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3 encounters of Jerusalem Women's Interfaith Encounter

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    Dear Interfaith Sisters and Brothers, In the name of all of our Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sisters we bless us all for a good year filled with much healing
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2007
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      Dear Interfaith Sisters and Brothers,

      Dear Interfaith Sisters and Brothers,

      In the name of all of our Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sisters we bless us
      all for a good year filled with much healing and understanding for all of
      us.   Season's Greetings to all and Id El Adha Mubarak!

      As we close out 2006 we are aware that we are completing five years of
      interfaith dialogue for our Women's Interfaith Encounter -- during that time
      deep friendships have been forged, much has been learned about each other's
      religions, and we have been privileged to enjoy the oasis of peace we create
      when we are together. We are also grateful for the many prayers, thoughts,
      messages, and financial support that has been sent to us -- all of this
      sustains us to continue to do the hard work and meet the challenges of
      creating sisterhood in the midst of conflict and violence.

      We list below a few recent examples of our gatherings -- a Chanukah party,
      an Iftar of Ramadan and a meeting in the Armenian Convent of the
      Old City with
      the Armenian women who live there.

      1)  Hannuka party at Evelyne Savir's home - 4 December 2006 in Jerusalem

      As agreed upon by our WIE members, our December meeting took place at
      Evelyne's home.  It was a pre-Hannuka party, including a explanation about
      the holiday, very well presented by Wendy (who brought mouth watering
      traditional latkes.-potato pancakes..).About 35 Muslim, Christian and Jewish
      women (and a few men) were present. Our Jewish members prepared traditional
      delicacies, our Muslim sisters brought the Sufganiot - Hannuka doughnuts.
      We were also fortunate to have as guests about 14 Christian women ministers
      and theologians from Africa , Asia , Latin America and Europe attending a
      seminar at the Swedish Theological Institute.  Many women had never been
      invited to a Jewish home and this was a very special experience for them,
      very different from stereotypes and prejudices...
       Singing, dancing, playing "dreidels", exchanging information, all these
      were part of this unique event... which went very well until late in the

      2)  Meeting with Armenian Women in Armenian Convent of Old City
      Jerusalem    -- 11 December
      This meeting was initiated by a visit some of us made to an Armenian woman
      in the Old City as a solidarity visit after very difficult and painful
      situations that arose during their Easter celebrations.  We were delighted
      to finally have the opportunity to meet together inside the Armenian Convent
      in the Old City - and enter a walled and closed area that is not available
      to tourists.  The Armenian women were delighted to have Muslim, Christian,
      and Jewish women coming to meet with them in their community.  They welcomed
      us with warmth and openness as we sat together listening to them share about
      the realities and difficulties for this shrinking community of barely 300
      living within the Old City and approximately 1000 living in all of Jerusalem.  They shared with us their economic problems, difficulties of living such an insular life, restrictions for building and expanding, problems of not having citizenship.  And of
      course we talked about our similar experiences with our husbands and
      children -- and grandchildren!  They showed us their meeting room, computer
      center, exercise
      room, living quarters.  We all felt it was the beginning of
      a process to get to know each other -- several of them were interested to
      attend our meetings and they invited us all to attend their New Year
      celebrations on January 13.  Because Noemie Nalbandian is serving as our
      Christian Coordinator, she has been inviting us to various celebrations and
      bazaars of the Armenian women for years, but this was a real opportunity to
      meet the women "on their own turf" and understand their lives.

      3)  Iftar of Ramadan in the home of Fadwa Keresh - Beit Hanina -- 15 October
      Twenty women gathered in the home of Fadwa Keresh and her mother Hiyam.
      Many of the Christian and Jewish women had also fasted for the day.  After
      breaking the fast with dates, we ate wonderful traditional dishes --
      majedra rice and chicken, hudra vegetable soup, chicken and vegetables,
      katayef sweet traditional foods, Carmela and Jewish brought cakes.  Suheer
      read from the Quraan (Surat al Baqarah- the Cow) some verses talking about
      fasting in Ramadan -- that it is prescribed for all Muslims, except people
      are sick or on a journey, or for pregnant or breast feeding women -- but
      they should feed poor people instead. During fasting they not allowed to eat
      or drink or have marital relations from dawn till sunset. Another importance
      of this month is that the Quraan was revealed.

      A few nights ago, a small group of us gathered to review our successes and failures of the last five years and to begin planning for 2007.  We rededicated ourselves to on-going personal contacts and open communication as the basis of our sisterhood and the antidote to fear, mistrust and misunderstanding.

      As we write this, snow is falling in Jerusalem and the forests are covered
      with a blanket of white.  Suheer suggests that it is a symbol to start a new
      year as clean and white as the snow.  In her Muslim tradition for the new
      they are cooking something white, like yougurt or mansaf, so as to wish
      a good year that will be as clean and white.


      This report was compiled by Evelyne Savir, Suheer Siam , and Elana Rozenman
      with assistance from Noemie Nalbandian and Adia Abuatta.


      Group's coordinators: Evelyne Savir, Suheer Siam , and Noemie Nalbandian



      The Interfaith Encounter Association

      P.O.Box  3814 , Jerusalem 91037 , Israel

      Phone: +972-2-6510520

      Fax:     +972-2-6510557

      Website: www.interfaith-encounter.org



        Ms. Rafiqa Othman, Chair

        Sr. Karmela Farrugia, Vice-Chair

        Mr. Dotan Arad

        Rabbi Dr. Dov Maimon

        Ms. Rose Naber

        Ms. Saheer Siam

        Mr. Adnan Trabsha

        Ms. Nada Abu Zaidan


      Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Director

      E-mail: yehuda@...



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