It’s easy to watch the news at a time like and feel powerless. But despite this latest flareup of hostility in the Holy Land, and with the help of the Interfaith Encounter Association, we are coming together – now more than ever – to build bridges, overcome prejudice by replacing it with face-to-face knowledge, and thus ensure a better future for ourselves and our children.
There’s an old proverb that says “If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.”
Those words really speak to us, because that’s exactly what we have been doing since 2001, as members of the IEA. We’re in this for the long haul. And our efforts are bearing fruit, recruiting more activists to the cause of peace than any other organization in the Holy Land – thus far, over 8500 participants have met the Other in a deep and life-changing way in the IEA’s 73 encounter groups.
Making enemies into friends isn’t easy. It means taking risks, making oneself vulnerable, and reaching out to those who other groups give up on, or don’t even try to involve. But by cultivating an approach which is truly different, which utilizes the power of religion as a force for peace and compassion instead of conflict, we are building a mass-movement of people who refuse to be enemies.
How YOU can make a difference:
- Help spread the word by forwarding this message to others
- Become involved. If you’d like to contribute your time and skills to the organization and attend encounters, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please make a financial contribution. We need your help to keep going! Your donation of:
$30 – covers printing and communications costs for one encounter session
$60 – buys food for one encounter session
$100 – pays for transportation for Palestinian youth to come to Israel for an encounter session
$250 – allows us to retain trained coordinators of one encounter session
$500 – covers all the costs for one Palestinian and Israeli Youth Encounter
$1,000 – pays for one conference
$5,000 – can sustain one ongoing dialogue group for one year.
Please contribute now online at https://interfaithencounter.wordpress.com/donate/. As always, all contributions of any size are very warmly appreciated!
All contributions are fully tax-deductible in Israel (article 46) and the US (501(c)3). See https://interfaithencounter.wordpress.com/donate for how to make tax-deductible contributions if you are a UK or Swiss citizen.
In the US, contributions by check may be mailed directly to: Friends of IEA, 832 Lathrop Ave., Forest Park, IL, 60130-2039
Lastly, we’d like to ask you to take just one minute to watch this brief video clip of one of our encounters, between Jews from Karmiel and Muslims from Majd el-Krum:
(If you’d like, you can see the entire video, as well as other videos, at https://interfaithencounter.wordpress.com/mediapress/video/).
We wanted you to see this footage because it really isn’t just a story about us; we can’t make these inspiring, boundary-crossing encounters happen alone. We need YOUR help and involvement. Anything you can contribute will make a real difference on the ground. The teacher from Majd el-Krum, the doctor from Jerusalem, the student from Hebron, and the engineer from Beit Jala are all counting on us as they take a stand within their respective societies for peace. Today we’re all inviting you to join with them, and with us, by supporting our work.
We are truly grateful for your help!
Rabbi Yakov Nagen, Group of Rabbis and Sheikhs
Olfat Ghaben, Group of young Jerusalem women
– In the name of IEA participants
PS: We are also very happy to announce that we are in the final stages of confirming dates for a number of events to take place in the US in 2016. Stay tuned for more info!