Uriel Dison, 29, Bridging the Jewish-Muslim Divide



The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

What do you do?

I am the coordinator for Israel engagement at the Bronfman Center at New York University. At NYU Bronfman, I engage students through meaningful experiences, teach classes about Jewish philosophy and Israel, create community among people from different backgrounds, and build bridges between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. After the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, I assisted in establishing the Warm Peace Movement to connect Israeli and Jewish American civil society organizations in promoting a warm and lasting peace between Israel and Arab countries. In support of this I have facilitated youth circles with the UAE’s Ministry of Youth. I also established a connection with NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus where I created an online curriculum for nearly 100 students to learn about Judaism and foster dialogue and religious tolerance, creating a safe space to ask questions, learn, and grow together.

In response to a recent upsurge in antisemitism and anti-Zionism on TikTok, I collaborated with Jewish creators on the platform to help strengthen their content, including a recent conference for over 150 attendees to offer tools to help Jewish creators raise their voices. During the recent conflict in Gaza, I worked with social media influencers internationally to promote tolerance and dialogue and fight the spread of misinformation and antisemitism.

How did the pandemic influence your work?

Students were really looking for a sense of community during this time, so our classes actually became more meaningful through Zoom. We were also able to connect with students in the United Arab Emirates. During the classes and workshops I led, I focussed on facilitating a joint creative process, including a writing workshop in which students were prompted to write and share about their unique Jewish experience. The stories were published in a collection called, “My Jew-ish Story.” Similarly, I initiated a similar workshop for our Abu Dhabi students to publish and share lessons from their lives.

How does your Jewish identity influence your work?

Judaism for me is about creating connections and finding balance. While growing up, it was important for my family to have a strong connection to Torah, tradition, and Jewish values, while our home was always open to people of different backgrounds and ideas. So too in my work, I aim to celebrate Jewish voices, create conversations between people of different upbringings, and build an accepting and diverse community for all.

What is your favorite place in New York to take an out-of-town guest?

The Hammock Grove on Governors Island. The most peaceful out-of-city experience in the city.

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