| Jul 29, 2021
IEA at Bar Ilan University- 2021 (6 encounters)
By Dr. Yehdua Stolov | Executive Director
10/03/2021- In the first encounter, Dr. Yehuda Stolov (IEA’s Executive Director) presented the work of the IEA, and students got to know each other.
17/03/2021- The second encounter included a presentation on interfaith storytelling by IEA’s Community Director Carolina Frimer. In addition, Eric, one of the students, gave a presentation on the upcoming Pesach Holiday emphasizing narrative, significance and the ritual of the Seder.
7/4/21- Began with informal sharing by Jewish students of their Seder experiences in particular and Pesach experiences in general. Zahra, one of the students, gave an overview of the Moslem holidays in general and the upcoming Month of Ramadan in particular; Nikola gave a short overview of the Christian holidays; and Jacob gave an overview of the holidays of the Jewish calendar. Finally, given that Yom Hashoa Vehagvura was beginning that very evening, one of the students, Avigail, gave a detailed and moving presentation on the experiences of her grandfather who survived by great tenacity the concentration camps in Poland. Course lecturer Dr. Ben Mollov pointed to the Jewish and universal aspects of the Holocaust and emphasized the dehumanization which the Nazis carried out making the Holocaust possible and the strength of the human spirit which made heroic resistance of all kinds possible. It was also interesting to note that the Arab students mentioned that they studied about the Holocaust in their Arab schools including meetings with Holocaust survivors.
21/4/2021- Student Aaron gave an overview and presentation on Halacha and the Kosher Dietary laws. Much of the session was devoted to the themes of "can religion be combined with enlightenment " and "Do we carry out our religious commitments out of obligation or voluntary joy". The discussion was triggered by a short video by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and a very thoughtful exchange between the students ensued.
28/4/21- The session was devoted to an Arab-Jewish Ramadan Dinner. The Jewish students came early to set up the classroom and table, with great enthusiasm. Mr. Rifat Sweidan, of the Office of the Dean Students made a Shwarma dinner possible. The atmosphere, fellowship and content was excellent. Ms. Fatma Amer presented a personal joyous view of Ramadan and the Iftar experience including the pre-Iftar dinner prayers which are recited. Sada and Fatma offered an overview of the Sharia and the Hallal Dietary laws. A further discussion of comparisons between Sharia and Halacha ensued. The Jewish students said the Birchat Hamazon Grace at the end of the Meal.
5/5/21- The first part of the session was devoted to a Zoom appearance by two grassroots women religious leaders: Rabanit Surale Rosen a Jewish Educator and Advocate Reem Masarwa who is a political and human rights activist in Israeli Arab society. Both speakers spoke about their personal journeys in finding better understanding and common ground in their encounters with each other. (The encounter was arranged and sponsored by the Search for Common Ground Organization).
The second portion was devoted to presentations and a discussion on great religious personalities in the three religious traditions. Among the personalities presented and discussed were Miriam the sister of Moses (by student Nechama) and the successors of the Prophet Muhammad following his passing. The discussion was most thoughtful and was an example of how the course goals of "mutual respect, self-respect, and mutual enrichment” could be achieved.
*As a general comment I would also add that each session begins with a short Arabic and Hebrew lesson and student Omonia, a linguistics student has made a strong contribution to it.