Jewish-Muslim Relations Past and Present

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Sufism and Jewish-Muslim Relations

Many of you have expressed a wish to read my research. I’m very pleased to let you know that it has now been published by Routledge under the title, Sufism and Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Derekh Avraham Order in Israel. To order from Routledge click here or to order from Amazon click here. It has been a long journey to bring this project to fruition. However, it has been an enriching and spiritually rewarding journey in addition to pursuing the academic rigour this kind of work requires.Dome of Rock and Mount of Olives

 

In Israel there are Jews and Muslims who practice Sufism together. The Sufi activities that they take part in together create pathways of engagement between two faith traditions in a geographical area beset by conflict. Sufism and Jewish Muslim Relations investigates this practice of Sufism among Jews and Muslims in Israel and examines their potential to contribute to peace in the area. It is an original approach to the study of reconciliation, situating the activities of groups that are not explicitly acting for peace within the wider context of grass-roots peace initiatives. The author conducted in-depth interviews with those practicing Sufism in Israel, and these are both collected in an appendix and used throughout the work to analyse the approaches of individuals to Sufism and the challenges they face. It finds that participants understand encounters between Muslim and Jewish mystics in the medieval Middle East as a common heritage to Jews and Muslims practising Sufism together today, and it explores how those of different faiths see no dissonance in the adoption of Sufi practices to pursue a path of spiritual progression. The first examination of the Derekh Avraham Jewish-Sufi Order, this is a valuable resource for students and scholars of Sufi studies, as well as those interested in Jewish-Muslim relations.

Elana and Ibtisam: Women working for peace

Some time ago I posted a short video about Elana and Ibtisam who work together for peace in Israel and Palestine. They both spoke about the role of women in peace-building and how women’s voices need to be heard in the peace process. I posted the clip with the title Holding Hands: Daughters of Abraham as this is how they began their story of the work they do together. The clip is here

I’m now posting Part 2 and Part 3 in which they speak about how they met at an interfaith gathering and how they get to know each other and their families. Part 3 shows Ibtisam’s work in her village, creating a Women’s Council and working with the mayor to improve the conditions and education of women. The video was made a few years ago and I will try to get an update on how the recent events have impacted on the work of Elana and Ibtisam.

Part 2

Part 3

Microphones for Peace

olam qatanThis 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.”

Click here to listen

Expressing Condolences to the Bereaved

A moving call from Rabbi Ron Kronish. The grass-roots peacemakers of Israel and Palestine can make a difference!

ICCI Blog

Dr. Ron Kronish

first published on Times of Israel, July 7th 2014

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…

View original post 590 more words

Eliyahu Maclean: Rodef Shalom

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”.

eliyahu_mcleanThis 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.”  

Read the full article here

 

‘Human’ Music for Peace by Gabriel Halevy

Gabriel HalevyGabriel HalevyPeacemaker 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.

Sulha Prayer at the Tomb of Abraham

There is something very special about this video as a group of Jewish and Muslim peace-makers go to pray together in Hebron at Abraham’s tomb, also known as the Machpelah.

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