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On January 27, 2019, Rumi Forum and The Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington (JIDS) held a joint event on Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA). Mysticism plays an important role in the spirituality of both Judaism and Islam. It is central to developing our relationship with God and in inspiring us to serve humankind. In this session, we’ll consider both the Jewish and Muslim mystical traditions first by hearing from devoted practitioners and then by engaging in small-group discussions.


Gabriel Abasi is a lifelong Sufi who has graced the DC-area interfaith community over the years with a devotion to selfless service and a commitment to mysticism. This devotion to service recently inspired him to work on an exciting concept called “The Culture of Compassion,” which includes creative use of blogs, social media, and other forms of technology to heal the planet.

Herb Levy is an experienced teacher of Kabbalah classes at multiple D.C.-area venues and a lay leader of Kol Ami, a Northern VA Reconstructionist Jewish Community. For the last 18 years, Herb has been active in Kol Ami, the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Jewish Community. During that period, he has led over 100 services and has taught Kabbalah classes both at Kol Ami and at a metaphysical bookstore in Old Town, Alexandria called the Sacred Circle. He currently serves as Treasurer of the JIDS Board of Directors.

Andra Baylus is one of DC’s leading interfaith organizers and a disciple of Meher Baba, a Sufi-inspired spiritual leader. Andra has served as President of the Greater Washington Muslim Jewish Forum and has been active in various other interfaith and bridge-building organizations. Her service is inspired by a deep love for mysticism, generally, and for the teachings of Sufi spiritual master Meher Baba in particular. A former elementary school teacher, Andra has combined her passion for service, spirituality, and teaching to become a truly powerful force for peace in our community.

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