Interfaith citizen-leaders - young, old - meet,
embolden public & government peace processes
04 January 2004
the New Year 2004, we bring to you year-end 2003 stories of Muslims, Jews, and
Christians who refuse to distance themselves.
Rather -- young and old -- they opt to move toward one another to discover their shared humanity and spirit at the deep base of each person, each religion.
We urge other to do the same wherever you live.
1. NEW INITIATIVE OF PROMINENT AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
2. MUSLIM AND JEWISH STUDENTS COOPERATE, LEARN TOGETHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
3. MIDDLE EAST STUDENTS CONTINUE THEIR "CROSSING BORDERS" MAGAZINE
4. VIDEOCONFERENCE CONNECTS MUSLIM, JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN YOUTH BETWEEN U.S.A., MIDDLE EAST
5. TORONTO JEWS, MUSLIMS FIND THEIR ONENESS IN SHARED STORIES, CEREMONY OF LIGHT
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NEW INITIATIVE OF PROMINENT AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
In December, 2003, a delegation of 33 of America's most prominent Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders met in Washington, DC to announce their new, unprecedented, collaborative effort -- The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East.
These citizen-leaders of their faiths, and their plans, are described at:
They will continue working within their communities and together "to mobilize broad public support for active, determined and effective U.S. leadership in pursuit of peace between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states."
They insist on a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state alongside the existing state of Israel with enduring peace and security for both sides, thus amplifying the voices of increasing numbers of courageous Arabs and Jews of goodwill.
The Washington convergence was initiated by A Different Future (http://www.adifferentfuture.org), the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East (http://www.usicpme.org), and the United Religions Initiative (http://www.uri.org) with initial financial support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
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MUSLIM AND JEWISH STUDENTS COOPERATE, LEARN TOGETHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
From student Becky Jane Eisen (BEisen@umich.edu)
The Muslim Student Association and the Progressive Israel Alliance cosponsored a Habitat for Humanity Build Day.
Muslim and Jewish students -- 15 of each -- spent the majority of the day working on a house for a luck Ann Arbor family.
"It went smashingly, people got along very well, and all expressed interest in doing it again," Becky wrote.
There was a great vibe to the event and everyone involved agreed that they wanted to do more in the future.
Becky says: "We are organizing a service exchange for the Muslim Student Association for sometime later this semester, possibly during Ramadan so they can take us to a mosque on Friday and afterwards we can take them to a Friday night service and break their fast with a Shabbat meal."
They will also be co-hosting a lecture/discussion about the origins of the concept of fasting on Ramadan in Yom Kippur at some point during Ramadan.
Also, the students are starting the new Progressive Arab Jewish Alliance (PAJA), co-chaired by a Jewish and Arab student.
The co-chairmen are a Jewish student and an Arab student, Salah Husseini.
Becky adds: "Hopefully this will take over the majority of the dialogue taking place on campus and will spread our message to previously unreached segments of the population."
Finally, through PAJA the students will soon be starting a bimonthly discussion group to read and discuss articles and documents about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They will look at biased literature from both sides of the conflict and learn how to sort through bias and half-truths while attempting to gain the full picture of the situation.
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MIDDLE EAST STUDENTS CONTINUE THEIR "CROSSING BORDERS" MAGAZINE
Despite violence and obstacles that inhibit or stop others in the Middle East, the young Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians who co-write and publish Crossing Borders Mideast Youth Magazine every two months have never given up.
Read more about them at http://www.crossingborder.org/newspaper/ .
The magazine is the product of several dozen youth who about journalism and deepen their understanding of each other through face-to-face dialogue.
The project is hosted by the International People's College, and is managed by Mr. Garba Diallo (Garba@ipc.dk). The Israeli coordinator is Shimon Malka (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Givat Haviva's Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, the Arab-Israeli is Andre Kaldawy (Kaldawy@inter.net.il), the Palestinian is Suheir Hashimeh (TJT@jerusalem-times.net), and the Jordanian is Khaled Shorman (KShorman@nets.com.jo).
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VIDEOCONFERENCE CONNECTS MUSLIM, JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN YOUTH BETWEEN U.S.A., MIDDLE EAST
"Global Perspectives: One World, Many Celebrations" project linked students between Polyprep Day School in Brooklyn, NY and The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles with Open House, a youth center in Israel founded in 1991 to further peace and coexistence among Palestinian Israelis and Jewish Israelis.
You can watch the two-hour telecast online in streaming video at:
This program is worth watching -- instructional about how Dialogue moves from everyday conversation to more depth and meaning over Time.
The exchange deepends over time, becoming more and more revealing of the differences and separation between people, the openness and closedness of different participants, and the breakthroughs young people have made in their own lives.
More about Open House is at http://www.openhouse.org.il/ .
Supportive "Friends of Open House" is described at http://www.friendsofopenhouse.org .
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TORONTO JEWS, MUSLIMS FIND THEIR ONENESS IN SHARED STORIES, CEREMONY OF LIGHT
From Barbara Landau (BLandau@rogers.com)
Over thirty women and men -- mostly Muslims and Jews -- invented their Interfaith Chanukah Party to celebrate light and freedom together.
Barbara Landau writes: "It was a great success!
"We began by introducing ourselves by our, or our familes, countries of origin.
"Our Rabbi, Debra Landsberg, then told an updated interpretation of the story of Chanukah.
"It was a story that included escape from oppression that could resonate with most guests.
"Then we shared a wonderful potluck dinner with excellent camaraderie.
"Sy did the blessing over the candles, and he and the Rabbi led the group in a Chanukah singsong.
"We called on a representative group of guests (representing the Near East, Indian subcontinent, and North America) to tell their personal stories about escaping from oppression.
"These these stories made a visible impact on the group.
"We then each took a candle and in turn lit our neighbour's candle and made a wish for our neighbour for peace.
"We ended with desserts!
"THE GOODWILL at the end of the evening was very apparent.
"May we continue to light the path to goodwill!"
LIGHT IN DARK TIMES
"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson