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Sunday, May 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Unity Sanctuary

20 Minute Film Followed by Q&A and Discussion

With Herb Levy, Ibrahim Anli, Executive Director, D.C. Rumi Forum, and Rev. Don Lansky

Love Offering

In 1941 Sarajevo, a Muslim woman hid her Jewish friend from fascist roundups. Half a century later, that same Muslim woman was trapped in the besieged capital during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War — and her Jewish friend made sure she got out.

These real events inspired “Sevap/Mitzvah,” a short film directed by Sabina Vajrača that won the 2023 Humanitas Prize, among other awards, and has qualified to be considered for the 2024 Oscar for best live action short.

The film has been shown across the world, including at the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival in San Diego. Upcoming screenings include the Ojai Film Festival in Ojai, California, on November 5 and the Lake County Film Festival in Grayslake, Illinois, between November 3-12.

The Arabic word “Sevap” and the Hebrew word “Mitzvah” translate to the same meaning: A good deed.

“I wanted to tell a story about Jews and Muslims coexisting peacefully and happily, and helping one another, which is the narrative that we don’t really hear,” Vajrača told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Vajrača herself escaped the Bosnian War as a teenager, arriving in the United States as a refugee.


Herb Levy

Herb Levy directed local and national nonprofit organizations for more than 31 years. He holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Catholic University. He’s a lay leader in P’nai Yisrael Chavurah, co-creator of the FocusMusic series in Charlottesville, and active on Charlottesville’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

He served as treasurer of the board of the DC-based Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society, as president of the board of FocusMusic, a nonprofit presenter of folk and acoustic music and as a lay leader in Kol Ami, the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Jewish community..

Ibrahim Anli, Executive Director, D.C. Rumi Forum

Ibrahim Anli is a civic entrepreneur with a career record that bridges nonprofit and academic experience. He was a visiting researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2007-08. Ibrahim joined the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (JWF) Ankara office as the diplomacy coordinator in 2010. In 2013, he became the secretary-general of Abant Platform, JWF’s Istanbul-based forum of intellectuals. Ibrahim Anli was a lecturer and acting chair at the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy at Tishk International University in Erbil in 2016-17. He is currently a volunteer instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University, a member of Braver Angels Scholars Council, and a member of the Public Diplomacy Council of America.

Ibrahim Anli writes opinions in his independent blog and has published peer-reviewed book chapters and articles. He holds a BA in Economics from Istanbul University, an MA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Sabanci University, and a certificate in Strategic Management for Leaders of NGOs from Harvard University.

Rev. Don Lansky

Rev. Don has served as co-minister of Unity of Charlottesville with his wife, Patricia, since October, 2001. In 2021, he became the senior minister of Unity. Don graduated from the Unity Seminary in 1998. He has been a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program since 1974. Don holds a BA in Psychology from Beloit College.