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SOMERVILLE, N.J. — A great divide often exists between people of different beliefs, creating misunderstanding, confusion, stereotypes and sometimes hatred. But, two brave women — Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab — are determined to forge a sturdy bridge over that divide between the Jewish and Muslim faiths through a community they formed, The Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom. “After I had returned from a trip to Poland, I had a burning need to do something meaningful and lasting to rid the world of hate and never again let hate take over,” Olitzky said. “It took me several months to come up with the idea of starting up a Muslim/Jewish women’s group. I knew there were so many Muslims and Jews in the area, but there was an absence of communication and relationship building amongst each other. “I wanted the group to consist of just women as women navigate the world through relationships.” Olitzky’s mission prompted her to contact the Imam from the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, who gave her Aftab’s name ...      Read more

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