Mrs. Barbie Gorelick ( is Education Director of Congregation Beth Am in Texas.  She also helped found their Tri-Faith Dialogue of San Antonio.  She and Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye co-created a unifying moment.
     Thursday, September 13, 2001, the Tri-Faith Dialogue welcomed the citizens of San Antonio to "Standing For Peace," an evening of prayer, song, dance, and poetry to express the united hope of the people of San Antonio for peace in the Middle East and other trouble spots of the world.
     Muslim, Jewish, and Christian clergy were among the participants.  The San Antonio Express-News reported: "Nuns wearing habits, Muslim women with headcovers and Jews with yarmulkes filled the wooden pews. Everyone sang the words "Grant us peace, lord of peace. Grant us peace," in English, Aramaic, Latin, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic, led by Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan."
     Imam Omar Shakir and Rabbi Barry Block together gave a benediction, as the community planted a symbolic fig tree sapling.
     That night, Barbie told this true story about her relationship with Naomi, and it's meaning for her. 
     It touched us.      -- L&L

At this moment in time, May the One and Only God of All, be present with us.  I want to extend a heartfelt welcome to all who are gathered here on behalf of The Tri-Faith Dialogue of San Antonio. 

I was raised in a Jewish suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.  For years I have carried a vague childhood memory of my father canceling our subscription to one of the local newspapers because a Palestinian writer was writing for it.  That fact, coupled with other reasons made my father feel as though the paper was becoming anti-Jewish and unsupportive of Israel.

More than two and a half years ago I attended a workshop at The University of the Incarnate Word on Islam.  A talented poet was on the program and read her poetry throughout the weekend.  She was passionate, beautiful and Palestinian.  Some of her poems made me very uneasy inside.  Then she read a poem about a fig tree and there was a strange rapport with her that welled up in me.  By the end of the weekend I had acquired several new Muslim sisters and a cautious respect for this bold poet.  I knew that my life had been changed that weekend and eventually The Tri-Faith Dialogue was born.  That poet became a partner with me in the desire to dispel ignorance and injustice and to demonstrate that peace can live in this moment, now.  Just recently I came to realize that this poet's father, himself a Palestinian, had been a writer for The St. Louis Globe Democrat when I was a child.

Through some Cosmic Grace, Naomi Shihab Nye and I again have ended up in the same city.  In this time and space though, tonight we are "standing together for peace."  My prayer is that our people will come and join with us... and that we will always be a blessing to our fathers.