and Jews are meeting more than ever.
They are changing and bringing the rest of their communities and world with them.
They show the way to the future, while old-thinkers remain preoccupied with "enemies," pointing fingers, antagonistic in the battle for victimhood, distancing themselves from each other -- the predictable failure.
But life promises us much more, if we'll take the step.
See it happening on
"Jewish-Muslim dialogue goes on despite tensions," featured this week's Jewish Advocate in
Read the story at http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/news/?content_id=863 .
Walking through each other's doors is growing trust and new social understanding in The Muslim-Jewish Study Circle.
The women and men are largely of members of the ISB mosque in
The have been meeting every six weeks for the past three years.
The signs are they intend to stay together, ever-learning, growing together.
And inspiring Greater Boston is The Center for Jewish-Muslim Relations -- http://www.jewishmuslim.org/ , shepherded by:
Today on the
"Jews, Muslims share dream of peace: Group brings people of two faiths together," reads the banner.
Every conversation, every relationship, every person, every idea. . . matters.
The time is always right.
The power of one person is huge.
Published in the Antelope Valley Press (Calif.) -- Tuesday,
14 February 2006
On the Web at http://www.avpress.com/n/14/0214_s1.hts
Front page photo at http://www.avpress.com/
Jews, Muslims share dream of peace
Group brings people of two faiths together
By JAMES C. LOUGHRIE
Valley Press Staff Writer
PALMDALE - As they sat in the back yard of a Palmdale house Sunday afternoon, Jews and Muslims did something they wish political leaders thousands of miles away would do.
They sat and talked.
The topic of conversation was not inflammatory cartoons, the health status of an ailing prime minister or the deep political divides that have separated the two cultures.
It was how the people, about 15 Southern California residents with such birthplaces as
The group made one of its treks to the
Omeira said the meetings are a small start, but the right one.
"The journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step," Omeira said.
In the back yard of his house, even before the official meeting began, Muslims and Jews talked about their religions. Omeira's wife, Rhoda, told some of the Los Angeles-area Jews about construction of the
Different people from different walks of life, those attending the dialogue session gave different reasons but the same idea for gathering and talking.
They want a peaceful resolution between the two religions, especially in
Madeline Taylor said she began attending the meetings after the Sept. 11 attacks on
"I realized I didn't know any Muslims," said Taylor, a
"Somehow if we're going to stay strong as a country and counter all the violence they're having around the world, we need to come together and know each other personally."
Founded in the Bay Area in 1992, with the
At each meeting, there are no talks about politics or how the
They have only agreements that members listen to each other and that all want peace in the region. Every meeting includes a story from members about their lives and their faith.
Last month, group members Ihab Ali, an Egyptian Muslim, and his wife, Irit Perla, an Israeli Jew, shared their story. The two were at Omeira's house with their 4-year-old son, Adam, to hear this month's talk from Dr. Yehuda Stolov, the executive director of a similar dialogue organization based in
Paul Waller, who with his wife, Joan, founded the
Waller said he has a different perspective on today's Arab-Israeli conflict.
"Half of my family, on my father and mother's side, did not survive," he said. Having lost so many family members, Waller said he wants to end any more bloodshed between the two religions. "I can't see the Jews doing to the Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews."
At Sunday's meeting, the guest speaker from
Stolov, the executive director of Interfaith Encounter, spoke about his organization's effort to mix Palestinians and Israelis in dialogue groups.
Stolov said the idea for the dialogue groups came at interfaith meetings that focused on a speaker, but left Muslims and Jews sitting next to each other without any interaction.
"There are 15 (dialogue groups) across
Stolov said the dialogue groups are taking individuals ready for peace and putting them together, rather than wait for the respective governments to make the changes.
"The government will probably come last, but the people are coming in now," he said.
Though the dream of peace between the two countries, religions and cultures may seem far off depending on the current day's news, Omeira said he cannot lose hope.
"Even if I don't see it happen myself, I'd like to see my son carry the torch and it doesn't have to be him, it could be my grandson," Omeira said.