The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and StandWithUs (SWU) held a virtual event “Indo-Judaic Ties: Ancient Cultures, Common Challenges, Modern Miracles” on Monday, April 12. The event brought together nearly 300 members of the Jewish American and Hindu American communities across the country.

HAF Co-Founder and Board Member, Mihir Meghani, kicked off the event with opening remarks, followed by a moderated panel led by StandWithUs Midwest Executive Director Peggy Shapiro. 

“I have been doing joint programming with the Hindu-American community for many years. I always marvel at the history and values our communities hold in common, and I am inspired by what India and Israel, Jews and Hindus can accomplish when we join together in friendship and understanding.”

The panel featured a distinguished group featured diplomats and scholars, including Dr Nathan Katz (World-Renowned Scholar of Indo-Judaic Studies and Professor Emeritus, Florida International University), Matan Zamir (Deputy Consul General, Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest), Adva Vilchinski (Consul for Public Diplomacy, Consul General of Israel in New York), Dr Anurag Mairal (Director, Global Outreach Programs at Stanford University Center for Biodesign), and Samir Kalra, Esq. (HAF Managing Director). 

The panelists discussed a variety of topics including the millennia-long ties between Hindu and Jewish culture and civilization, the consequences of British colonialism on India and the formation of the state of Israel, the leadership role of women in both homelands, and cooperation between Israel and India in fields such as agriculture, biotechnology, cyber security, and medical innovation today. 

Watch a video of the full panel discussion here. 

“It was a privilege to be part of such an esteemed panel of experts and a great reminder that the Hindu and Jewish communities share so much in common,” said Kalra. “I look forward to many more similar events in partnership with StandWithUs and opportunities for further dialogue and collaboration with the Jewish community.”

Shapiro agreed. “After the event, I had more than 100 emails asking for more programming about Indo-Judaic ties. There is clearly a desire by both communities to learn about past ties and develop future ones.”