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
Mar 20, 2017

Model UN 20.11.16

Model UN, 20.11.16

On Sunday, November 20th, the IEA cohosted the first Model UN conference of the year under the Debate for Peace program, bringing together 80 Jewish and Muslim students from all over Israel for a full day of debate and negotiations. All of the students received certificates for participation, and the top participants won awards. 

A full description of the event is available here:

http://diplomacy.co.il/diplomatic-magazine/peace-process/3625-the-us-embassy-s-american-center-opened-the-first-conference-of-the-year-for-the-debate-for-peace-model-united-nations-program

Feedback from the students:

      For a freshman chair like me, I was lucky to cooperate with such an amazing committee and chairs. I have learned a lot and I'm highly excited to do so again. This conference was an important milestone for me, in the extraordinary journey of Model United Nations.

Omri, chair of the al-Shabaab committee

This was my first chairing experience and I could say that it was great. I enjoyed chairing a lot of amazing eloquent delegates…one of the best days of my life.

Sana, chair of the Afghanistan Committee

The conference was very fruitful and interesting, that is thanks to the delegates who came prepared. I would like to thank also the people who worked hard to make this work. It was a wonderful experience. Hopefully more people will have the chance to go through it

Jiries, chair of the Afghanistan Committee

One of the conferences that I enjoyed the most. It was fruitful, I got to know a lot of amazing people; it was simply perfect. 

Hala, chair of the Al-Shabaab committee

“Before I went to MUN, I didn't know what to expect, and I was scared. When I got there, I saw that everybody felt the same way, and that it was most people's first time too.  Everyone was very friendly and the chairs were helpful.”

Sean, Yachad Modi’in

"This was my first time in a Model UN, and I had a lot of fun, I think it gives a lot of experience for life, experience in debating, and making new friends”

Carmel, Ort Rabin Gan Yavne

"It took me a while to understand the skills that I got from my last MUN, like, of course I had a lot of fun, met new friends and learned a thing or two about the world. But one of the advantages came to me in a blast, I wasn't expecting it. I was sitting in the train station and a tourist sat next to me, we started a conversation and I could finally talk English in the same speed of a native speaker. I'm sure I will remember that Model MUN for a long, long time."

Shachar, 10th grade Ort Rabin Gan Yavne

Links:

Mar 16, 2017

Science - Circle of Light and Hope

Science: Sunday October 9, 2017

This was a very well-attended meeting with several new people that we held at Tantur in Jerusalem. We started by introducing each other and mentioning that Taleb and I are both avid fossil collectors (I am just an amateur but he is a professor of Paleontology.) So in fact it was our love of science that was one of the things that brought us together. I started off by mentioning the potential conflict between two sources of truth: revelation and and reason/science, and suggested that this is only a problem for those who believe that both are Divine – anyone who accepts only one as the final authority has no conflict. But the dominant trend in jewish thinking has been to affirm that if one understands both correctly then they cannot be opposed. Traditional Jews do believe that the text of the Torah is inerrant, but that doesn’t mean that it is trying to teach us science as such. Maurene mentioned the famous comment of Rashi that the text of Genesis doesn’t intend to teach us the exact order of creation; if it did, it would have used a different word. Ra’anan me ntioned the verse “A thousand years are as one day in Your sight” as proof that days in the creation narrative don’t need to be understood as 14-hour days; thus opening a possibility for belief in both the Bible and evolution.  Meesh mentioned that in her experience, yeshiva students are not taught about dinosaurs, which is rather sad, as it means that some teachers think that their belief in Torah contradicts the findings of modern science; Ra’anan pointed out that the Torah in many places speaks of taninim, a type of sea monster, which were created before human beings.

In Islam, there are tensions – similar to those in Judaism - between those believers who see science as a threat to true belief and those who view it as an alternate path to discover truth.  In fact Islam has a tremendous record of scientific discovery and of incorporating scientific knowledge; to a very great extent, it was Islamic scholarship which preserved a great deal of knowledge and promoted scientfiic inquiry during the middle ages when it was suppressed in Europe. Taleb cited a saying of the prophet Mohammed: “Anyone can say ‘I know’ until he says ‘I know everything.’  Once though someone says that, he is considered to be a fool and illiterate. In other words, we must be open, both in matters of faith and matters of science, to knowing that there may be a great deal that we don’t know.  Mohammed also says: “Everything you know is like a finger in the ocean” – it is a tiny percentage of the whole truth. We all agreed that we should approach both science and faith fearlessly but also with tremendous humility.

In short, this was one of our more cerebral meetings, but it was very fascinated and engendered much spirited discussion!

Links:

Feb 13, 2017

Bach Concert

The orchestra in action
The orchestra in action

On Wednesday, 28th of December 2016, the Interfaith Encounter Association joined several organizations in co-sponsoring a concert with the B minor Mass of Johann Sebastian Bach. The concert was performed by the International Choir for Peace, orchestra and soloists, by more than 130 musicians from eight different countries who sang this „opus magnum“ of J.S. Bach under the direction of Maarten van Leer.

 

The event follows a tradition of peace concerts with the B minor Mass, initiated in 1995 by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1916-2004), who fostered the coming together of different religious traditions during all of his life. He described Jerusalem as the „spiritual heart of the world“. Thus the idea was born to bring this project to Jerusalem during the centennial of his birthday.

 

Nearly 600 people filled the Auditorium. We began with lighting the Hanukkah candles, followed by intentions by four women of different faiths. After each part of the Mass a short prayer was introduced – from Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism. Finally, the local organizations share with the audience their activity and invited them to join. It was magnificent!!

the audience
the audience
Thanking IEA at the end
Thanking IEA at the end

Links:

 
   

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