"If you think small things don't make a difference, try spending a night in a room with a mosquito!"
- HH the Dalai Lama.
No matter what our religious or spiritual beliefs, I believe we all want peace in the Middle East, and, in that, the world.
This comes from the Jerusalem Peacemakers:
Hello friends and supporters,
While most news you receive from the Holy Land in the aftermath of the Gaza war is awful, the peacemakers continue their work, invisible to the eyes of the world. This has been a difficult time, the gap of mistrust and anger between the Israelis and Palestinians is as wide as ever. In the face of all of this though, we have deepened our commitment to work for peace. As Elias Jabbour, director of the House of Hope puts it, "its up to us to keep the torch of hope alive, we have no other other choice."
Take the time to read this update about the sacred work of our family of peacebuilders, hope you will be inspired.
ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS GATHER FOR SOLIDARITY AND CELEBRATION AT THE DEAD SEA, January 30-31
Eighty Palestinians and Israelis came together for the Gathering of Light and Unity on Metzukei Dragot beach, an oasis of beautiful fresh and saltwater pools on the Dead Sea shore. This area is easily accessible for both Israelis and Palestinians who came from across the West Bank without the need for travel permits. For two days we shared meals, music and dance, prayers and speaking from the heart together. This gathering, organized by Ilana Meallem, brought together many people yearning to connect as a family of human beings in light of all thats happened recently.
HEALING ABRAHAM'S FAMILY PRAYER AND HOSPITAL VISIT, AT TEL HASHOMER HOSPITAL, TEL AVIV, January 26
Forty people came together as Jerusalem Peacemakers joined with Rabbis for Human Rights to organize a prayer gathering at Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv. This event was advertised in Israeli media: "Muslim, Jewish and Christian Religious Leaders Raise Their Voices Together for: A Cry of Mourning; Affirmation of Responsibility to work for Reconciliation, Human Rights and Peace, a Future of Hope and Healing of the Wounds between our People". We read traditional prayers for mourning of the dead in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions and offered personal prayers followed by a group prayer for peace in Hebrew and Arabic. We then split up, some going to visit a wounded Israeli soldier and many others visiting Izzedin Abuelish and his daughter, the Gaza doctor whose 3 daughters were killed in the Gaza violence, with a fourth daughter being treated in Tel Hashomer hospital. Read more about our event in this LA Times article:
JERUSALEM PEACEMAKERS WEST JERUSALEM CENTER HOSTS TALKS AND PEACE GATHERINGS
At our West Jerusalem peace center recently, we hosted study sessions with Rabbi Marc Gopin on 'The Source of Peace' and a text study session with Rabbi Daniel Roth from the Pardes Institiute. On December 22nd we hosted an inter-religious Hannukah peace celebration with over 50 Israelis and Palestinians joining for dialogue, music and prayer.
THIRD WORLD CONGRESS OF IMAMS AND RABBIS FOR PEACE IN PARIS, FRANCE, December 15-17
We joined the Third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace in Paris, organized by Hommes de Parole. One hundred Imams and Rabbis came from all over the world to bring the voice of Judaism and Islam to build a bridges of dialogue and help solve conflicts motivated by religion in the Middle East, Europe and the world. Leaders included Sheikh Abdallah Nimr Darwish, founder of the Islamic movement in Israel and Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of Sephardic rabbinic authority Ovadiah Yosef. There were plenary sessions, a visit to a Paris peace monument and a mosque and synagogue. Politics tended to divide us, the evenings of sharing in the music of Andalucia, the mutual Jewish and Islamic heritage, brought us together.
See great pictures from the Tel Aviv prayer event, Hannukah peace celebration and World Congress of Imams and Rabbis at:
SHEIKH BUKHARI HELPS FAMILIES IN GAZA REBUILD THEIR LIVES
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari has a wide family and community network in Gaza. His wife is from Gaza, his sister and his daughter are both married and live in Gaza. They are part of the Sufi, Uzbek and wider communities in Gaza that have seen their homes and lives shattered in the recent fighting. Sheikh Bukahri has been collecting donations and sending it directly to families in need in Gaza.
RABBI MENACHEM FROMAN CONTINUES HIS WORK FOR A CEASE FIRE AND DIALOGUE WITH HAMAS
Throughout the Gaza war, Rabbi Menachem Froman was working on efforts to bring about a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. Please read this article about his call for for dialogue with Hamas, and a new chance for peace in the wake of the recent war:
Rabbi Froman was also recently featured in the New York Times, calling for Barack Obama to involve Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders in the renewed peace process:
IBTISAM MAHAMID CONTINUES HER PEACEMAKING WORK
Ibtisam Mahamid is building a new peace center, the Tent of Hagar and Sarah in her town of Faradis in northern Israel. She initiated a project to train and empower Muslim Arab women. These women formed a women's council and got their chosen candidate elected mayor of Faradis. During the Gaza war, Ibtisam spent hours visiting wounded children from Gaza in Israeli hospitals and joined a delegation to visit the Israeli town of Sderot. Ibtisam was chosen to receive an award, "Unsung Heroes of Compassion", by the Dalai Lama in San Francisco in April.
A message from Ibtisam: "We are the children of Abraham, family. Every day I light a candle in my heart-- no anger, no hatred. We want peace, we will take peace by the hands, for the sake of our grandchildren. As a peace activist, I give compassion to myself and to the world... if you don't have inner quiet and peace in your heart, you can't give it to the world."
A MESSAGE FROM IBRAHIM ABUELHAWA
We are asking God to stop the war and fighting especially in the Holy Land between the seeds of Abraham. We have to go back to God, and to study the word of God, which it is that we are all one, and we have to love one another, and especially to love our neighbors as our brothers and ourself. That's the key for everything between the children of Abraham. Is really been hard and tough time with everyone in this land, and we wish everyone to be healthy and safe in his own home.
We are doing all this work with almost no budget. Please make a contribution, small or large, to support the work of the Jerusalem Peacemakers. We count on your support, in its different forms-- prayer and financial support --to empower us to continue this work in the Holy Land.
In the USA, in order to make a tax-deductible contribution, write a check to: 'Rising Tide International', make a note on the memo line: ‘for Jerusalem Peacemakers' and send it to:Rising Tide International, 5102 Swiss Road, Sarasota, FL 34231
For making a direct donation to help the people of Gaza, Sheikh Bukhari is collecting donations. Contact Sheikh Bukhari by email for info of how you can contribute: email@example.com
Jerusalem Peacemakers, co-director