A Message from our Executive Director

Tahija Vikalo, Executive Director, and her beautiful daughters Hilal and Tasneem
Tahija Vikalo, Executive Director, and her beautiful daughters Hilal and Tasneem

As some of you know, last year was personally a very difficult year for me.  Returning to work full-time at the beginning of the year was daunting but at the same time, a relief. I was inspired once again by all the amazing women in our network.

Since my return, I have been focused on working with our team to fill the year with great programs and learning. We know the power and importance of dialogue and relationship building. We also know that the ultimate power in those relationships is realized through the actions we take within our own families, in our schools, and in our broader communities. Together, through the SIsterhood, we can continue to learn from one another and explore how we can strengthen our collaborative efforts toward the change we all want to see. 

I have also been reflecting on the power of women’s interfaith work. Many of us are the core of our families, communities, and work environments. We wear many hats, and at the same time, we live and work with deep wisdom and empathy that extends beyond our immediate surroundings. The support we can provide to each other is enormous. 

Over the past few months, I have personally experienced that deep connection and support. As you might know, I  spent from August to December of last year in the hospital with my daughter Tasneem, who returned to her Creator on December 4, 2022. Throughout that time and to this day, I have received many messages of love, encouragement, and support from so many of you. I am very grateful for the virtual prayer vigil that was organized and attended by so many sisters. Thank you to all of you who attended the janaza (funeral) and the 40-day gathering to offer prayers for Tasneem. Your presence brought love and comfort. I received message after message that my daughter’s name was lifted up in your mosques and synagogues. I felt the connection and the Divine Presence that was invoked in this beautiful community of ours. Thank you all for your support. 

The kind of bond and connection I experienced over these last months is developed through these very personal, human moments and can be sustained and deepened through continuing to work together toward achieving our mission and goals. I know many of us often feel fatigue, look back at our engagement efforts, and ask “Is this working? Are we ever going to change anything?” We need to remind ourselves and each other that this work will not provide instant gratification – except when we are together and enjoying each other’s company. This is a long-term commitment where patience, courage, and hope play crucial roles in achieving success. In Qur’an, God tells us “Be steadfast: God does not let the rewards of those who do good go to waste.” [Quran 11:115] So let’s remember that none of our moments, activities, and actions are wasted. 

Every year the Sisterhood Board meets to discuss strategic next steps. In December 2022, at that annual meeting, the Board decided that the Sisterhood will refine and sharpen its mission and programming to focus on the following:


The core of the Sisterhood has always been and will always be relationship building. We commit to creating opportunities for members to get to know one another on a deeper level and to recognize the full spectrum of diversity among our membership through dialogue and facilitation skill building, identity exploration, comparative scripture study, and other programs.


In addition to relationship building work, we will support social justice efforts that align closely with our mission. Specifically, we will direct our efforts toward:

  • Combatting anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish bigotry
  • Offering ongoing Israel Palestine education and dialogue with organizational partners
  • Offering additional, select educational programs on timely topics relevant to our members

Our staff is hard at work developing programs and events that will reflect our focus and our mission. As always, we look forward to hearing your ideas, input, and feedback so we can offer high quality programs that meet your needs.

We are experiencing a time of tragedy riddled with natural disasters and human-made anxieties. Our hearts go out to the people of Turkey and Syria and to all of our sisters who have friends and family in the regions affected by the disastrous earthquake. As we continue to hold them all in our prayers, each one of us is finding ways to support relief efforts in both countries. 

We also feel uncertainty about the state of civil society and democracy and, for many of us, disappointment over parallel trends in other countries. However, I want us to stay hopeful,  stay connected, and stay strong. To offer one of Nelson Mandela's famous quotes, “May your actions reflect your hopes and not your fears.” 

To that end, let us work and act guided by our hopes and visions. We will feel fear and anxiety, but together, we can transform those fears and anxieties into doing good, so that we do not allow our fears and anxieties to guide our actions or our lives.

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