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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.
“A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of each sides’ legitimate needs drive the debate, and he points to new ways of thinking that can lead to a solution.
This is a very interesting article in Haaretz newspaper reporting on guided visits to Yad Vashem of mixed Israeli and Palestinian groups. The purpose is to inform and to encourage compassion and discussion. As one Jewish visitor says, “And building understanding and compassion is exactly what the Tiyul-Rihla trip to Yad Vashem is about. “The idea behind the initiative is to expose each side to the other side’s narrative, and to have a very deep conversation about it,” explains Israeli journalist and activist Nir Boms, one of the idea’s originators.”
“The music of Yinon Muallem, who is now the cultural attache in Israel’s Istanbul consulate, embodies all that can be good about Israeli-Turkish relations.”
So begins the article by Benny Ziffer in Haaretz. Yinon Muallem, whose latest CD is titled ‘Nefes’ (breath), is well-known and greatly admired for his music in Turkey. Muallem is the son of the musicologist, David Muallem, who wrote a book on Arab scales and modes. Music provides a very effective medium for multi-ethnic, multi-faith collaboration that can transcend borders and illustrate commonalities. (more…)
“The Arabic website project is a synergy of Gabbai’s personal mission and AJC’s pioneering inter-religious work, addressing one of the greatest interfaith challenges of the 21st century – Jewish-Muslim relations. Asl al-Yahud is purposely apolitical. It does not take on the contentious, divisive political issues that dominate discourse about the region, nor does it offer specific guidance on advancing Muslim-Jewish relations. But recalling the historical interactions of Jews and Muslims over the centuries is a key to deepening understanding of Judaism among Arabs across the Middle East.”
Ephraim Gabbai is a New York Rabbi and is passionate about the conversations he has with Muslims about Judaism via the website he created for that purpose. (more…)
I’ve just come across this encouraging article on the Huffington Post. Written by Harvey Stein, “Fields of Heaven: A Joint Israeli-Palestinian Farm May Take Root in West Bank” tells of a joint venture for peace pursued by a Palestinian and two settlers on the West Bank who are planning on starting a farm together. (more…)