Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)

The IEA works to promote real coexistence and human peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East through interactive inter-religious dialogue. We believe that, rather than being the cause of the problem; religion can and should be a source of solution for conflicts in the region and beyond. We do not believe in blending all traditions into one undifferentiated group, but in providing a table where all can come and sit in safety and ease, while being fully who they are in their respective religions
Apr 13, 2011

Progress update

Dear friends,

It is a long time since we shared an update from the field. This is due to the fact that local strikes put extra load on the principals of the two schools and I do hope we will soon be able to share these updates.

However, I do want to update you in the mean time that the encounters between the two schools continue as planned, twice a week, and are very successful.

I do hope to write again soon.

Yours,

Yehuda

Links:

Mar 14, 2011

Visit of Muslim Members to Yedidya Synagogue

For the last several years, the Circle of Light and Hope, one of the IEA’s 37 ongoing dialog groups, has been discussing a very wide range of religious topics at our monthly meetings and retreats. Meetings take place in either the Gush Etzion or Har Gilo/ Beit Jalla area, with retreats being either at the Everest Hotel near Har Gilo or at the Austrian Hospice in the Old City of Jerusalem. Recently, subsequent to the attack on a Mosque in the town of Beit Fajar, it was decided to discuss the idea of “Sacred Space” in each religion. At the end of this meeting, several of the Muslim members of the group asked if it might be possible for them to visit a synagogue at some point. Several of the group’s Jewish members, including myself, are members of Kehilat Yedidya in Baka, a Modern Orthodox synagogue which is both geographically convenient (walking distance from the Bethlehem checkpoint) and which regularly welcomes groups of non-Jewish visitors. So with warm encouragement from the synagogue's leadership we decided to arrange a visit.

The group of 6 Muslim members of the Circle of Light and Hope arrived, on Friday Nov. 26th, at about 3:30 PM, about an hour before the Sabbath began, in order to meet with the Jewish members who were present and spend a little bit of time learning about the structure and content of the Kabbalat Shabbat (Receiving the Sabbath) prayers. They were also given copies of the entire Kabbalat Shabbat prayer and much of the Maariv (evening) prayer in both English and Arabic. While we were studying the text of the prayers and customs/actions related to the prayers together, Drs. Yehuda Stolov and Taleb al-Hariti, the Muslim co-chair of the group, were interviewed by reporters from an Italian TV station. We then joined the synagogue members for a lovely, melodical and very peaceful Kabbalat Shabbat service.  

The impact this visit had on all of us truly cannot be overstated; indeed it may have been the first time that Palestinian Muslims were welcomed into an Orthodox synagogue. We sincerely hope to be able to arrange more such visits to each other’s houses of worship in the very near future, in order to continue to break down walls of misunderstanding and build trust, friendship and respect.

Links:

Dec 23, 2010

Joint celebration: International Day of the Child

Some 300 students took part in this joint day of the two schools.

First they went through workshops in the classes about the rights of the child and his/her duties.

 

Then they took part in a special procession in the streets of Majd el-Krum, accompanies by Hebrew and Arabic music as well as by a clown who organized activities for them. 

Finally they came back to the A-Sallam School, had a light meal and continues with different activities: painting on their faces, folk dances and singing in the two languages.

Links:

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