Re: A different picture from the Holy Land
- --- In email@example.com, DB wrote:
> I post this because we, in the US at least, hear so little aboutThanks for posting this, Deborah. It is good to hear from you again.
> creative grassroots efforts like this group with it's uses of
> listening/dialog, artistic activities, music jams, and actual
> participation in religious tolerance exercises. It has to take a lot of
> courage...an image to hold in our hearts.
Very encouraging to hear from people intent on relieving the suffering
rather than adding to it. We need peace and we need it now.
> From the Sulha/Al-Tariq Peace Project
> Hello friends and supporters,
> We are mourning the loss of lives and are praying for the safety of our
> friends who are in danger in both Gaza and southern Israel. We pray
> that both peoples come to true compassion and forgiveness toward the
> With the only news coming from the from the Holy Land being about the
> war, we send some news of another picture from the Holy Land. Though
> we Palestinians and Israelis who work together for peace are being
> tested more than ever, the relationships we have built stay strong.
> The Sulha Peace Project continues to aspire to create a new reality and
> prepare the people in the region for a life of mutual respect and trust.
> Not long ago, over three days last August 26-28, thousands of Israelis
> and Palestinians met for the seventh annual 'On the Way to Sulha'
> gathering on the grounds of the Latrun monastery between Jerusalem and
> Tel Aviv. The Sulha Peace Project worked in full partnership with the
> Palestinian organization, Al-Tariq, to plan the event. Israelis and
> Palestinans came from all over the Holy Land, and including 200
> Palestinians from the West Bank cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and
> Hebron. Our partners in Gaza who have been with us at previous events
> sent messages of blessing and support from the people of Gaza.
> Daily activities included:
> - listening circles that brought Israelis and Palestinians together to
> share with and listen to each others stories.
> - the Bereaved Families Forum, with bereaved Israelis and Palestinians
> sharing their stories and leading discussions
> - a children's tent for Israeli and Palestinian children to play and
> make art together
> - workshops in culture and music
> - special events each day, such as the men's and women's dialogue circles
> - a traditional Bedouin tent, set up to be a space where Arab and
> Jewish musicians could jam and make music together
> - the inter-religious prayer tent with religious Jews praying daily
> prayers, followed by religious Muslims praying in same tent
> - the Sulhita program, Sulha youth movement where Israeli and
> Palestinian teenagers worked together on the final evening performance.
> The kitchen, made fully kosher brought Israeli and Palestinian
> volunteers together to chop vegetables and cook side by side to feed
> hundreds of people at each meal.
> Our special guest was Rabbi Marc Gopin, director of the Center for
> World's Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason
> University. Rabbi Gopin spoke about his work in Syria for building
> bridges of dialogue. We had a special corner set up at the Sulha
> gathering for children and adults to write messages of peace that were
> then delivered by Gopin to the people of Syria. As Marc Gopin is now in
> the Holy Land, visit his website for his insightful commentary and
> postcast about the present war in Gaza and south Israel:
> http://www.marcgopin.com/ <http://www.marcgopin.com/>
> In the prayer tent, we held inter-religious study sessions, with panels
> on the themes of 'Forgiveness' and 'Religion and Ecology'.
> In addition to Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders and
> scholars from the Holy Land, joining us were Geshe-la Thebten Phelgye a
> Tibetan lama and member of the Tibetan Parliament, Sheikha Khadija,
> teacher of Sufism from New York and Rabbi Marc Gopin. On the main stage
> the final day religious leaders spoke about Sulha, reconciiation, in
> our religious texts and traditions.
> Each evening there were highlights. Sheikh Abu Falastin from Sakhnin
> led hundreds of us in a Sufi 'zikr' ceremony together, after which
> Rabbi Menachem Froman led us to chant in unison, calling out Allahu
> Akbar in Arabic and HaShalom Yinatzeach (Peace will Prevail) in Hebrew.
> Later, there was a magical performance by "Acharit Hayamim"- an Israeli
> religious Jewish reggae band, who performed with an ensemble of
> refugees from the Darfur region in Sudan. On the final evening, Sheikh
> Abdul Qarim al-Zorba, Imam of the Dome of the Rock chanted songs from
> the Islamic tradition.
> The 'Sulha Family', Israelis and Palestinians continue to meet,
> planning events to heal the wounds and re-build trust between our
> peoples. After the riots in Acco between Arabs and Jews last Yom
> Kippur, we organized a peace tent there, with two days of bridge
> building activities. The 'Sulha Family' met recently, gathering for
> Shabbat in Jerusalem to support each other during this time. Israeli
> 'Sulha Family' members are meeting with friends from Palestinian
> partner organization Al-Tariq. The Sulha Peace Project is joining
> Middle Way for a peace walk in Jaffa January 9th and setting up a
> dialogue tent in Jaffa.
> Please send a prayer of healing for the children of a Gazan peacemaker
> who has brought his family to several of our Sulhita youth gatherings.
> His son and daughter have been seriously wounded in the violence in Gaza.
> View this link to see great pictures from the 'On the Way to Sulha'
> gathering last August, and from the Acco peace tent:
> Shalom, Salaam,
> Eliyahu McLean, Sulha Peace Project, interfaith coordinator
> Jerusalem Peacemakers, co-director
> Gabriel Meyer, co-founding director, and
> Ihab Balha, Muslim co-director of the Sulha Peace Project