RELIGION -- from Latin, re-ligare -- is to bind back together, reconnect, unite -- people with one another. 
     And re-join us with all of the amazing, interconnected living system and Creation into which we are born.
     Some people distort and misuse religion for self gain, personal power -- seeing life through a too-narrow lens, identifying with a too-small, exclusive "we."  Is God not the largest frame of reference?
     Through RELIGION, many people on Earth are also reconnecting, listening, and healing -- creating a new shared culture of meaning beyond war. 
     Here are examples of successes from (1) Jerusalem and from (2) the U.S. and Canada.


Face to Face/Faith to Faith

     From Jerusalem, Sunday morning, June 27th, 2004, twelve youth -- Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) and Israeli Jews - flew to the U.S. for an intensive two-week summer camp experience as part of a sustained, year-long program called Face to Face/Faith to Faith, a cooperative project of:
                Seeking Common Ground in Denver, Colorado ( )
                Auburn Theological Seminary of New York ( )
                Interreligious Coordinating Council (ICCI) in Jerusalem (
     Haneen Maikey and Avigail Moshe coordinate this program for ICCI.
     This is one of eight North American camp experiences in 2004 that are bringing together Palestinians and Jews -- Muslims, Jews, Christians -- including from the Middle East, described at .

Women's Dialogue Groups

     Friday, July 2nd, 2004, women from the three ICCI Womens Dialogue Groups in Jerusalem, Wadi Ara and the Galilee, met at Shefayim for a full-day workshop co-facilitated by Rawda Suliman and Naomi Ackerman, Palestinian and Israeli actresses working in theatre for joint Arab and Jewish groups. 
     These three groups have been meeting monthly in their own communities to discuss life issues and religious texts relevant to each group.  In Shefayim the women of faith shared their personal experiences of varied group processes and dynamics.
     It was "an inspiring and reaffirming day," with each group improvising a dramatic presentation that revealed its own issues during the past year.  The three groups together learned more about each others religions, customs and lives, and they continued to shatter stereotypes and fears. 
     To learn more about ICCI and the Women's Dialogues, write to .


The Muslim-Jewish PeaceWalks

     "This year has been an amazing journey of interfaith connections under the wings of the Muslim-Jewish PeaceWalk for interfaith solidarity. . .in Tucson, Las Vegas, Nevada, NYC, Philadelphia, Albuquerque. . .and work in Spokane, Vancouver, with walks in Nelson and Osoyous, British Columbia," wrote Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ( ) who partners in these activities with Abdul Rauf Campos-Marqetti ( ) in Albuquerque, NM.

     A full story is on the Web at .
     See photos from the Philadelphia Interfaith Peace Walk for Jewish-Muslim Reconciliation, 2 May 2004, at:
     Read two March, 2004 stories about the Muslim-Jewish PeaceWalk in Tucson, Arizona:

                Published in the Tucson Weekly -- March 18, 2004
                Walk for Peace
                Local Jews and Muslims have overcome obstacles in an attempt to create an interfaith community

                Published in the Tucson Citizen -- Monday, March 22, 2004
                JEWISH-MUSLIM PEACEWALK: Tucsonans march as Mideast rages
                In a show of solidarity, supporters of peace between Jews and Muslims hit the streets.

In San Francisco:
"Living Your Faith: Jews, Christians, & Muslims in Conversation"

     This May, 2004 gathering of Muslims, Jews, and Christians was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and in The Jerusalem Times, the world's largest English language Palestinian paper, from East Jerusalem.
     The article began:

     "U.S. troops attacked a mosque in Iraq, Muslim militants blew up a bus in Kashmir, and Israeli security forces ravaged a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

     In other news, nearly 100 Christians, Muslims and Jews sat down together in San Francisco, shared a meal, and tried to figure out why religion seems to be the problem rather than the solution.

     They gathered at a dozen round tables Sunday evening at the new Jewish Community Center in San Francisco and listened to three experts -- a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew -- tell them that the essence of all three religions is love.

     The article ended, describing how two dozen Muslims paused to recite evening prayers:

     Three Muslim women knelt in prayer on the other side of the 30-foot-high wall -- right next to a passage from the Book of Zechariah (4:6).

     "Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit,'' it reads.

     Iftekhar Hai, director of interfaith relations for United Muslims of America, stood up, put his shoes on and walked back into the atrium.

     Someone asked him how it felt to pray in the new Jewish center.

     "God is everywhere,'' he replied.

        Read the full story, in either the American or the Palestinian publication:
                Published in the San Francisco Chronicle -- Tuesday, May 25, 2004
                Seeking common ground
                Christians, Muslims, Jews told spirituality, not religion, is key

                Re-published in The Jerusalem Times -- Thursday, June 18, 2004
                Spirituality, the key to dialogue (print-issue headline)
                Spirituality, not religion, is key to common ground (online headline)

                Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer, can be thanked at .