About the Podcasters

Ahmed Abedin


Ahmed Abedin is a comedian living in Los Angeles, California.

Susan Brooks


 Susan Brooks is a small business consultant and passionate human rights advocate. Susan is the former owner of Women’s Health Boutique, a compassionate boutique for women facing the cosmetic challenges of cancer. Prior to WHB, Susan was the Manager of Health, Fitness and Employee Services at Xerox. She is the Lead Legislative Advocate for Mothers of Black Boys United for Social Change, where she works on changing society’s perception and treatment of her sons and all Black men and boys. Susan has also spent over a decade working with Jewish World Watch to educate about and address human rights issues across the world. Susan believes in empowering others to understand that they can make a difference. Being part of this fellowship is very important to build new skills and connections to continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Susan is married to Bill and has a mixed race, interfaith family that includes five children, four grandchildren, and three dogs. 

Yasmin Kadir


 Yasmin Kadir is an American-Bangladeshi Muslim woman of color working in human rights, navigating her 20s, and trying all of the delicious foods of LA. As someone who has always lived on the cusp of multiple seemingly contradictory identities she has long been an intersectional advocate for the marginalized, underrepresented, and the excluded. Her experiences living in multiple states as a child, having an immigrant family, and travelling the world has extensively shaped her inclusive and global perspective. This inherent passion for justice translates to her work in human rights at Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, and hopefully, one day, into a robust law career. Yasmin is excited to participate in the NewGround fellowship, because she believes inter-community dialogue and intra-community critique are both imperative in catalyzing positive change. Growing up in small homogeneous towns, she always understood “halal” and “kosher” as the same concept, as well as the uniting tradition of not celebrating Christmas to be familiar and comforting. She hopes to apply this philosophy of being more similar than we are different, while also embracing our differences, during this fellowship and moving forward with our communities. 

Matthew Lavi


 Matthew Lavi is a first generation Iranian-American, born and raised in LA. He works as a realtor and creative business consultant, advisng companies and brands on how to grow and thrive, whether it be creatively or logisitically. Matthew’s advocacy work began at CSUN, where he was president of CSUN Students for Israel, which received ‘Best New Club’ award beating over 30 nominees. After graduating, Matthew became president of Nessah’s LedorVador, a young adult organization. Nessah Synogouge makes up one the largest congregations of Iranian-Jews in the U.S. Over the years Matthew has become an advocate for the LGBTQ community, helping others to discover and accept their true self. As a member of JQ’s Speakers Bureau, Matthew speaks to audiences educating them on LGBTQ rights and his own story of self-discovery. In his free time Matthew loves to travel. He’s been to over 20 countries, and lived abroad in Tel Aviv for almost a year. 

Gina Rozner


 Gina Rozner is excited to be a part of the NewGround Change-Maker Fellowship program. She is looking forward to the opportunity to meet new people, build relationships, and increase her knowledge and understanding of Muslim culture. In her free time, she finds herself at the beach, in parks, or binge-watching favorite shows on Netflix. She has a fascination with circus arts and is trying to learn slacklining and unicycling. She enjoys snowboarding, origami, photography, and drawing. When she can, she goes to concerts and poetry slams. Professionally, she overseeing the Special Education Department at a small charter school, where she works to ensure that all students have access to a quality education and can participate in the classroom/school activities. She is also working with the clergy and staff at Congregation Or Ami to further develop and grow the family education religious school track. She is involved with her spiritual community, IKAR, where she volunteers and spends Shabbat and holidays. 

Eric Katz


 Eric Michael Katz was born and raised as a Jew in Los Angeles where he’s currently working in digital marketing analytics. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, earning his Bachelors degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. During his college years, Eric witnessed high tensions between Jews and Muslims on campus which prompted him to join the Olive Tree Initiative, a student-run campus organization that facilitates a multi-perspective dialogue on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His involvement with OTI brought him on a student delegation trip to the Israel/Palestine region to speak with thought leaders, organizations, government officials and civilians directly affected by the conflict. This powerful experience and the subsequent gap year he spent volunteering in Israel inspired him to apply for the NewGround Professional Fellowship program several years later, where he hopes to help bridge the gaps between Muslims and Jews locally in Los Angeles. On his spare time, Eric enjoys being active, doing Crossfit, traveling and learning about the nature of consciousness. 

Khulood Madani


 Khulood Madany is an LA local. Professionally, she is a public accountant. However, one of her most important titles is a “Student of Life”. Yes, extremely corny, but it is also another title that she embraces. She is committed to NewGround because, to reference our Hindu brother, she is determined to be the change that she wishes to see in the world. 

Sheereen Karam


 Shereen Karam is a Muslim Egyptian American. She is passionately committed to advocating for our basic environmental, nutritional, and overall human rights. She has dedicated her personal time towards work on environmental policy reform, school wellness policy reform, and now steps forth into human rights reform. She sees humanity as one big interlaced family. Our bodies may look different, but our souls speak the same language: love. She joins the 2018-2019 New Ground: Muslim-Jewish Fellowship to bring this philosophy to life. May we be proud of our individual identities, root down on our similarities and blossom into an even stronger community. Inshallah. 

Remy Gates


 Remy Gates is a a Black queer Muslim poet and musician. They graduated from Williams College in 2016 with BA in Japanese and Africana studies, and believe that spirituality is continual. For that reason, and to discover new ways to help the community they have joined NewGround. They are hoping to find a circle of comrades with whom to raise consciousness mutually. 

Katie Porter


 Katie Porter has worked for over eight years in the affordable housing sector bringing hundreds of homes to families, seniors, and people with disabilities in Washington State, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. Katie is committed to the NewGround Program because she believes in the power of honest dialogue and personal vulnerability. When she’s not securing financing for affordable housing projects, she can be found trying to identify local birds, hiking shady trails, or exploring her (relatively) new home in Southern California with her wife and dog. She holds dual master’s degrees from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. 

Achmad Bastaman


Achmad Bastaman is a practicing and moderate Muslim in Los Angeles. He hails from the largest Muslim-majority country on Earth.  

David Alexander Gumpert


 David Alexander Gumpert is a native Angeleno raised in a multicultural family. He grew up with his Chicano family in East LA and his Ashkenazic Jewish family in West LA. He also identifies with Indian culture as his German grandparents fled WWII to Mumbai, where his father was born and lived until he was 17. David moved to Berkeley for undergrad where he received his BA in World/Comparative Religion and Native American Studies. After being inspired while volunteering at the Berkeley Free Clinic as a counselor, he went on to receive his doctorate in clinical psychology. His primary interest is community mental health and creating greater access to therapy services for underserved populations. He is happy to be home once again in LA after living in Berkeley/Oakland for 16 years. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and playing ukulele with his wife and their little dog, Lulav. David looks forward to joining the New Ground fellowship in order to build community with, learn about, and collaborate with others.

Alan Goff



Alan W. Goff is an educator and group process facilitator, specializing in social justice and diversity education and intergroup dialogue. His experience includes work with students, educators, and leaders in the education and nonprofit sectors. Alan is currently a PhD student at UCLA, with research interests in in intergroup dialogue, healing, and alliance building for social change. He was born and grew up in Los Angeles, of Belizean Kriol heritage.  
As a Muslim citizen of the U.S., and a child of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, Alan is firmly committed to challenging the social divisions and systems of oppression that prevent true justice for any and all communities. He is honored to participate in the NewGround Fellowship and contribute to the strengthening of interfaith relationships in Los Angeles. Alan is a strong supporter of traditional arts, and is a member of a Southern California based nonprofit folkloric dance company with a mission to preserve and promote cultural knowledge and traditions through the performing arts.