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REPORT: "The Pillars of Religion" - 4th Israeli-Palestinian conference, Tantur (Jerusalem) 27-29 March 2003

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    Dear friends, Once again we gathered together, members and affiliates of the Interfaith Encounter Association and of the Nablus Youth Federation, for an oasis
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2003
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      Dear friends,

      Once again we gathered together, members and affiliates of the Interfaith
      Encounter Association and of the Nablus Youth Federation, for an oasis in
      time and space that represent so beautifully how life can be at the Holy
      Land and how easy it is to be achieved if efforts are made in the right
      direction.

      We were some sixty people - Jews, Muslims and Christians; from across
      Israel and the West Bank; with ages from a little after 10 to nearly 90;
      secular, religious and ultra-religious; from a wide variety of walks of
      life.

      Again the Palestinian participants needed to go through tremendous effort
      in order to arrive at the conference site at Tantur, in Jerusalem, some 8
      hours after they left home, insisting to go ahead even when offered to go
      back home. Again all participants, those who have met 'the other' before
      and those who have not, came to the conference with a lot of eagerness to
      get to know the other in a deep way and openness allow the other to get to
      know them in similar depth, allowing themselves to overcome their
      prejudices and fears and to develop mutual respect and trust. But there
      was something more in this conference, some maturity of the process, that
      made it easier for us to leave aside our political disagreements and dive
      from the start into the actual work of building here and now the nucleus
      of the future, humanly peaceful, Holy Land.

      We began the with introducing the two organizations and the ground rules
      of our dialogue and moved to first acquaintance in small groups, hearing
      from each other about what we do in life and what are the main things for
      us in our respective religions. The three main sessions focused each on
      one religion, starting with short presentations of Rabbi Baruch (Jewish),
      Sheikh Ali (Muslim) and Sr. Karmela (Christian) about their views of the
      pillars of their respective religions. The first and third spoke from a
      personal point of view about what are the most important elements in their
      religions for them, while the second focused on the five pillars of Islam.
      Following each of the presentations participants had long conversations in
      their discussion groups, reaching great depth of mutual understanding and
      building strong ties with each other. The Friday sessions of the Muslim
      Jum'a prayer, the Christian special prayer and the Jewish Kabalat Shabbat
      prayer were special as usual, this time attended by all participants.

      After less than a day and a half we all sang and danced together in a
      Friday evening joint celebration and after two and a half days we fare
      welled with hugs and friendship, already looking forward to the next
      opportunity for us to meet and hoping very much that the importance and
      effectiveness of such meetings will be widely acknowledged and that many
      more of them will be made possible.

      Yours,

      Yehuda


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      The Interfaith Encounter Association
      P.O.Box 3814, Jerusalem 91037, Israel
      Phone: +972-2-6510520
      Fax: +972-2-6510557
      Website: www.interfaith-encounter.org

      Board:
      Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, Chair
      Sr. Karmela Faruggia, Vice-chair
      Mr. Shlomo Alon, Vice-chair
      Rabbi Dov Maimon
      Fr. Dr. George Khoury
      Ms. Ibtisam Mahamid
      Sheikh Tawfiq Salama

      Yehuda Stolov, Director
      E-mail: msyuda@...

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