 years—North Shore School District.
Her passion and dedication to children is only matched by her spirituality and the belief that finding the common threads that bring people together serves a greater good. Ms. Hassani was raised with traditional Muslim principles that emphasized equity, compassion, and charity. Those are the qualities she has instilled in her daughters and the very same qualities she brings to the classroom. She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and moved with her family to the United States in 1976. Her Muslim upbringing taught her to appreciate diversity in thought and experience, and to assist people in finding their spiritual path through positive practices, such as charity and the daily rituals of prayer and meditation. Her mission is to continue to educate herself and others on these practices that unite humanity in genuine and healing ways.
Fredda Klopfer is a “retired” educator who spent her career in the North Shore Schools as a special education teacher and principal of the Glen Head School. Since retiring seventeen years ago, Fredda was a literacy consultant and volunteered to head the religious school at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove.
Fredda has always been fascinated by religion and minored in it in college. A seminal experience was when she took a course in religions in America which encompassed the multitude of faiths embraced by people in this country. The course required students to attend services of different faiths, something which she vividly remembers although it was almost 60 years ago.
Although Fredda’s passions include mentoring students, book groups, hiking, writing, and involvement in her synagogue, creating an interfaith group to foster understanding has long been a dream.
What participants have said about Daughters of Abraham:
“There are not many places where we share even among our own tradition, loved hearing the diverse stories, opinion and beliefs of everyone.”
“So grateful for your courage and openness and generosity.”
“Very invigorating and inspiring.”
“Love to hear opinions and beliefs from individuals and how they practice their faith.”
“I loved hearing other’s stories. What their religion brings to them personally and how it effects their daily life.”
“We need this today; we need to know we are more alike than different.”