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Apr 9, 2019

Religious Leaders meet Pac Yahya and join Kululam

People were invited for 22:30, but started arriving at the Tower of David around 22:00. Interested journalists took advantage of that for interviews. When I was asked about the connection between the mass singing of the Kululam event and the encounter of religious leaders I responded that when singing together every one of the many people who join intuitively understands that the alt and baritone voices are not in competition but complement each other in harmony. Our work with the religious leaders is to bring the same awareness for the coexistence of different people and communities in the Holy Land, to bring wide consciousness to this awareness and to leverage for the joining of many.


The whole evening was inspired by the visit of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, the General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama – the world’s largest Muslim organization with over 60 million followers, which teaches Islam of love and compassion.


At 23:00 we gathered in the designated room. We originally planned for an intimate encounter of around 20 religious leaders but found nearly 80 religious and social leaders in the room… Due to the limited time we had, we decided to organize people in two concentric circles, with Pac Yahya, his colleagues from Indonesia and some of the religious leaders in the inner circle. We were happy to include in the inner circle also Minister Zeev Elkin, Minister of Environmental Protection and of Jerusalem Affairs.


The conversation question was how religion and religious discourse can serve as a bridge to mutual understanding, compassion and peace. There were two lines of responses: one stressed the need to revisit some of the common interpretations of religious texts, hopefully finding valid interpretations that will be more inclusive. The other emphasized the role of interfaith encounter and joint study of religion in building bridges between communities.


At 01:00 we concluded the conversation and joined nearly 1,000 people for rehearsals for the joint mass singing of Bob Marley's song "One Love" with the Kululam team, ending two and a half hours later with most impressive singing.


Here are a few links from the event:

1. Two press pieces:


2. The Kululam mass singing event:


3. Making of the event (general):


Mar 25, 2019

12 encounters between Nov. 18 and Jan. 19

November 2018


This month we met three times, on 13.11, 20.11 and 27.11.


Participated Marwan, Rachel and Shani, and a new singer who joined us – Amal who sings beautifully! We look forward to the future.



December 2018


We met 4 times, on 5.12, 11.12, 18.12, 25.12.


Samir, a singer and drummer, became a regular participant during the month. In the end of the month two more members joined – a guitarist and a drummer. We continued working on the usual repertoire and also learned one new song.


We feel that our band is now ready to perform.



January 2019


We met 5 times, on 1.1, 8.1, 15.1, 22.1, 28.1.


Participated regularly Marwan, Rachel, Yuval, Amal, Yehonatan and Samir. Amal is a gifted singer who joined us lately.

We continued with the regular songs and learned a few new ones. Yehuda visited us and filmed one of the songs:


Feb 19, 2019

Bar Ilan U. group upgrades!

Bar Ilan University is often stereotyped as “The Religious University”, but what people don’t know is that the student body is, in fact, significantly diverse in its religious identification and affiliation. Students on Bar Ilan Campus are very aware of the diversity on their campus, but little opportunity presents itself for any sort of significant interaction beyond the classroom setting. This, however, is no longer the case.


In March of 2018, two students in the Bar Ilan University BA Program, Ms. Sariba Feinstein and Ms. Fatima Amer, launched a monthly dialogue between students of all faiths on Bar Ilan Campus with the vision of changing perceptions, building bridges and creating friendships. Structure of the dialogue followed Gordon W. Allport’s Contact Hypothesis: Equal status between members, ongoing/intimate contact, cooperative goals, institutional support, and finding commonalities with the other. The dialogue was developed according to the model of the Interfaith Encounter Association, encouraging discussion related to religious beliefs, traditions and observances, where it has determined the most common ground can be found. The IEA @ Bar Ilan University was approved as the official chapter on Bar Ilan Campus, and maintained a steady attendance and increased level interest among its participants throughout the remainder of the year.


The IEA @ Bar Ilan University returned in October of 2018, this time as a credited academic course under the auspices of Dr. Ben Mollov of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences and the Graduate Program in Conflict Management at Bar-Ilan University, and with the assistance of Ms. Sariba Feinstein and Ms. Fatima Amer, the dialogue's original founders. Class registration surpassed the initial 20 student limit and was extended to accommodate an additional 10 students. There remains a waiting list of students who applied to the course, but in order to maintain an environment of intimacy, were unable to be accepted for the current academic year.


During their first encounter, students introduced themselves, clarified the meaning of their names in their respective languages, identified their religious faith/affiliation, and shared a part of their culture/religion/ancestry of significance to them.


The course, titled “Jewish-Arab Religious Dialogue” will maintain weekly attendance and feature intensive discussion between members, guest speakers, field trips to various religious sites, and holiday celebrations throughout the year.  

Among the thirty registered students, here is an incredible international representation including but not limited to students from China, Taiwan, Italy, France, the United States and Columbia. The religious affiliation of the dialogue’s members varies greatly, featuring those of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith, as well as students who identify as atheist, non-affiliated and with the philosophy of Confucius. Student feedback is overwhelmingly positive.


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