A film about Haifa where different groups successfully co-exist and celebrate their main religious holidays together. It is possible and there are some very interesting comments from the participants in this film. Well worth watching.
“Different communities living together in the same town in a country of conflicts, strive to find a form of coexistence that would respect the identity of each of them, allowing dialogue and peaceful coexistence. Haifa is a unique example of a form of coexistence that finds its utmost and highest symbolic expression in the Holiday of Holidays, a unique and extraordinary festival in which the most significant holidays of the three main religions of the local population — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — are celebrated at the same time.”
This is the Olam Qatan music programme on Microphones for Peace presented by Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf from Jerusalem. Ya’qub explains, “Olam Qatan means “microcosm” or “small world” and is the name of Jerusalem’s spiritual bookstore & East-West music store. Our Olam Qatan program features new Israeli music bridging secular and religious approaches to Judaism, Ashkenazic and Sephardic culture, and sometimes also bridging the Jewish and Arab worlds. This episode gives a first taste of the new spiritual and East-West music of Israel: from Shlomo Bar, Bustan Avraham, Yair Dalal, E-W Ensemble, Sheva and Shotei HaNevua, to Yasmin Levy, Yonatan Razel, Eden MiQedem, Meir Banai and Diwan HaLev.”
A moving call from Rabbi Ron Kronish. The grass-roots peacemakers of Israel and Palestine can make a difference!
Dr. Ron Kronish
At the end of April, I wrote a post on this blog, which was entitled “Stop the Hate Crimes Epidemic in Israel Now.” It was translated into Hebrew and also published on the Walla website.
At that time, I felt, along with many other people that the acts of extreme “religious” Jewish youth –which have been sanctioned for years by their rabbis and by many political “leaders” in Israeli society— had already reached epidemic proportions and were endangering the moral fabric of Israel society.
At that time I wrote:
“The hate crime epidemic in Israel must be brought under. This has got to stop. It is urgent and can no longer be swept under the carpet!”
And, what has been done since then to combat this phenomenon? Nothing! Just lip service, but hardly anyone has been arrested or…
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I wrote my book in a spirit of harmony and brotherhood. I treated it as a place, where I attempt to bridge between Islam and Judaism, and as a tool to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of these two Abrahamic traditions. The book is a sincere effort to go back to our sacred texts and reinterpret their teachings so that an open space is created to embrace religious pluralism and respect of other people’s truths. I chose to concentrate only on Islam and Judaism, sister religions that I believe are closely related to one another with roots intertwined in the land, in the language, and in the memories of shared history. The book demonstrates how, of all religions, they are by far the closest to each other in their fundamental religious tenets, practices and systems of law, and their social, cultural and ethical traditions.
In this very interesting lecture by Rabbi Professor Reuven Firestone he speaks about relations between Jews and Muslims, Hebrews and Arabs, going right back to ancient times. The lecture is conceived as an introduction to Islam for Jews, about which Professor Firestone has also written a book. The parts of the lecture that I found most fascinating are on the symbiotic relationship between ancient Arabs and Jews, and the similarities between Islam and Judaism. Professor Firestone has also written an introduction to Judaism for Muslims.
Just Vision is an organization based in Washington, US and Jerusalem. Their mission is to:
“Generate awareness and support for Palestinians and Israelis who pursue freedom, dignity, security and peace using nonviolent means”.
This includes publishing interviews with peace-makers and making prize-winning documentary films on non-violent protest in Israel and Palestine. Their website is an excellent resource for information and I am finding it very useful as an aid in my research. The interview with Eliyahu, done in 2010, is very interesting in the examples he gives of how best to build bridges and his own journey to becoming a peace-maker. The article has extensive footnotes and speaks as much of the very real difficulties of this kind of work as it does of its successes. Here is a short taster and below is the link to read the full interview on the website.
I was asking, what is the spiritual underpinning, what does Judaism have to say? I started opening up to ideas about Hashem and truth and God. When the Gulf War was over, I went to Egypt. I studied Islam, and spent a lot of time in a mosque. I was searching for truth. I was invited to a traditional Sufi gathering, with Egyptian Muslim Sufis dressing in white robes, chanting and swaying. It was a very, very profound experience for me. I spent a long time there and I was really drawn to Islam, it was a beautiful path. But there was a voice in my head calling me back to Israel.
This time I ended up working as a goat herder in the Galilee for a religious Jewish mountain man. I spent a lot of time in meditation out in the fields of the lower Galilee, and felt like I could connect with the tradition. That’s when I started wrapping t’fillin and started growing my peyot, I always tuck them back. That was in 1994. I also spent a lot of time with Shlomo Carlebach, before he passed away. He was a big influence. I would watch how he interacted with people and helped them return to their roots, and how he respected anyone of any religion who came to him. He always said you have to have “holy chutzpah.”
Peacemaker and musician Gabriel Halevy has created a new album which he describes as, “From the Heart to Prayer. From Rumi to Pele. From Argentinian folk songs as gifts of joy & peace to the Middle East in Persian, Hebrew, Spanish & Arabic( Lubna Salame). Original songs with Israeli vocalist( Mosh Ben Ari) and guest vocalists from Turkey, India, Jordan & New york. From African ngoni to accordion, oud & sarod, charango & viola, brass, turkish clarinet, bansouri & bombo leguero…tablas & pan flutes, violin, lira and guitar.” He needs help to release it so please go over to Headstart to see how you can help.