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Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders

by Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders
Training 80 Youth Encounter Leaders

After a long break, the group resumed its activity with new Jewish participants. At the set time, Yaki came with Yakov to the encounter place, finding Jihad, Ahmed and Ismail already waiting. By the time Yehuda came we were already immersed in acquaintance conversation – in Arabic.


We talked about the encounters and agreed to aim for an encounter every 1-1.5 month, with a theme selected before. In the long-run we will include also women and children but for the time we start with men and on Fridays.


An interesting point that came during the conversation was the disagreement in the Muslim world about the date of the Holiday. I shared about a similar disagreement in Judaism when Raban Gamliel ordered Rabbi Yehoshua to visit him with his stick and bag on the date that according to his calculation is the Day of Atonement. With heavy heart Rabbi Yehoshua accepted, in order for the authority of the religious ruling to remain accepted by all.


A small step with big hope.


15.1.19 Encounter 2 -Yeshivat Ma'ale Galba’s students- Nablus:

The encounter didn’t start as expected because the taxi that was supposed to pick up the Palestinians was late. At the beginning we went through the names (some names have changed from the Israeli group) then we decided that there isn’t much time to do the discussion as planned regarding the subject of The Oral law and Traditions, so we decided to do a brief introduction of the subject from a Jewish perspective and shed some light on the complexities within this topic, and to ask the Palestinians if they have similar teachings. The Palestinians talked about the subject and most of the time we asked them questions about Islam in general, and about their social circle in particular. We received some interesting answers (most of the conversations were in English, parts of them were translated by Oday from Hebrew to Arabic and vice versa).


They also asked us questions about our basic religious duties at the end of the discussions. Someone answered that there are big arguments among the Jewish people revolving around the question: What are the most important religious duties. However, we explained to them the idea of the Ten Commandments and we found out that there are big similarities between the two religions when it comes to prohibitions and permissible in the Ten Commandments.


We finished the day with a lot to reflect on for next encounters where we will discuss the subject of the “design” of the Torah\ Islam, as we planned.


Gilboa- 29.3.19

We had the encounter in Gilboa, it was a very intense encounter and the guys were very active.

We were 15 Palestinians and 6 Israelis.

I translated for both of them. We discussed many issues about religions and cultures, humanity and peace coexistence.  


About 15 Israelis from all over Israel and one Vietnamese Zen teacher gathered to come and hear from the people living on the other side of the fence, in the occupied territories.

We met two young men who lived in a small, quiet village in the heart of the mountains and heard about their lives, how much they loved life, cared about the earth and about humanity. Despite difficulties in their lives, their hearts are not bitter and full of hatred. They just want to continue living well. In another village, we had lunch and heard the life story of an older man. He experienced in his life few demolitions. As a child he suffered greatly from repeated uprooting and episodes of violence in all its forms. The hardships he described led many of us to tears and feelings of suffocation.

We then went to another village in the heart of the mountains and sat in a welcoming home. Two young family members opened their hearts to us and to life. They spoke of their desire to live in peace with their neighbors and to get know them.

These experiences shook up some of our group, but there was also something balanced about the possibility of containing both sides of the equation without deciding which side was right.

In the evening, one of the young men called me and told me how excited he was that members of our group listened to him. That was very meaningful to him.

They all received flower plants gift, and after a week, I visited the flower and the people who blossomed in their hearts.

A few days later, a friend who joined me, summed up his experience with these words:

"Yesterday I submitted myself to the kind leadership and hosting of a friend, and had a wonderful day in many ways. Two moments out of thousands: 1:30pm - making funny faces with 3 children in a tiny village and then discussing comic books with their older brother.1pm - playing domino with 5 children in a tiny village and then playing hand games with their little sister. All children were huge and gorgeous souls with beautiful windows of eyes. Some are defined by some adults as Palestinians, some as Jews, some as settlers, some as Muslims, some as Israelis, some as illegal, some as traitors...But I saw neighbors, huge and gorgeous souls with beautiful windows of eyes, souls and eyes so powerful I had to look away after a few seconds. Thank you my friend, thank you kids."




