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Klezmer Music Foundation and Muslim Community Center Academy Receive Skokie Grant to Build Bridges Through Music

2020 Event Promotes Folk Music Interfaith Experience for Skokie's Muslim and Jewish Students

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Photo: Duron Shem-Tov

Skokie, IL, 1/3/2020 – Students in Skokie will be treated to a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about music from other cultures while discovering their own musical roots and meeting each other, thanks to a grant awarded by the Skokie Community Foundation. The funds will allow the Klezmer Music Foundation and the MCC Academy to work in tandem on a lecture and workshop at MCC Academy and a public concert featuring students from both faith communities with the Salaam-Shalom Music Project at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie.  

The grant, awarded in November by the Skokie Community Foundation, is for a program to bring together the children of two Skokie faith communities who do not have many opportunities to interact in a meaningful way. 


As the Skokie Community Foundation affirms, “Lack of interactive activities can reinforce the inherent suspicion and mistrust that can exist between people from different backgrounds. Starting with children is always the best way to do forward-thinking programming for interfaith connections. In addition, learning about their own roots strengthens a child’s sense of self—and the ability to understand others.” 

Since 2015, the Skokie Community Foundation has awarded $150,000 in grants to local organizations to improve life in Skokie. This was one of four grants awarded by the Skokie Community Foundation for 2020. 


In November 2020, MCC Academy, Temple Beth Israel, and other Skokie-based Jewish organizations will host and participate in educational events to explore the history and performance of Arabic, East Asian and Jewish music.  This collaboration will build bridges of understanding between these two Skokie faith communities and will feature the Salaam-Shalom Music Project, a local interfaith group of professional musicians from Muslim, Jewish and Christian backgrounds who perform together on traditional instruments.  They will teach students about history, rhythms and scales, demonstrating similarities between their music and cultures, and then perform a public concert.

The grant award was accepted by Lori Lippitz, Director of the Klezmer Music Foundation, the Salaam-Shalom Music Project, and Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, at the Skokie Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Forum on November 1st, 2019. 

This annual event featured several Illinois politicians, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. This was not Lippitz’s first act of interfaith outreach to MCC Academy:  In 2014, Lippitz organized a welcome committee comprising teachers and parents from Solomon Schechter Day School to extend their best wishes to MCC Academy as the new occupants of the former Solomon Schechter school building. 

The Klezmer Music Foundation is an Illinois not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization promoting Jewish music education and interfaith outreach.


The Salaam-Shalom Music Project: 
The Muslim Community Center Academy:
Klezmer Music Foundation:  

The Skokie Community Foundation:  

“Important lesson at ex-Jewish school, now Muslim” Chicago Tribune, Mary Schmich, September 24, 2014:



The Klezmer Music Foundation
Contact:  Lori Lippitz, Founder, (847) 675-4800

The Skokie Community Foundation
Contact:  Lynn Seinfeld, Executive Director, (847) 287-3060


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