(email@example.com), teaches "Quilting For Social Change" in
Vancouver, BC, Canada. In an ongoing work of devotion, she has pieced
together over 300 squares created by Palestinians, Jews, and others in an
exquisite 30-panel Middle East Peace Quilt. This museum-quality creation
has been exhibited in Canada, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Here is a report from its present exhibition in
Portland, Oregon. We encourage you to consider bringing it to your
Portland, Oregon responds to Middle East Peace Quilt
In January 2001, Building Bridges for Peace in the
Middle East sponsored the Middle East Peace Quilt. Building Bridges
is a small grassroots group formed in 1999 to create connections and
understanding among Palestinians, other Arabs, Jews and Israelis in our
community (Portland, Oregon, USA).
The Middle East Peace Quilt, an international
community art project involving nearly 300 people, brings together each
individual's vision for peace in the Middle East. The display includes
thirty 3' x 3' quilts, each consisting of nine quilt squares.
Accompanying the quilts are the statements made by the people who designed each
We are especially grateful to Sima
Elizabeth Shefrin (firstname.lastname@example.org), the
fabric artist who conceived of this project and made her vision a
reality. Having the Middle East Peace Quilt in Portland was a great gift
to our community.
The quilts that make up the Middle East Peace Quilt were
displayed throughout January at an art gallery located in the First
Congregational Church in downtown Portland. At the entrance to the
exhibit, an information table was set up where visitors could sign the guest
book, make donations, buy postcards, and pick up information about grassroots
peace efforts happening here and abroad. Slides showing scenes from
Palestine/Israel and faces of Palestinians and Israeli Jews were projected on a
screen in one corner of the hall.
Some of the highlights from the month include:
OPENING - Over 200 people attended the opening of the exhibit, viewed the
quilts, had a chance to talk with one another, and enjoyed entertainment by
dances of Universal Peace and a local Middle Eastern ensemble. Visitors
responded favorably. One person commented: "I have deep fears about the
conflict in the Middle East. I need a place of hopefulness to reignite my
imagination for what is possible. Thank you for this inspiration."
QUILT-MAKING WORKSHOPS - Building Bridges sponsored two workshops where adults
and young people could make their own quilt squares showing their vision for
peace in the Middle East. Several Sunday school and other school classes
also made quilt squares. One woman who attended a workshop said it was
wonderful that this group of strangers had a chance to come together, talk
about their connection to the Middle East, and transform their hopes into
COVERAGE - Media covering the project included: the Oregonian
(Portland's major newspaper), two television stations, and the Jewish Review
(Oregon's Jewish community newspaper). KBOO, a local community radio
station, co-sponsored the exhibit and featured the project and issues related
to the Middle East throughout the month.
- Three times during the month people gathered for video-viewing and
discussion. The video If You Make It Possible by Lynn Feinerman
was shown. The discussions, led by a participant on a Compassionate Listening
delegation, were poignant, powerful, and moving. People were challenged
to look at their own beliefs and their own potential as peacemakers.
FOR PEACE: AN EVENING OF LEARNING - The local university's Middle East Studies
Center co-sponsored this event which included a presentation, video viewing and
discussion. The major speaker was Lee Gordon, co-founder of Hand in Hand, an
organization that focuses on creating integrated schools for Arabs and Jews in
Israel. The Seeds of Peace video was also shown. Those who attended came
away with new perspectives and new acquaintances.
SERVICE FOR PEACE - On the last day of the display, the church hosting the
exhibit invited the public to an Interfaith Service for peace. The service
included music and singing led by a local rabbi, and stories of peacemaking
presented by the rabbi, an Imam from the local Islamic community, and a
minister. The service was a beautiful and inspiring end to the month long
DISPLAY AT PEACE FEST - In early February, the Oregon Peace Institute and Soka Gakkai International, a
Buddhist organization, sponsored the city's first Peace Fest with resource
tables, interactive activities and workshops focused on peace and non-violent
conflict resolution. The quilts were beautifully displayed throughout the
hall where the event was held. Building Bridges also sponsored a workshop on
We found that the Middle East Peace Quilt can serve as
an effective focus for organizing, educating, building connections and bringing
people together in a community. It can enhance community dialogue and
individual learning about complex issues related to the conflict. We're sure
that other communities that decide to host this project will find it very
inspiring and rewarding.