In our July encounter we spoke about the 9th of Av (according to the Hebrew calendar), the saddest day of the year for Jews. According to the tradition, both the first and second Temples were destroyed on this day. In addition, many other tragedies happened to the Jewish nation around this day.


The 9th of Av is a fasting day and there are rules that help us feel in mourning. It is not allowed to sit on a chair (people sit on the floor), to greet each other, to wear leather shoes, and even to study Torah because it makes one happy. There is a custom to read "Kinot" (sad poems, describing difficult times in Jewish history) in the morning of the 9th of Av. Some people read sad books or watch sad films, like films about the Shoa.


It is very important to do things that make us feel that we lack something – as individuals and as a society. Our goal is to feel the absence so that we wish to build a better society during the rest of the year. Therefore it is very important to imagine a better future and hope and expect that it is possible to repair. If we pass the fast without hope, we didn't do what is required from us.

It is said that the Messiah will be born on the 9th of Av, so within the sorrow there are seeds of hope.


After the explanation on the 9th of Av, rose the question of the Temple's location. This led to an interesting conversation about the future and how can we live together in peace if we quarrel over the same place. We also spoke about a wider question – should we discuss political issues in our encounters. People had different views.

We also spoke about those who are "observant" in our communities and what does that entail regarding going up to the Temple Mount and fasting.

In our group we have people who observe the rules of religion and people who don't.


The group continues to grow and we had 20 people. We had new members, including an 8-year old boy from Male Adumim who connected with a 22-year old guy from Azariya.





We had a very interesting encounter - each person spoke for about 5 minutes on the meaning of their name. We took name tags and wrote our names in Hebrew and Arabic. We also welcomed a new Jewish member, Arlene. 


12 January 2018

 15 participants

Our encounter included people of Israeli, Palestinian, and other international backgrounds and took place in Kibbutz Revadim. Activities consisted of the following: a shared breakfast and lunch, a visit to the sea, a sharing circle about the significance of our encounter within the borders of Israel, a lecture on the importance of Arabic language and the study of the language in Israel, a dance party entirely in Arabic, and shared cooking of a communal dinner.


 19 January 2018

 60 participants

The encounter included many active participants in our activities as well as other members who came to learn languages - Arabic, English, and Hebrew. For two days we worked in small groups and learned each other’s languages. We did this through community gardening, cooking, and studying songs. We also had a delicious meal together and we sat together around the fire.


8 February 2018

 12 participants

The encounter was intimate and feminine. This time we decided to meet in a circle of women in where each of us spoke and shared what it meant to work together. Looking back, is there anything in recent years she is proud of, either done alone or done together? What is she thankful for? What will she take with her from here on and what does she want to leave behind?


23 February 2018

 40 participants

This encounter, and the last one at the center of Ecome, came from our original group, and many other people who were active in the center long before us. The encounter took two days and consisted of various elements of togetherness, farewell and giving thanks for the time we worked in Ecome. We took a short walk in the desert, did sharing circles and exercises in pairs in the spirit of the Non-Violent Communication, held a mourning ceremony that included farewells and new beginnings, and of course had shared meals, singing, and prayer.


 21 March 2018

 4 participants

After closing the Ecome Center, creating the opportunity to meet is much more difficult because we must coordinate times with everyone and find a suitable place. The encounter is meant to understand who we are now, what our role is, stay updated on everyone’s situation, and to understand whether we can continue together in a different way. Everyone updated each other on his personal situation and his vision of continuing the joint work.


23 March 2018

 20 participants

The encounter, which was on the shores of the Dead Sea this time, included a birthday celebration for two members of the group, the construction of a camp, the preparation of a shared meal in the morning and evening, and a walk to the beach. The encounter was short but important to maintaining the connection between us.



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Organization Information

Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)

Location: Jerusalem, Israel - Israel
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @interfaithea@
Project Leader:
Dr. Yehuda Stolov
Executive Director
Jerusalem, Israel
$8,498 raised of $12,750 goal
136 donations
$4,252 to go
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