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
Nov 6, 2011

Preparatory encounters for the new school year

Preparatory encounters

Four preparatory encounters took place in preparation for the new school year's cooperation:

1. On 15 August 2011 the leading teams of the two schools met. These included the two principals and vice-principals as well as the leading teams of educators from the two schools.
The encounter occurred in the beginning of Ramadan. The History and Islam Teacher Mr. Nader Taha explained the meaning of Ramadan, why do Muslims fast in it and the importance of charity and good deeds.
Then the teachers broke the fast together as they heard the call of the Muezzin.

2. On August 22nd, some 20 educators from the two schools came together in order to plan the joint activities during the coming year.

3&4: On October 13th separate encounters took place in the two schools, with the participation of some 60 students, guided by the schools' counselors.

The students shared what they liked and did not like about the encounters of last year and what they expect from the encounters in the coming year.

Links:

Nov 6, 2011

Launch of IEA's 39th group

The group in conversation
The group in conversation

Launch encounter of Interfaith Visits Encounter group – 28 October 2011

 

We met on Friday, October 28th, at 10am, ten Israelis in the Rahel Crossing. After a forty-minute delay we entered by foot into the city of Bethlehem. After the crossing we took taxis and went to the Nativity Church Plaza. There we met our Palestinian friends – most of them new to IEA activity.

 

We visited the city center, the Nativity Church and the market area. We experienced the atmosphere of Friday during the Jumaa prayer. Then we set in a nice café and talked about the sanctity of Shabbat in Judaism and of Friday in Islam. We shared knowledge about customs and traditions related to these special days and how they are implemented in our daily lives.

 

We celebrated the birthday of one of the new Israeli participants – Shoshana. We also celebrated the birth of the daughter of one of the new Palestinian participants – Abd-el-Majid.

 

The encounter was experiential and enriching both from the perspective of getting to know the city and from the perspective of our interfaith conversation.

Breaking bread together
Breaking bread together

Links:

Aug 22, 2011

"Who Can't We Marry?" - 33rd retreat

Muslim presentation
Muslim presentation

The 33rd Israeli-Palestinian retreat of interfaith encounter was jointly held between 21-22 July 2011 at the beautiful Austrian Hospice in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, by the Interfaith Encounter Association and the Palestinian Peace Club from Yata (south of Hebron). The theme was: "Who Can't We Marry?" and it brought together people from Yata, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramalla and Jericho in the Palestinian Authority, and from Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv and Arad in Israel.

 

After a brief welcome and introduction by the directors of the two organizations, Mr. Raed Abu-Eid of PPC and Dr. Yehuda Stolov of IEA, and a round of getting acquainted, we went straight to the theme of the retreat: "Who Can't We Marry?"

 

The Jewish perspective was presented by Rabbi Bob Carroll. The conversation this time was weaved into the presentation, with people asking and commenting.

Some of the points touched were:

  • ·        Marriage with member of another religion is forbidden but no problem to marry someone who converted to Judaism from any religion (except for a Cohen, who is also forbidden to marry a divorced woman);
  • ·        A "Mamzer": a child born as a result of adultery is forbidden to marry at all, in theory. In practice – every effort is made to not declare anyone as a Mamzer;
  • ·        It is forbidden to marry any of the close relatives but allowed to marry a first cousin.
  • ·        A woman whose husband disappeared or refuses to give her the divorce certificate, the Get, is an Agunah and is bound by her marriage and can not re-marry. There are mechanisms in the Jewish law to deal with these situations but they are under-used. A man is such a situation has it easier since he has the option to use the complicated procedure of getting the 100-rebbis-permit to marry a second wife (usually used when the wife is insane so can not consciously receive the Get).
    This is easier in Islam as the religious court has the authority to make the divorce.
  • ·        It is forbidden to re-marry your ex-wife if she was married to someone else after you divorced her.
    In Islam it is the opposite: you can only re-marry your ex-wife if she was married to someone else in between.

 

The Muslim perspective was similarly studied.  Mr. Raed Abu-Eid presented the Muslim relevant laws and comments and questions by all participants were part of it. Points that were discussed included:

  • The list of women forbidden to marry is very similar to the Jewish list. It includes: married woman, mother (including all lineage: grandmother etc.), daughter (including all lineage: granddaughter etc.), sister (including half-sister) etc etc.
  • Also: if a boy and a girl were nursed by the same woman – they can not marry each other. On two conditions: that each was nursed for at least five times and that it was in the first two years of their lives.
  • A Muslim man can marry a Jewish or Christian woman (only - from among the "people of the book") and the children will then be Muslim. A Muslim woman can not marry a non-Muslim man, unless he converts to Islam.
  • The women forbidden due to their family relation to the wife (her sister, maternal aunt etc), are allowed if she dies or divorces.

 

Then came the time to go deeper and more personal. Michelle Friedman introduced the following question to the group: since most of us are married – let's create a list of the things that sustain our marriages. Here are some of the points that were mentioned:

  • Mutual respect (including respect for the family, friends and all life components of the other);
  • Willingness to come towards each other and to work on the relationships;
  •  To want the best for each other;
  • Mutual trust;
  • The understanding that there are no ideal marriage;
  • Facing problems and dealing with them (not hiding or avoiding them);
  • Allowing private spaces for each other;
  • Dialogue: talking with each other and being able to listen to each other. While doing so: making sure we understand well what the other really said.
  • Nice words.

 

One of the participants shared a Muslim story: Prophet Mohammad gave a coin to each of his wives and asked her not to tell anyone. Then he declared to all his wives that he loves most the one who has the coin…

 

Finally we held a concluding circle in which everyone shared their reflections of the retreat. After having coffee or soft drinks in the lovely garden of the Austrian Hospice, we fare welled, already looking forward to the next retreat.

In conversation
In conversation

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