BOOKS about relationship building, and

PEOPLE who do it

Sunday, 08 May 2011


"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. 

A dream you dream together is reality." 

        --John Lennon (1940-1980)

"We read to know we are not alone."

        -- C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

     Today is Mother's Day 2011.
     In 1870 in the U.S., Julia Ward Howe sent forth her Mother's Day Proclamation, that clarified:


The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.


    The matriarch beckoned women:


Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God.


    Learning from Mother's Day about living together, here for you are (1) useful books and (2) those who animate them.

                        - L&L


The Lemon Tree:
An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
by Sandy Tolan
Bloomsbury USA, 2007, 384 pages
     This remarkable book helps the heart of the adult or youth reader to stretch enough to encompass the the whole story of the excellent, diverse peoples. 
     Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree, has a heart large enough to contain compassion both for the longing for Zion, for sanctuary, for homeland, of the Jewish survivors who emigrated to the nascent Israel after WWII, and at the same time the longing for return, for justice, for homeland, of the Palestinians who were expelled from the homes they had occupied for generations to make room for what was to become Israel?

Muslims and Jews in America:
Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities
Reza Aslan and Aaron J. Hahn Tapper (Editors)
Palgrave Macmillan, May 2011, 214 pages
     Jews and Muslims -- less than 3% of the U.S. population -- are often are the focus of a disproportionate media attention, particularly regarding the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
     American Jews and American Muslims sometimes struggle with additional inter-communal campus and neighborhood sometimes-exaggerated differences of culture, religion, and politics.
     This book explores contemporary Jewish-Muslim relations in the United States, and the distinct and often creative ways in which these two communities interact with one another in the American context.
     Each essay discusses a different episode from twentieth and current twenty-first century American life that links these two groups together.
     Readers appreciate case examples of local inter-communal interaction, such as dialogue groups, to help us better understand one another and influence constructive national awareness and trends.

The Meeting of Civilizations: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish
Moshe Ma'Oz (Editor)
Sussex Academic Press, January 2009, 264 pages
     Horrific acts of violence during the last decades have been labelled by politicians, religious leaders and scholars as a 'Clash of Civilizations'.
     However, contributors to this book set out to explain that individual acts cannot be considered an Islamic onslaught on Judeo-Christian Civilisation, or vice versa.
     While the hostile ideas, words and deeds perpetrated by individual supporters among the three monotheistic civilisations cannot be ignored, history has demonstrated a more positive, constructive, albeit complex, relationship among Muslim, Christians and Jews during medieval and modern times.
     For centuries-long periods of time they shared divine and human values, co-operated in cultural, economic and political fields, and influenced one another's thinking.
     This book examines religious and historical themes of these three civilising religions, the impact of education on their interrelationship, the problem of Jerusalem, as well as contemporary interfaith relations.
     Noted scholars and theologians - Jewish, Christian and Muslim - from the United States, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey contribute.

The End of War:
How waging peace can save
humanity, our planet and our future
Paul K. Chappell
Easton Studio Press, 2010, 176 pages
eBook 2011
     Capt. Paul K. Chappell graduated from West Point in 2002. 
     He served in the army for seven years, was deployed to Baghdad in 2006, and left active duty in November 2009 as a Captain.
     Building on the powerful argument for peace laid out in his first book, Will War Ever End, Paul K. Chappell now explains in detail how together we can end the wars between countries, our ongoing war with nature, and the suffering in our hearts.

Politics Is about Relationship:
A Blueprint for the Citizens' Century
Harold H. Saunders
New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005's+century+saunders
     Dr. Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, clarifies that governments alone cannot diminish fear and build public confidence to end wars.
     Saunders, who in 1991 named "the public peace process," here defines the citizen imperative to engage face-to-face in this moment in history -- The Citizens' Century.


finding forgiveness, friendship

     Aicha el-Wafi and Phyllis Rodriguez met around a shared tragedy -- and their friendship has become a powerful symbol for forgiveness and dialogue.
     Their powerful friendship was born of unthinkable loss.
     Rodriguez' son was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.
     El-Wafi's son Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted of a role in those attacks and is serving a life sentence.
     HEAR the women speak strongly about the new Power -- Circles, and Story as entry point to healing "me" and "you" together.


9/11 healing: The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship

TED Talk -- 10 min video -- December 2010

in Canada

     LIVING TOGETHER -- -- every week since October 2010 continues bringing together Jewish and Muslim Arab teenagers in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
     Through photography and successful face-to-face communication, the youth leadership program helps the youth learn about each other and become closer together.
     Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in Saint Laurent, the youth will present their two creations, a:


1.  short film

2.  illustrated children's book


     LEARN MORE about LIVING TOGETHER through or (514) 961-5979


St. Laurent teens learn about Living Together

CTV-News - Montreal, Canada -- 25 January 2011

2-1/2 minute video

in the eastern United States

     THE INTERFAITH PINEWOOD DERBY brought together Jewish and Muslim Cub Scouts in the Washington, DC, area to compete with their home-made, brightly-colored wooden race cars.
     The 19 boys (ages 7-10) also built friendships in the historic, updated version of this traditional scouting exercise.

     It was hosted by Cub Scout Pack 1818 of Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, which teamed up with its counterpart packs from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Cub Scouts.
     Olam Tikvah provided the space, refreshments and volunteers.
     ADAMS brought its 42-foot metal racing track and timing software as well as volunteers.

     "Interfaith work is so important," said Muslim Cub Scout leader, Rizwan Jaka.
     "We must get to know each other."
     Julian Tishkoff, chair of the Jewish Committee on Scouting, experienced that "the goodwill was really outstanding."
     "If this is a precedent for things to come, I have reason to be optimistic."


The Diversity Derby:

Day at the races for Jewish, Muslim scouts

Washington Jewish Week -- 30 March 2011

in the western United States

     ABRAHAM'S VISION Unity Program in the San Francisco Bay Area brings together teen women and men students to meet and learn together for a year.
     The high school Muslims and Jews learn about their own and the "other's" faith traditions, and also diverse, parallel narratives within the Palestinian-Israeli relationship.
     A documentary film -- --  of their Spring 2010 graduation ceremony gave voice to them expressing their dramatic personal growth.
     The teens said more in their own words:


Abraham's Vision Unity Program 2009-2010

3-min video

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