March’s Praying Together in Jerusalem

On Thursday, March 22, about 35 people gathered together for the monthly Praying Together in Jerusalem event. The event, usually held on the last Thursday of every month, took place one week earlier because the normal date was during Holy Week and the day before Passover began. April’s meeting will be on the usual day, Thursday, April 26th. At this meeting, Raanan Mallek will be ordained as a Rodef Shalom (רודף שלום), a “Pursuer of Peace.”

Christian evening prayers

Jewish evening prayers

 


February’s Praying Together in Jerusalem

On Thursday, February 22nd, about 40 people came together for the monthly Praying Together in Jerusalem event. Earlier in the day, Palestinian Coordinator Mohamad Jamous organized a trip in the Old City of Jerusalem with about 20 Palestinians. They joined Praying Together in Jerusalem at the end of their day. The gathering was translated into Arabic so that everyone could participate fully.

This month, the group was also joined by the director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein. The Elijah Interfaith Institute is one of the co-founding organizations of Praying Together in Jerusalem.

Before the evening prayers, Peta Jones Pellach taught everyone about the “Week of Constructive Conflict,” which celebrates the 9th of Adar on the Jewish calendar. This day remembers when a disagreement 2000 years ago became destructive, and reminds Jews of what can happen when they do not focus on constructive conflict. The goal of the Week of Constructive Conflict is to promote constructive, rather than destructive, conversations about differences. You can learn more about the project here.

Then Jews, Christians, and Muslims got into groups for evening prayers. The Jews prayed towards the heart of Jerusalem, the Christians formed a prayer circle, and the Muslims faced Mecca. Everyone prayed according to their traditions, the different voices and languages blending together in harmony.

After prayers, everyone joined together as one group again. The gathering was on the day of Moses’ passing, according to Jewish tradition. Rabbi Alon led everyone in song using the Hebrew words “Moshe Rabeinu,” or “Moses, our teacher.”

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Journey to the South – Daniel Aqleh

By Daniel Aqleh
Palestinian Coordinator in Bethlehem

It is always wonderful to know more about the land of Palestine, and it is important to integrate with the multi-religious and Palestinian-Israeli gatherings that open the doors for the building of bridges between the people who are living in the land.

Hura City

With the Abrahamic Reunion, we have hosted a journey to the southern Palestine/Israel, where we first visited the city of Hura.  We were welcomed there by the Imam and learned about the city that was important to all. One of the things we learned was that in 1948 the population of the city was 120,000 people, but because of Al-Nakbah only 12,000 people remained in the city while the others left and became refugees.  According to the Imam, those 12,000 have become 300,000, due to the birth rate.

I thought we were in the south when we visited Hura, but I was astonished that we were in the middle of the country, 250km north is Ras Al Naqoura, Lebanon, and 250km south is the city of Eilat.

The Abrahamic Reunion team hosted by Hura’s Imam

After a wonderful visit, we went to Netivot where we visited the Tomb of the Baba Sali, and had lunch where we met some students who are studying Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University.  It was a great time to meet internationals as well as locals from different cities in the country.

After a good time in Netivot, we visited the Gaza-Israel border wall at Netiv Ha’asara, where we were welcomed by a lady by the name of Roni. She explained how close we were to Gaza. In fact, we could see the wall that separates them from Gaza, it was 500 meters away from us, and also 500 meters from the other side starts the camps on the edge of Gaza City. We were 2.5km away from Gaza City, and because of the siege that the people in Gaza have faced for a long time, we held a prayer for protection and for God to come with his mercy and justice to the land.

Daniel Aqleh and Roni Keidar, a peace activist, at the Gaza border

The last stop was in Kfar Maimon where we had a tour of “Ora’s Orchard” an eco-farm. I was so surprised by the wonder of nature. We walked in a forest and I felt the peacefulness of nature and heard the sounds of birds. It was really wonderful to be away from all people and conflict at that moment and hear from the owner there about their story and ending the journey with a prayer for peace.

At the Eco-farm in Kfar Maimon

Thanks for everyone who has helped in any way, shape, or form to make this a successful journey and the ability to work together as Palestinians and Israelis with the multi-faith dialog and prayer for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.

TuBishvat ceremony and prayer for peace at Ora’s Garden

Rev. Daniel Aqleh is the Abrahamic Reunion’s Palestinian Coordinator in Bethlehem. He leads worship and preaches at the Salt and Light Agape Ministries (SALAM), an independent church providing humanitarian support to the community. SALAM runs the House of Peace guest house in Bethlehem.


January’s Praying Together in Jerusalem

About 40 people came together for January’s Praying Together in Jerusalem event on Thursday, January 25th. The group met at Jaffa Gate, then moved indoors to pray. People had the opportunity to get to know each other as a whole group, before praying according to their traditions. The event ended with a united prayer for peace.

Gathering at Jaffa Gate

People getting to know each other

The Christian prayer circle

The Jewish prayer group

The group comes together to pray for peace in Jerusalem and the world