In a time of momentous change in the Middle East, the Jerusalem Peacemakers CCcontinues the work to build bridges between religions and peoples in the Holy Land. Inspired by protests for change in Israel and the Arab world, our circle of religious peacebuilders continue to hold the prophetic vision of a shared future in the region. With the recent escalation in southern of Israel and Gaza, its important also to hear the positive stories that dont make the news.
Projects and meetings continue the spirit and vision of the late Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, the co-founder of Jerusalem Peacemakers who left us over a year ago.
ARAB-JEWISH YOUTH DELEGATION TO AUSCHWITZ, November 2010
The late Sheikh Bukhari initiated this project: last November 1-10, we sent a group of 8 Arab and Jewish Israeli youth to join 14 youth from Germany, Switzerland, Poland and Italy at the 'Bearing Witness Retreat' at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The youth encounter was a part of the larger annual retreat led by the Zen Peacemaker community. The event included reading names of victims of the Shoah, prayers from different traditions, listening circles, chanting traditional melodies in the children's barracks, a forgiveness ceremony. Even with all sides coming with feelings of victimhood, each side attempted to understand the pain of the other. All the youth came to feel a shared humanity, agreeing that rather than deepening the wounds with violence, we should create places of healing. Support came from the Religion Today Film Festival in Trento, Italy.
BRIDGES WITH GAZA: GAZA-SDEROT CONFERENCE, February 15th
Jerusalem Peacemakers participated in a conference at the Sapir College in Sderot: "Gaza-Sderot: Moving from Crisis to Sustainability". Over 40 Palestinians came from Gaza, joining Israeli academics and NGO leaders in workshops about the role of civil society in improving the economy, health, and ecology for people on both sides of the border and region. Joining us from Gaza City were Sheikh Bukhari's daughter Amina and her husband, together we led a workshop about the late Sheikh Bukhari's message of non-violence.
More about this conference at: http://www.gazasderot.org/main-e.htm
ONE YEAR MEMORIAL FOR SHEIKH BUKHARI, May 30th
Gathering on May 30th, 2011, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together to honor the memory of Shekh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, on the first anniversary of his death. Event was hosted at the Lutheran Redeemer Church in the Old City. Leading the evening was Izzeldin Bukhari, the sheikh's son, with wife and daughters of the sheikh present. Everyone was inspired to continue the work that Sheikh Bukhari started.
ERETZ SHALOM EVENT TO HONOR RABBI FROMAN, February 25
Rabbi Menachem Froman, pioneer in dialogue with the Muslim world, is ill with cancer. "Eretz Shalom" is the settler peace movement the rabbi initiated, promoting dialogue and co-operation with their Palestinian neighbors. Some in the group advocate continuing to live in their homes in the West Bank, not as occupiers, but as welcome as Jewish citizens in a future state of Palestine.
Eretz Shalom hosted an event to honor the legacy of Rabbi Froman on Feb. 25 at the Tzavta theater in Tel Aviv. Joining were 100 Israelis and Palestinians, including settlers and Palestinians from from the West Bank. Palestinian and Israeli musicians performed including Ehud Banai, Barry Sakharov and Shlomo Gronich, blessings were offered by national poets of Israel A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz, Rabbi Melchior and Sheikhs Abdel Salaam and Ghassan Manasra.
More about Eretz Shalom: http://www.eretzshalom.org/
Rabbi Froman's close friend and Muslim partner is Haj Ibrahim Abuelhawa. Throughout the rabbi's illness, hospital stays, Ibrahim has been at his side. In May, Rabbi Froman married his son, groom Tzuri Shalom. Even in frail condition, Rabbi Froman stood on his feet to offer his blessings at the huppah and later to get up from his wheelchair to dance with Haj Ibrahim at the wedding celebration.
BOOMBAMELA FESTIVAL, April 21-22
Ibrahim and Eliyahu were guests of the Boombamela Festival in Eilat. At the central stage of the festival, we led a ceremony in front of hundreds of Israeli young people about unity between the religions. Ibrahim blessed the audience, many of whom are soon to join the Israeli army, to become "soldiers of peace and love"...
JERUSALEM EARTH WALK, June 21
We held the Jerusalem Earth Walk , June 21st, part of the global Earth Walk 2011 event, based in Tucson, AZ. Coming together were 30 Israelis, friends from the USA and Palestinians from the Hebron area. We started with an opening prayer and dialogue circle in 'Gai Ben Hinnom' valley below the Cinemateque, walked together up Mt. Zion, through Zion Gate. On the Old City rooftops overlooking the Holy Sepulcher church, Dome of the Rock and the Mt. of Olives, we held a closing peace circle.
Pictures from these events:
We are planning a USA speaking tour, Eliyahu and Muslim peacemaker Ghassan Manasra this November-December. If interested to host an event for one or both of us, contact us, we can offer presentations and workshops about religious peacemaking in the Holy Land, tools for peace in the Judaism and Islam.
Jerusalem Peacemakers CC, director