August 4-8, 2002, at Trinity
University in San Antonio, Texas, was the first time Palestinians and Jews
cooperated to bring Dialogue to CAJE -- the Conference on Alternatives in
Jewish Education -- where 1,600 Jewish educators gather from the Americas,
Israel, and beyond.
Photos from the CAJE Dialogue events and related gathering all week maybe be seen as a slide show -- and even photos ordered -- on the Web at:
Six Dialogue workshops were presented cooperatively by participants from San Antonio's Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue and Tri-Faith Dialogue, and the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo, California. The sessions were:
** Seeking Peace and Pursuing It with Children of Abraham
** The Process of Social Change Through Dialogue and Expanding Identification
** Story as Entry to Dialogue
** The Stories of Our Cousins
** Beginning, Maturing, and Growing A Dialogue
** The film PROMISES and Discussion with Palestinian Muslims
The reception at CAJE was
encouraging, even surprising.
Many of the women, men, and youth seemed eager to hear Palestinian voices to go with their Jewish ones! And to see that it is possible -- not impossible -- to successfully listen with compassion to one another.
Relationships between these CAJE participants -- Palestinians, and Israeli and American Jews -- continued into the evenings in San Antonio nightspots. When a restaurant manager heard about who had come in, he announced it and the other diners stood and applauded loudly. Then the musicians played John Lennon's "Imagine."
Rabbi Michael Melchior, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, taught a Talmud lesson and also met with Palestinian Mohammed Alatar (MA1962@yahoo.com), a San Antonio Dialogue participant, to talk about ways to educate Palestinians and Israelis about each others' histories. Their photo together is on the Web, under Daily Photos/Thursday, at:
Other Palestinian participants at
CAJE with Mohammed were Rawsam Almasar (email@example.com), Ms. Rolla
Elaydi (RElaydi@yahoo.com), and Imam Nadir Faris (NFaris@satx.rr.com), in
addition to fellow Muslim Narjis Pierre (firstname.lastname@example.org). Other Tri-Faith
contributors included Sister Dr. Martha Ann Kirk"
(Kirk@universe.uiwtx.edu) and The Rev. Mary Earle (email@example.com).
After the CAJE meeeting ended, Dialogue participants also met with Board members of the local Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation. Libby and Len Traubman, and Imam Nadir Faris, spoke together at the Congregation Beth Am Saturday Shabbat synagogue service of inspirational Rabbi Julie Danan (JHDanan@aol.com).
Later that Saturday was a separate workshop at week's end initiated by Dialogue participants for the San Antonio community at their peaceCENTER. It was followed with a program named "Heartbeats" -- an informal evening of more personal exchanges and inspiring Ladino and Middle Eastern music.
Participants in the new Austin, Tex. Jewish-Palestinian "Dialogue for Peace," including Bruce Kravitz (KKravitz@juno.com), arrived by car. You can read about them on the Web at:
As a result, a Sunday San Antonio
Express-News article was headlined "Participants hope talks promote
Mideast peace: Jews, Arabs, others seek to overcome mutual fears."
The ground-breaking week concluded on Sunday with the monthly meeting of the thriving Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue of San Antonio.
Many ideas for this cooperative week stemmed from the imagination and initiative of San Antonian Barbie Gorelick (firstname.lastname@example.org), at the heart of San Antonio Dialogue.
Barbie and the others in that city embody what is dearly needed everywhere, as verbalized by an Austin woman in the newspaper article's closing line:
"'I know one person can make a difference and change the course of history,' she said."