Year in Review: 2017

2017 was an incredible year of growth for the Abrahamic Reunion and peace efforts in the Holy Land: 63 events were held around the world, with a total of 2,943 participants. Here is a more detailed breakdown of events by country:

Holy Land: 26 events with 1,539 participants

US:  19 events with 656 participants

UK:  11 events with 524 participants

Germany:  7 events with 224 participants

2017 Highlights

At “Children for Peace,” a workshop held by the Abrahamic Reunion in Gaza on the International Day of Peace

Three new chapters of the Abrahamic Reunion were created in East Jerusalem, Shefar’am, and Palestine. In 2018 another chapter will be established in the Negev. The Abrahamic Reunion continued to meet with both the Palestinian Authority and the Knesset, acting as a bridge for peace.

Jewish and Muslim women celebrate the eighth night of Hanukkah in the Negev together

In March, the Abrahamic Reunion was featured in three viral videos by Nuseir “Nas” Yassin, who makes daily one minute videos his Facebook page, “Nas Daily.” One video features Eliyahu McLean, the AR’s Holy Land Director. Another features Haj Ibrahim Abuelhawa. The third features some of the peacemakers meeting with the Palestinian Government Official Minister Madani (To see the AR’s report on this event, click here). These videos were also included in two compilation videos, which can be found here and here. Altogether, these videos have over 6 million views! (As of 2/1/18) Eliyahu was recently featured in another video in January 2018, which you can watch here.

Some of the peacemakers with Nas of “Nas Daily” in Ramallah after a meeting with the Palestinian Authority

The 14th annual Abrahamic Reunion multi-faith Ramadan Iftar meal took place on June 8th in Ilut, near Nazareth. With 220 people in attendance, it was one of the AR’s biggest interfaith iftars ever! The Christian Media Center made a 3 minute video on the event, which can be seen here.

The second meeting of the AR’s Palestine Chapter, attended by 150 people

2017 was the second year of the Abrahamic Reunion’s monthly Praying Together in Jerusalem event. On the last Thursday of every month, Jews, Christians, and Muslims gathered to pray side by side in the Old City. They would then join together in one united prayer for peace. In February, the Abrahamic Reunion put on a 170 person conference with the allies of Praying Together in Jerusalem for discussion, dialogue, dinner and prayer on the theme of “constructive conflict” – how to have conversations about our differences in ways that build connection and common understanding.

From November’s Praying Together in Jerusalem event

In November, representatives from the Abrahamic Reunion led a workshop at the 15th annual assembly of the United Religions Initiative’s Middle East & North Africa division (URI MENA). The assembly’s theme was “People Against Violence” and was held in Amman, Jordan. The Abrahamic Reunion is a registered Cooperation Circle with the URI.

Ibtisam Mahameed (left) and Siham Halaby (center) represented the Abrahamic Reunion at the assembly.

AR representative Rabbi Yakov Nagen and URI coordinator Elana Rozenman lead the Shabbat candle lighting ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2017 we also held a crowdfunding campaign for our biggest project ever: Healing the Heart of the Holy Land. Thanks to your support, we raised $60,226, about $9,000 more than our goal of $51,000! In April 2018, we move into the next phase of peacebuilding with the Healing the Heart of the Holy Land Tour and our biggest week of events all across the Holy Land that we’ve ever attempted including healing peace journeys through Palestine, Jerusalem, and the South, a young peacemakers’ training day, a women’s peace retreat, a families forum, and so much more.

2017 was a great year for the Abrahamic Reunion, and we’re grateful for all of the support and prayers we’ve received along the way. We couldn’t do it without you. We hope for your continued support as we move into the new year. Peacebuilding is needed in the Holy Land now more than ever, and together we can make 2018 the Abrahamic Reunion’s biggest year yet!

Shalom, Salaam, Peace,

The Abrahamic Reunion

At the 2017 interfaith iftar dinner


Video: 2018 New Years’ Prayer Circle with the Peacemakers

On December 31st, 2017, the Peacemakers joined together online with participants from around the world to pray for peace in the Holy Land and throughout the world in 2018.

 


الأمسية في سجن سبرينج هيل الإنتقالي – Sheikh Ghassan Manasra

الأمسية في سجن سبرينج هيل الإنتقالي في بريستول-بريطانيا

كان لقاء جميلا مع صديقتنا ايفان ديكسن في محطة القطار في مدينة بريستول البريطانية، كان صوت القطار والبرد في تلك البلدة الإنكليزية، يحول دون التفاتنا الى بعضنا في طريقنا الى بيتها، الذي لا يبعد كثيرا عن المحطة، ايفان هي قسيس في جماعة الكويكر وهي فرقة مسيحية، منتشرة في أوروبا وفي الولايات المتحدة.

