Jane Blumenthal, MS, FMLA, AHIP
Jane Blumenthal believes strongly in IRT’s mission of interfaith conversation and collaboration. She says, “In a time when not just our country but also our world is polarized politically, with politics spilling over into every other aspect of life, the value of an organization dedicated to increasing understanding across differences cannot be overstated. The commitment to move beyond mere tolerance and seek true understanding, mutual learning, and inclusion is essential to the work of repairing the rips in the fabric of our society and healing the wounds inflicted over centuries on the greater than human world around us.”
Jane has had a life-long interest in religion, choosing it as her undergraduate major, and continues to learn about other faiths and traditions as part of her personal commitment to life-long learning. Her beliefs are in accord with the IRT’s goal “to be true to our own faith traditions while at the same time respecting, honoring and understanding all people and groups whose religious outlooks are different from our own.” She reflects that “peacemaking, one person at a time, one group at a time, one congregation at a time” is both realistic and sustainable and provides a strong foundation on which to build.
Jane comes to IRT after a long and successful career as a health sciences librarian, most recently as associate university librarian for STEM and health sciences disciplines and director of the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan. She has extensive experience as a manager, administrator, and volunteer leader in a variety of organizations. She was recognized as a library leader for her contributions in organizational and individual leadership development, mentoring, and diversity, and she wrote and presented about the transformation of libraries and librarians to meet the information challenges of the future both nationally and internationally.
Jane has contributed to a variety of professional organizations, including the Medical Library Association (MLA), the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), and the American Society for Information Science. She has been a board member in all three organizations and has served as president of both MLA and AAHSL. She also served as a member and chair of the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents.
Jane has a BA in Religion from The College of William and Mary and an MS in Library Science from The Catholic University of America. She is an emerita member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals at the distinguished level. In 2015, she was awarded the University of Michigan’s University Librarian Achievement Award. In 2019, she was made a fellow of the Medical Library Association, and in 2022 she received the Marcia C. Noyes Award, the association’s highest honor.
Jane is a member of Pardes Hannah, Ann Arbor’s Jewish Renewal Community, where she co-leads services and volunteers as Pardes Hannah’s webmaster, email list coordinator, and Zoom manager. She also volunteers as a cat comforter with the Humane Society of Huron Valley and as a docent with The Creature Conservancy. Her personal blog, Wrenaissance Reflections, shares her thoughts on nature, spirituality, and personal growth.
Tasneem Sultan is a community organizer and leader having 10+ years of experience collaborating with ethnic, religious, cultural, and advocacy organizations across the US. Tasneem began her activism while living in Alabama, where she was active in organizations such as Interfaith Mission Services and the Arts Council of Huntsville, Alabama. When she relocated with her family to New Jersey, she became involved in many groups. She chaired the Human Relations Council of West Windsor Township, NJ, and served as a member of the ‘United We Create Advisory Committee’ of Young Audiences New Jersey along with other organizations. Tasneem also co-founded and served as the president of La Convivencia, a New Jersey nonprofit devoted to the ideals of coexistence and dialog. Currently, she is a board member of the Jewish Voices for Peace-Detroit, serves in the Parent & Family Intercultural Advisory Council at the University of Maryland, and runs a youth online platform, Connecting With Humanity.
Tasneem’s experiences living in Pakistan, France, Canada, and various states in the US offered her firsthand knowledge of diverse people and convinced her of the importance of creating dialogs between people of different faiths, cultures, and ethnicities. As an American Muslim woman, she realized that misunderstandings due to a lack of empathy and acceptance could easily lead to tensions and violence. She is determined to do what she can to help others understand and appreciate different cultures.
In 2019, Tasneem was honored as a recipient of the Mercer County (NJ) Women of Achievement Award given by the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women. She was also recognized in New Jersey 2019 State Governor’s Jefferson Honorees for Justice award. Tasneem’s faith and values motivate her commitment to equality, human rights, and service to humanity. She is committed to creating sustainable cross-cultural and interfaith friendships and raising awareness of systemic racism through the power of dialogue. Her goal in life is to inspire change that matters and to mobilize as many people as possible to speak in the name of peace, justice, and human dignity.