Mention Jerusalem to Metro Detroiters and you’re likely to hear a range of reactions.

Some associate the Israeli city with pivotal points for three major world religions. Others view the site as an archaeological treasure trove. More might consider the territory as a place filled with frequent clashes drawing global attention.

Shedding light on its history is the focus of an interfaith dialogue kicking off Wednesday by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Michigan Muslim Community Council.

“A Shared Future: The Once and Future Jerusalem” is the latest three-part lecture in a series that aims to connect Muslims and Jews through issues significant to both faiths.

As controversy and unrest in the Middle East continue to grab headlines, chronicling a city that sparks so much interest can help dispel myths and misunderstandings, said Howard Lupovitch, one of the two Wayne State University academics leading the talk.

“Everyone knows certain things, but the whole story is a very complex story,” said the associate history professor. “People don’t really have the full sweep of the story.”

Lupovitch, who directs Wayne State’s Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies, and Saeed Khan, a senior lecturer in Near East & Asian Studies there, chose Jerusalem shortly after the Trump administration last year announced it would recognize the city as the Israeli capital and said that the United States embassy would move there from Tel Aviv.

The move sparked protests across the region, including Metro Detroit. It also outraged Palestinians, who declared a new U.S.-led peace initiative dead and refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his recent visit to the Mideast, the Associated Press reported.

Since Jews and Muslims have theological, political and cultural ties to Jerusalem, Khan said, “it’s important for there to be some clarity of understanding what it means to each community. When there are these competing narratives on such an important topic, it’s important for academics to come in and offer their perspective for a topic that is so charged emotionally.”

Khan and Lupovitch see the forum as a way to bridge the gaps in understanding.

“The exchange of ideas and opportunities for people to hear a different perspective than they’re used to — that’s invaluable,” Lupovitch said.

A Shared Future: The Once and Future Jerusalem

What: Dialogue between Wayne State University professors Howard Lupovitch and Saeed Khan

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Congregation Beth Ahm, 5075 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield Township; March 28, Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn; and April 11 at the Wayne State University David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Bernath Auditorium, Detroit.

Cost: Free, but advance registration required for each program. To register, go to

For information: Email

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