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REPROT: Women's Interfaith Encounter Meeting -- April 30 in the North

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    Dear Interfaith Friends, THe Women s Interfaith Encounter held a meeting on Wednesday, April 30, of our Northern branch and focused in an area called the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 12, 2003
      Dear Interfaith Friends,

      THe Women's Interfaith Encounter held a meeting on Wednesday, April 30, of
      our Northern branch and focused in an area called the Triangle. We were
      hosted by our Jewish Coordinator, Mara List, at her kibbutz Ein Shemer. We
      had 30 women -- 10 Druze, 10 Muslim, and 10 Jewish -- reflecting the
      population in that area. We met in a beautiful setting inside a large
      greenhouse where an outdoor classroom is set up -- surrounded by plants and
      flowers. The women all brought delicious food. We displayed our Peace
      Tapestry that was created for us by our SARAH sisters from California. The
      women were very impressed that California women had been inspired to sew
      such a beautiful tapestry for us. The tapestry and our meeting can be
      viewed at their website:

      After introducing ourselves, Ibtisam Mahamid gave a brief review of what
      we've accomplished since we began working together a year ago. We spoke
      about being a Cooperation Circle of the URI -- United Religions Initiative
      -- and our hopes to grow and expand in the future as soon as we obtain more
      funding. We broke up into small discussions groups led by our Coordinators
      -- Ibtisam, Mara, and Siham Halabi, to discuss what we would like to
      accomplish together to better the situation in our area and what each one
      of us could contribute.

      The discussions dealt with many issues -- differences between religiously
      observant and non-observant women in each of the faiths, the problems and
      injustices of the political system, the frustrations we all feel as women
      operating within patriarchal systems. And we spoke of the hope and joy
      that we feel meeting together and really hearing about each other's lives
      and customs, the importance that we have balance among the different
      religions so that there's equal opportunity to share and be heard and learn
      from each other. Many women were amazed by the diversity and yet the
      cohesion of our group -- and the peace that we experienced together.

      We began planning our first Day of Learning which will be Tuesday, June 3,
      at a beautiful learning center in the hills where we will learn together on
      our topic "How Religion Gives Strength to Women" with teachers from the
      four religions and small group discussions -- and of course singing and
      dancing. We are grateful to a foundation in England and other English
      friends that have made this possible. We hope that others will come
      forward to support us so that we can realize our vision of having hundreds,
      and eventually thousands, of interfaith gatherings for women to bring about
      the shift to trust and reconciliation that is so sorely needed here.

      We closed our meeting with Arabic and Hebrew songs and dance with clarinet
      accompaniment. Ibtisam led us in our group meditation finishing with
      everyone kissing and embracing. The warmth and camaraderie of the women
      was strengthening for everyone and enabled us to have this brief but deep
      experience of joy and peace together.

      This report was prepared by Elana Rozenman with assistance from Ibtisam
      Mahamid, Siham Halabi, and Mara List.

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

      Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, Chair
      Sr. Karmela Farrugia, 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@...

      All contributions are welcome, small and large!

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