Dear colleagues in Palestinian-Jewish dialogue,
"Where are the adults?" we ask ourselves.
Amidst heart-breaking cruelty to each other by both Jews and Palestinians -- we mirror one another -- in the midst of the "season of light," we grieve our killing of increasing proportions of youth.
Forgetting who we are, we succumb to justifying cruel acts that harden our hearts and distance ourselves from conscience and soul. We both do it -- Palestinians and Jews. We are equally human, and can be equally inhuman. Listen! It's time to stop!
Where are the adults? Sometimes they are the youth.
Two examples are (1) PEACE CHILD ISRAEL and (2) CROSSING BORDERS.
1. PEACE CHILD ISRAEL doing small miracles
Listen to Melisse Lewine-Boskovich (firstname.lastname@example.org), determined shepherd of this sustained, relationship-building endeavor in Israel that brings Arab and Jewish teens together to learn each other's cultures in creative workshops and drama presentations that help lift up their lives together:
People don't believe much in miracles anymore, but they can happen.
And a cluster of such miracles are happening right here and now.
Despite the horrendous news of the past weeks, Arab and Jewish teenagers are organizing their fears, anger, and frustration in such a way as to find the justification to come together and learn about each other, to hear the other's stories, to reduce the typical stereotypes and to MOVE FORWARD.
Even just an inch.
Is this not a miracle?
Due to the commitment of educators, family members, school principals, and community support, as well as the steadfast support of friends at foundations and a committed staff of Arab and Jewish professionals, Peace Child
The "grads" will perform excerpts from their shows from last year and run a brief inter-active workshop with the audiences of underclassman in 4 schools (2 Arab and 2 Jewish). The "beginners" meet every week for two hours in a process which culminates in sharing an original play in Hebrew and Arabic, which they write, rehearse and perform for underclassman and the community at-large in May and June.
Who would have believed? Isn't that a miracle worth knowing about?
More is on the Web at http://www.mideastweb.org/peacechild
2. CROSSING BORDERS encouraging dialogue among
Palestinian-Israeli Mohammad Darawshe (email@example.com), a director at Givat Haviva's Peace Education Institute, is a true adult model for all of us.
Mohammad assures that CROSSING BORDERS continues to bring Jewish, Palestinian, and Jordanian high school and university students together to determine content and editorial policy for the joint, Hebrew-Arabic, color publication, "Crossing Borders." Subject matter crosses and challenges idealogical and political boundaries. There are 30,000 copies for each issue.
Dialogue and "normalisation," Darawashe says, "did not make us less Palestinian. Our identity and affiliation to our language, culture and (Arab) heritage became even stronger."
The editorial meetings themselves are the essence of the project. The youth-journalists have to present their arguments and try to convince their peers why they want a certain topic to be covered or not a learning process often leading to heated debates then eventual agreement.
Not being directly involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and feeling less political pressure, the Jordanian group often plays the significant role of moderator and mediator between their Palestinian and Israeli peers.
Givat Haviva, the oldest Israeli institution advocating Jewish-Arab understanding, was founded in 1949 and works towards the improvement of relations between
Last week Mohammad Darawshe and others were in
The resulting publication, CROSSING BORDERS, can be read online at http://www.crossingborder.org
Sometimes the youth are the adults. They teach us, if we will learn.