New in Spring 2008

Public calls from Muslims, Jews for engagement, change

Friday, 21 March 2008


     This first day of Spring brings new birth into freedom to communicate as never before.
     In 2008 expect -- and create -- new connections and change among citizens.
     In advance of governments, as usual.

     The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace - -  has declared 2008 the year of initiatives for the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
     The WCIR formally seeks to initiate rapprochement between Judaism and Islam. Two congresses - Brussels, January 2005, and Seville, March 2006 - were attended by religious leaders from 43 countries who are actively committed to the path of dialogue between their communities. Unfolding initiatives were inspired by the meetings and continue unfolding.

     Too, a historic first this March, 2008, was the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) recommending to the collective Jewish community "Seek Peace and Pursue It: A Jewish Call to Muslim-Jewish Dialogue."  The IJCIC is a coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religions.


        READ the Jewish call at
     That statement welcomed, and was preceded on February 25, 2008 by, "A Call to Peace, Dialogue and Understanding between Muslims and Jews" issued by Muslim scholars.

        READ the Muslim call at

     Rabbi David Rosen chairs the IJCIC outreach and defines well the process of change itself:


"Positive initiatives and declarations from religious and community leaders and even bringing such leadership together are all of much importance.     

"However to have real and lasting consequence, they must be supported by grass roots activity on the ground and ideally reflect such as well."


     On the ground in parallel with words on paper, already communicating anew across old lines are thousands of Muslims and Jews, along with Christians and those of other faith traditions.
     They are individuals within many dozens - surely hundreds - of collectives in the Holy Land and worldwide.
     In recent weeks, National Public Radio (NPR) has highlighted and interviewed citizen-exemplars:


For Former Combatants, A Plan for Peace

Broadcast by National Public Radio (NPRA) - 10 March 2008

LISTEN - 35 mins -


Fresh Air from WHYY, March 10, 2008 Bassam Aramin and Zohar Shapira, the co-founders of Combatants for Peace, talk about their mission to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine by bringing together individuals who previously fought against each other.  A former member of the Palestinian Fatah movement, Aramin began a seven-year sentence in an Israeli prison at age 17. He now works as a clerk at the Palestinian National Archives. Shapira served as combatant and commander in an elite unit of the Israeli army for 15 years. He now is a teacher in a Waldorf school in Israel.  Currently around 450 Palestinians and Israelis are members of the group.


     This followed an earlier program:


Broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition - 22 February 2008

Making Peace One Person at a Time

LISTEN - 5 mins. -

Hear personal interviews with dedicated participants of:


(1) Seeds of Peace - - summer camp youth followup meeting in Jerusalem, one of a dozen North American camp programs for the Middle East public peace process - .


(2) Combatants for Peace


(3) TRUST-Emun - - with its Jerusalem-based women's programs of relationship building and matters of daily life like "Let's Make-Up" and "Slim Peace."


(4) Israel~Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) -

Hanna Siniora, IPCRI Co-CEO, and longtime member of the Palestine National Council (PNC) said clearly:


"It's not enough for officials to make peace.

"Civil society's role is more important, because if this peace has to last, if this peace has to grow, civil society has to participate and be the main actor."


     Just today the press passes on stories of more citizen initiatives that matter, as Hanna Siniora's Jewish co-CEO of IPCRI, Gershon Baskin, shares an interview about engagement, movement, and change.


Can we talk?  Parleys with Hamas aren't unusual for activists

by Joe Eskenazi

Published in j., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California -- Friday March 21, 2008


     Finally, since music can help us be more human and hopeful, absorb The Jewish-Arab Peace Song, in Arabic and Hebrew.
     It is the theme of Peace Child Israel - - one of the Holy Land's great activities of Palestinian and Jewish youth and their families.

SEE and HEAR - 4 mins -


    These Innovators and Early Adopters are not people who sit, analyze, and wait for "things" to change.
     These people show us by example how capable we are of inventing our desired future.
     In less time than we'd ever imagined.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. 

It's about learning how to dance in the rain!"

                        - Unknown author