Local Jews attend Peacemakers Camp
In attempt to break down stereotypes and learn about each other, nearly 100 Jewish and Palestinian adults and children gathered in early September for a family camp weekend at Camp Tawonga near Yosemite National Park.
The first ever Oseh Shalom-Sanea al-Salam Jewish-Palestinian Family Peacemakers Camp met Friday through Sunday, Sept. 12:-14.
People throughout California participated including members of the Arab-Jewish Dialogue of the South Bay, championed by Shir Hadash Rabbi Melanie Aron, and co-convened by Palestinian Daoud Aboujodom.
"It was extraordinary and helped us discover and appreciate so much more than was possible in our two and-a-half-hour living room settings," said Len Traubman, who started the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group in San Mateo 11 years ago.
The group sat around on couches far long discussions, hiked, took boating and ropes courses, held evening campfires with talent shows, shared Middle Eastern meals, and a closing handwashing ceremony.
“The outdoor group living experience near nature -- that allowed us to low down to discover ourselves, each other, and what is important,” said Traubman.
The response from campers was overwhelmingly positive. An Israeli daughter of a Holocaust survivor said she came to camp with a "show me" attitude. But the weekend for her became a "transformative experience" that helped free her from the past and begin to move forward.
And a Palestinian man from Ramallah reflected, "It was a weekend to remember. People could express themselves and be heard in a safe place. If it can be done here, it can be done anywhere. We both demonstrated to each other that we do not need to be enemies."
Young IDF soldiers participated and affirmed the deep meaning of meeting "the enemy" more personally for the first time.
"I could not have felt more welcome," said a young Palestinian woman. As you know it's been very difficult for me coming back from this trip to Qualquilya, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, so it was very healing to see and feel all the support."
"It allowed us to simply `be' together rather than only arguing politics.”
To view more than 100 photos of the event visit http://traubman.igc.org/camp.htm.
For more information contact Lionel “Len” Traubman at LTraubman@igc.org.
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Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group
1448 Cedarwood Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403
Voice: (650) 574-8303 -- Fax: (650) 573-1217
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