The descriptions below are based on Marcia's report from their four gatherings in the past two weeks -- after
Marcia speaks of one memorable moment: "It was quite a moving event, as the smoke plumed out over the site of the
The past weeks events have certainly created a new dynamic in our discussions here.
First we had an interview with the Associated Press which brought 10 of us together for an interesting dialogue. There was much give and take and suppressed rage as well.
This gathering took place at a candidates forum arranged by the Arab American Institute out of
Thus began a relationship of cooperation with several of the Arab American organizations which serve Bay Ridge and
On Sunday, Sept. 9th we had a wonderful gathering with Forsan Hussein, of the Abraham Fund, at the home of one of our Christian members. Hussein, a young Palestinian Israeli, spoke about stereotypes and the type of hard work he had to do to overcome his hatred and ignorance.
He spoke also of the hard work his Israeli friend had to do to also overcome his past mis-reading of history. It has opened many doors for us here in
On Shabbat Saturday, September 15th, a local synagogue invited us to come after torah study to speak about the ways in which we could reach out to the Arab American Community.
At this gathering almost all of our Arab and Palestinian members came, honored to be invited to a synagogue. They were hopeful that they could express themselves and so authenticate their desire to let Jews know that Islam and Palestinians do not endorse the attacks which had occurred only a few short days ago.
Many expressed their concern and specific stories about anti-Arab sentiments, and verbal and physical attacks. Of course there were also conspiracy theories (i.e. the Mossad planned the attack, no Israelis or Jews were hurt in the WTC events, etc.). But all of this is part and parcel of dialogue and de-mystifying the other. We decided to create escort services and participate in anti-hate training programs.
That training program attracted over 50 attendees, 2/3's from our dialogue group.
On Sunday September 16th we participated in a vigil, sponsored by the
Hundreds of all faiths attended. SO many of our members attended that we were interviewed for many Arab American and foreign papers.
All spoke of their love for this country, this city and each other as human beings. All spoke for a return to dialogue.
It was quite a moving event, as the smoke plumed out over the site of the
And today, Sunday, September 24th, two members of our dialogue group, Debbie and Naji from