Nisa-Nashim is a national Government-supported women’s organisation established in 2015.   Meaning women in both Arabic and Hebrew, Nisa-Nashim has three principal aims: bringing women from the two communities together, promoting female leadership and being active in wider society.

The Leeds branch was established in May 2016 by co-chairs Hilary Curwen and Cllr Salma Arif with a steering committee of 6 Muslim and 6 Jewish women.  The group was officially launched on June 1st at SHINE in Harehills where over 50 women attended and heard the national Co-Chairs Julie Siddiqi and Laura Marks speak.

Since the launch, word has continued to spread, aided by interviews on Radio Leeds and Asian Radio and articles in the Yorkshire Post, the Jewish Telegraph and Asian Express.

The first official group event was held on 31st July in the beautiful setting of Roundhay Park where guests were asked to bring along contributions to a vegetarian bring and share picnic.


If ever there was any doubt about the similarity of the two faiths, they were quickly dissipated in the area of over-catering!  A tempting array of salads, breads, desserts and main courses quickly accumulated and despite the provision of trestle tables we quickly ran out of room.

The arrival of new guests, young and old, throughout the afternoon meant the addition of even more and ever more tempting dishes and it is no surprise that one of the many topics of discussion was recipe-sharing.

As well as having fun, many other issues came up for discussion, amongst them a very real desire to remember other women who are in less fortunate circumstances.  The next event – a joint celebration of the Muslim and Jewish New Years – was already being planned but it had been agreed that any voluntary donations collected on the night will now be used to buy sanitary products for refugee women and donated as part of Mitzvah Day.

If you would like to get involved in Nisa-Nashim and be added to our mailing list, please email your contact details to