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Two encounters of Reut-Sadaqa Interfaith Encounter group

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    To all our Catholic and Protestant Christian friends we wish: Happy Easter ... Encounter on February 11th The meeting was held in the shadow of Pope s surprise
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 28, 2013

      To all our Catholic and Protestant Christian friends we wish:


                                                                                              Happy Easter




      Encounter on February 11th

      The meeting was held in the shadow of Pope's surprise resignation and
      although there only four of us present - synchronistically all males - the
      discussion was wide ranging.

      We discussed the issues of secrets and secret knowledge in religion; the
      life of St Francis, his role as a peacemaker in Middle East and different
      kinds of religious hierarchy. We also eventually come to speak about the set
      topic for meeting, "Images of the Other." I read what Hadassah who was
      unable to attend wrote that she felt there was no other, that we were all
      the same. Islam in a similar way does not make distinguish between people
      who are seen as equal though non-believer and heretics may be treated
      harshly. Judaism had the strongest polarisation in attitudes to Others. On
      one hand, the bible says we must remember that we were strangers in Egypt
      and therefore treat stranger fairly and compassionately. On the other hand
      other passages sees specific ethnic groups in a most negative way, the
      extreme being the Amaleikites, who God commanded to annihilate, although
      there are also metaphorically readings of the passage akin to the greater

      We were looking forward to meet again in March with more of our core group in


      Encounter on March 11th at Swedish Theological Institute


      The meeting at the Swedish Theological Institute had a dramatic beginning.

      The beautiful main entrance of Conrad Schick’s masterpiece was closed and the famous tower room above was severely damaged and smashed open. What had happened was that a giant crane involved in the new building across the street had negligently backed into the building and caused the horrific damage. The failure to look back seemed an apt metaphor for the cause of suffering in the Middle East. All this just after major renovation of the Institute, but a careful restoration is promised. We had to enter via the vehicle gate on Ethiopia Street was a massive and yet moved surprisingly easily.


      The topic for the meeting was spring festivals: Nebi Musa, Easter and Passover. The origins of Nebi Musa derive from the days of Saladin and were developed by Sufis who were in turn influenced by Christian celebrations. Indeed Nebi Musa, a festival pilgrimage is held on the Friday before holy week. It was not a religious holy day but a time of gathering, eating, giving news, finding brides and strong Palestinian nationalism. It had been suppressed by British, Jordanians and finally stopped by Israelis in 1967 and is now revived by Palestinian authority.

      Easter marks the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and symbolizes rebirth and eternal life. In Franciscan order, one of the beautiful rituals is how one person passes his light from a candle to another and so until the entire company is carrying the light. Greek orthodox have a similar ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher but with the belief that the first light comes down from heaven.

      Passover seder is also always at spring time and it also begins with a candle light during the ritual searching of the house for the last bits of bread  (or leavening).

      The seder is structured as a dialogue between youngest person and the elders. The youngest child asks 4 ritual questions and various techniques are used to keep the kids interested, The word “seder” means order and the ceremony is always done in a specific order. All who are poor are invited to join and the central theme is to recall how Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and were taken out to freedom. Food as always in Judaism symbolizes the event and so “eating our history” – the “matza” a flat cracker which had no time to rise because one had to leave in haste; “maror” or bitter herbs to symbolize the suffering; salt water for the tears and passing through the Red Sea etc.  One is supposed to imagine as if one left Egypt this very night and the ceremony ends with wish “Next Year in Jerusalem”.



      Reported: Henry Abramovitch



      The Interfaith Encounter Association

      P.O.Box  3814, Jerusalem 91037, Israel

      Phone: +972-2-6510520

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      Website: www.interfaith-encounter.org



        Ms. Yael Gidanyan (Chair)

        Mr. Morad Muna

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        Mr. Imad Abu Hassan



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      E-mail: yehuda@...


      Mr. Salah Alladin, Assistant Director



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      Groups listed from north to south:


      ·        Ma'alot

      ·        Acre

      ·        Karmiel-Majd el-Krum

      ·        Restaurant

      ·        M'ghar – Sawa Rabina

      ·        M'ghar – Shibolot

      ·        M'ghar – Bridging

      ·        M'ghar – Lana

      ·        M'ghar – Green Light

      ·        Galilee Women's Interfaith Encounter (WIE)

      ·        Jordan Valley College (YIE)

      ·        Haifa WIE

      ·        Haifa University Youth Interfaith Encounter (YIE)

      ·        Carmel City

      ·        Wadi Ara WIE

      ·        Living Together in Wadi Ara

      ·        Netania-Qalansawa

      ·        Non-Violent Communication

      ·        Tel Aviv University YIE

      ·        Petach Tikva – Kfar Kasem

      ·        Tel Aviv-Jaffa

      ·        A/Nahnu – Mt. Scopus YIE

      ·        Language Exchange I

      ·        Language Exchange II

      ·        Abu Dis And Maaleh Adumim

      ·        Prayer focused

      ·        IEA Reut-Sadaqa

      ·        Study and Dialogue

      ·        Jerusalem WIE

      ·        Jerusalem YIE

      ·        Jewish-Christian study of the Gospel of Mathew

      ·        Ein Karem – Health Equality for all People in Israel

      ·        Jerusalem Arabic Speaking group

      ·        Bibliodrama

      ·        The Future – Mothers and Daughters

      ·        Interfaith Visits

      ·        Hebrew U.-Bethlehem U. YIE

      ·        Teens YIE

      ·        Women's Empowerment

      ·        Gush Etzion

      ·        Siach Yeshiva – Hebron Students YIE

      ·        Circle of Light and Hope

      ·        Midwives

      ·        Jerusalem-Hebron Religious Leaders

      ·        Jerusalem-Hebron YIE

      ·        Jerusalem-Yata YIE

      ·        South of Hebron YIE

      ·        Eilat


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