Dear Colleagues and Supporters in Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue,

    A PHOENIX  can rise from ashes.
     If people will ask questions, and listen, and say "yes" to opportunity. 

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     SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2002, south of the San Francisco Peninsula, the largely-Palestinian Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos burned down by arson.  The congregants were in pain. 
     There was a region-wide outpouring of sympathy. The Church grounds have hosted every other meeting of the Arab-Jewish  Dialogue of the South Bay since its inception, and South Bay rabbis immediately pledged support:

Jewish Bulletin of Northern California

http://www.jewishsf.com/bk020412/sb38.shtml

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     A WEEK LATER on their lawn, yesterday morning more than 500 congregants, with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian supporters, gathered as one in divine liturgy. It was a new moment of community here.
     We were experiencing each other, many for the very first time.  People talked about a phoenix rising from flames and ashes. 

     PHOTOGRAPHS are on the Web at http://www.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=67b0de21b3022f36a4f3

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     ONE STORY will remain with us forever.
     We are told the fire's searing heat reached 1,000 degrees.
     Pews and icons were gone forever.  Metal and glass melted.
     The glass pulpit that supported their Bible disappeared. 
     The metal covers of The Book vaporized.
     But amidst the rubble was found the charred remains of those scriptures. 
     Hundreds of the first pages were gone.
     Revealed after clearing away ashes was the topmost, charred page. 
     It was burned around all its edges, save one small circle of white.
     Within it was a teaching of Jesus of Nazareth for our time. 
     For Palestinians and Jews.  For Americans.  For humankind.
     "Do not resist evil."
    
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     For if we only resist, and "fight against," and use violence to avenge and to "teach them," we become exactly like that which oppresses us, and which offends our senses and souls.  And we set the stage for only more of the same from the other side.  Nothing else.
     For the instruction is to love in every situation. 
     And E.F. Schumacher prescribed not to be preoccupied with slaying the dinosaur, but rather to use our juices and creativity to invent the gazelle.

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     At nearby Stanford University, Professor Martin Hellman, a Jew, eight years had written a short but important paper, "Resist Not Evil."
     In the 1980s, Hellman had done the seemingly impossible by bringing together Soviet and Western scholars of goodwill to write the historic, cooperative book, "Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking."
     His paper can be read at http://www.igc.org/traubman/resistnot.htm
         
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"To meet hate with retaliatory hate would do nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love..."

     -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

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     Sometimes symbols and teachings have meaning for us and help lift and move us above headlines and instincts. 
     So, working together for both peoples equally, we can and we surely will birth a great phoenix from the ashes of these days.