جلسنا الى طاولت الطعام وقد بدأ الدفء ينتشر في أجسدنا، كنا بحاجة الى شراب ساخن وقليلا من طعام، كنا مجموعة متكاملة الراب مردخاي زيلر وآنا ليس وزينب مناصرة وأنا، وكان معنا مديرا جمعية اتحاد تراث ابراهيم  في بريطانيا، ميخائيل كينتون وأماندا كينتون، بالإضافة الى إيفان التي رتبت لنا اللقاء في سجن سبرينج هيل الإنتقالي، كانت جلسة جميلة هناك تحدثنا عما سيكون في السجن، وتخيلنا من سيكون في الأمسية أيضا؟

عندما وصلنا الى السجن كان المطر يتساقط، مشينا الى المدخل الى غرفة الإستقبال، وهناك أخذوا أسمائنا ونظروا في جوازات سفرنا، ثم جاء الشرطي المرافق لنا ليأخذنا الى القاعة التي سنتحدث فيها مع المساجين، وهناك علمت بأن هذا السجن هو سجن انتقالي، بمعنى أن المساجين هنا يبيتون في سجنهم فقط، لأنهم يعملون في اليوم خارج السجن وفي نهاية العمل أو النهار، يعودون اليه الى أن يتم اطلاق سراحهم منه.

في القاعة كان في استقبالنا بعض الشرطة، وعلى رأسهم بريندا ديفيز التي استقبلتنا أيضا في السجن الآخر في المرة الماضية، ثم بدأ السجناء بالوصول واحدا تلو الآخر الى أن امتلأت القاعة، ثم بدأنا اللقاء حوالى الساعة السادسة والنصف.

قدمتنا إيفان للجمهور وعرفت الجميع بمن نحن، ثم تقدمت آنا وعرضت البور بوينت عن عمل جمعية اتحاد تراث ابراهيم، وعما قمنا به ونقوم به حتى الآن وعن أهم القيم التي نقوم بها وعليها.

ومن ثم تحدثت انا القيم الدينية والإنسانية التي نقوم عليها، التي بنينا أنفسنا عليها ونشأنا بها، والتي نعمل بها اليوم ليس فقط في اسرائيل وفلسطين، أنما في جميع أنحاء العالم، تحدثت عن كيفية العمل في السلام ومع السلام، وعن كيفية العمل لمعرفة الآخر رغم الصعوبات، وعن احترام الآخر حتى ولو لم توافق على ما يقول أو يعتقد.

ثم تحدث الراب مردخاي بشكل بديع ورائع عن العمل في مجال السلام، لقد تحدث عن الطوفان ونتائجه وعن موسى وهارون، وكيف استطاعوا أن يوحدوا اليهود في فترة الصعوبات، وتحدث كذلك عن كيفية العمل مع بعضنا.

وفي النهاية بدأ الجمهور بالسؤال، كانت الأسئلة عميقة وحادة في بعض الأحيان، لكنهم كانوا خلوقين حتى في طرح الأسئلة، استطعنا أن نتجنب الكثير من المطبات والحفر، من بعض الأسئلة لأننا كنا سوية نبحث عن الطرق الى السلام والتعارف واللقاء والأخوة الصادقة، في النهاية تقدم الينا السجناء وبمودة تامة سألوا عن كيفية العمل معنا في المستقبل، وشكرونا على عملنا في هذا الحقل الرائع والمثمر، وعلى شجاعتنا في الإستمرار في هذا الطريق.

حقا كان لقاء رائعا ومثمرا ونتمنى أن نوصل للناس حقيقة عملنا، ونتمنى أن يكونوا جزءا منا.


AR Palestine Peace Journey: Jericho, Nabi Musa, and the Jordan River

Palestinian Coordinator Mohamad Jamous organized a day of connection and unity on December 22 in and near Jericho with 142 Palestinian participants. It was the last meeting of AR Palestine of 2017. Two buses full of people met at the shrine of the Prophet Moses at 9:30 am. After being introduced to the Abrahamic Reunion and its work, everyone went on a tour of the shrine, visiting the tomb, the mosque, and other rooms in the area. Because of restoration work being done, they were unable to visit the wells and stable areas.

After the tour, everyone went back to the shrine’s mosque for the noon prayer. Before leaving, a group picture was taken outside the shrine. Some people nearby noticed the group and asked Mohamad Jamous who they were and why there was Hebrew on the banner. He explained to them that “We are a peaceful religious organization and all our work is centered on peace between heavenly religions.” As for the Hebrew on the banner, he told them that “we have members and coordinators who work with us in Israel.” He explained to them that the Abrahamic Reunion unites Israelis and Palestinians of all the Abrahamic faiths.

Next, the group went to the Jordan River for a tour. While there, they learned about the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and were told about the many visitors from around the world who make a pilgrimage to the area. Most of the group had never visited this site before and were excited to visit such a historic and sacred place.

They had planned to have lunch there, but there were many visitors that day and not enough tables available. Members of the group suggested going to the Spanish garden in Jericho and eating there. Everyone was happy to find a solution where they could all eat together.

After lunch, Mohamad Jamous interviewed some participants, asking them what love, peace, and respect mean to them, and how religion can be a force for peace. All of the answers shared the same core message: we are all human beings and there should be respect, love, and peace among all religions in the world, and not only in Israel and Palestine. Muslim participants agreed that Islam taught them to love and respect others and live with other communities in love and peace, saying people need to talk with each other to achieve peace.

After lunch, the group visited Old Jericho and the spring of Ein Al-Sultan, where people talked with each other and took pictures and the children there played together. At sunset, the day ended with a prayer that we can all live together in peace.

Mohamad Jamous and the other Palestinian Coordinators are looking forward to more peace journeys and peace building activities throughout 2018 where people from many religions can experience each others’ sacred spaces, perspectives, and each other as a human being – Happy New Year!