From Our Friend Eliyahu

by mgopin on June 18, 2009 · 10 comments

Submitted by David Vyorst

Here is an email newsletter from our friend, peacemaker Eliyahu McLean:

Abrahamic Reunion brings hope to Sderot, Gaza

Hello friends and supporters,

We have been been doing ongoing work to re-build trust and relationships in the Holy Land in the aftermath of the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.  Here is a highlight of the group events and individual work of members of our family of peacebuilders in the Holy Land, starting with a powerful event that took place in the days soon after the war.

ABRAHAMIC REUNION BRINGS HOPE TO SDEROT AND GAZA, Feb.4

Rabbi Zion Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Shaar HaNegev and Sderot brought together a group of Israeli Jewish students and teachers who hosted the Abrahamic Reunion (AR) in a re-enforced classroom at the high school at Sapir College in Shaar Hanegev, on Israel’s border with Gaza, on Feb. 4th. Deacon Jiries Mansour, principal of the Latin School in Rame, Galilee brought a group of Christian, Druze and Muslim high school students to join the event.

The AR group of religious leaders– Druze, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — addressed the combined student groups and then the students spoke with each other.  The youth spoke from the heart about their fears during the war, and hopes for a peaceful future.   Rabbi Cohen spoke about the reality of living with rocket attacks in Sderot, Sheikh Bukhari shared how his family, living just a short distance away in Gaza, lived in fear for survival during the war.  The clergy each offered words of wisdom for the youth and then shared prayers for peace on both sides of the border.

The meeting was broadcast on Israeli TV news and re-broadcast on Arab TV, widely viewed within Gaza– bringing hope in both places that perhaps religion could be used not just as incitement for war, but as a tool for peace.

View great pictures from this event here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerusalem_peacemakers/sets/

GATHERINGS OF LIGHT AND UNITY AT THE DEAD SEA

After the successful first “Gathering of Light and Unity” on the Dead Sea in January, a second gathering took place at Metzukei Dragot beach, an oasis of beautiful fresh and saltwater pools on the Dead Sea shore, on Feb. 13-14.  Over 200 Israelis and Palestinians came, sharing meals, music, Jewish Shabbat prayers, and their stories, around a campfire. This is a unique area is easily accessible to both Israelis and Palestinians who come from across the West Bank without the need for travel permits.  The third Dead Sea gathering took place over 3 days, June 12-14.

GATHERINGS IN OUR WEST JERUSALEM PEACE CENTER

We host regular peace gatherings at our West Jerusalem Peace Center. Each gathering includes involvement of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders from Jerusalem,  West Bank Palestinians, internationals and Israelis, including from the “right wing”. Recent celebrations included:  a 40th birthday party for Eliyahu on Feb. 15th, a joint celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Muslim holiday of Mawlid al-Nabi on March 8th, and an evening of sacred music and poetry, May 18th.

SEVENTH OF PASSOVER, MESSIAH MEAL,  April 15th

For the Seventh Day of Passover, Hasidic tradition is to hold a ‘Seudat Moshiach’- Messiah Meal, at the closing moments of the Passover holiday. Hosted by Lutheran Pastor Uwe Grabe, we held an inter-faith meal and peace gathering in a meeting room of the Lutheran Redeemer Church in the Old City, next to the Holy Sepulchre church.  Over 200 Jews, Muslims and Christians gathered for a powerful evening of teachings about redemption and peace, songs, chants and shared prayer.

IBTISAM MAHAMID RECEIVES AWARD FROM THE DALAI LAMA, April 26

Ibtisam Mahamid, a Muslim woman peacemaker from Faradis, was nominated for and received an award from the Dalai Lama, among other special guests for: “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” in San Francisco on April 26. See this interview with Ibtisam here:

http://www.globalonenessproject.org/videos/ibtisammahameedcomplete

RABBI FROMAN AND SHEIKH MANASRA MEET WITH GEORGE MITCHELL

Rabbi Menachem Froman and Sheikh Ghassan Manasra met recently with George Mitchell, the Middle East peace process envoy, in Washington, DC. Froman and Manasra offered to set up a working group of Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders to help come up with creative solutions for the most challenging issues of the peace process: the status of Jerusalem and holy places and settlements. Rabbi Froman and Sheikh Manasra also met with members of Congress, and Ghassan spoke at a press conference of the Middle East Civic Forum.

Here Rabbi Froman speaks on the role of religion in supporting a new dialogue between Islam and the West:

http://www.globalonenessproject.org/videos/rabbifromancomplete

ABRAHAMIC REUNION MEMBERS COMMENT ON POPE’S  JERUSALEM VISIT ON PBS TELEVISION

Elana Rozenman, Ibrahim Abuelhawa and Eliyahu reflect on inter-religious work in light of the pope’s visit, on the ‘Religion and Ethics’ program of PBS TV in the USA, watch the program and interviews here:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/may-15-2009/popes-mid-east-trip-wrap-up/2962/

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/by-topic/middle-east/may-22-2009-voices-from-the-holy-land/3040/

SHEIKH BUKHARI AND ELIYAHU COMMENT ON OBAMA CAIRO SPEECH ON BBC WORLD RADIO, ‘Outlook’ program June 2nd

Following on a speaking tour of England, organized by Jerusalem Peacemakers UK and Campusalam, from March 12-24, we were interviewed on BBC radio about inter-faith work in light of Obama’s speech in Cairo.

See interviews of Sheikh Bukhari and Eliyahu on the Global Oneness Project website:

http://www.globalonenessproject.org/search/node/bukhari
http://www.globalonenessproject.org/search/node/eliyahu

With the global financial crisis, donations have completely dried up.  Please make a contribution, small or large, to help us– this inspired network of peacebuilders — continue our work.  We count on your support, in its different forms– prayer and financial support –to empower us to continue this work in the Holy Land.

In the USA, in order to make a tax-deductible contribution, write a check to:

‘Center for Religious Tolerance, make a note on the memo line: ‘for Jerusalem Peacemakers’ and send it to:

Center for Religious Tolerance, 520 Ralph St. Sarasota, FL 34242

To make a donation by check in the UK,

AND to make a donation by credit card with Paypal from anywhere, click this link of Jerusalem Peacemakers UK. Calculate your donation in its equivalent in British pounds:

http://www.spiritofpeace.co.uk/jerusalempeacema.html

To send support directly and to contact us by mail:

Jerusalem Peacemakers, PO Box 31894, Jerusalem, 91316 Israel

Shalom, Salaam,
Eliyahu McLean,

Jerusalem Peacemakers, co-director
www.jerusalempeacemakers.org

© Marc Gopin

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