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Doumia - Sakinah activity report 2007

Thursday 10 January 2008

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A brief summary of activities in the recent year

Holidays and Tradition

Once a week during the month of Ramadan, community members of all faiths put together a communal meal in the evening and dine together with those Muslims who break their fast. This year (like last year) we held these meals in the beautiful courtyard of the Spiritual Centre and we plan to continue to host this event in the coming years as well. Last year one of these meals coincided with breaking the fast of Yom Kippur, making the event even more special. Both last year and also this year Ramadan continued during the Jewish festival of Succoth.

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On Succoth we invited the children of the Nadi – the village youth club – to build a succah where one of these communal meals was also held. The report from this year’s Iftar in the Succah can be found here.

During much of the year, at the initiative of Shai and Dafna Schwartz we conducted weekly Kabbalat Shabbat ceremonies. The ceremony was held in the spirit of Jewish renewal, accompanied by music. At the first four meetings we invited Gavriel Meir to lead us in prayer and song. At each other meeting someone else gave a sermon or led discussion on a reading from the torah.

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More pictures.

Commemoration Days

For the United Nations International day of peace on September 21 2007 , we invited one of the directors of the film “Encounter Point” to present her film. A short report can be found here.

On February 4th we hosted an evening commemorating the tenth anniversary of Tom Kitain’s death. In this moving evening Daniela Kitain presented her book, or diary, “Dialogue with Foxes.” A number of her friends read excerpts from the book. A video clip showing a televised interview with Tom was shown.

On February 8 we gathered in memory of Bruno Hussar. Anne le Meignen invited the community for an evening discussion and slide presentation. Many village members showed up including a generation of youths who do not remember Bruno.

On December 20 the Spiritual Centre hosted an all-night vigil in commemoration of the 12th century Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi, with Sufi and Turkish music, organized by Tarekat Ibrahimi / Ruach Shalom.

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Social and Political Issues

On March 29th, the evening before Land Day, we held the first of several meetings to discuss the document prepared by Palestinian Israelis on the future vision of Palestinian society in Israel. The document deals with the same issues that concern us in NS/WAS. Professor Aziz Haidar delivered a fascinating lecture on the subject to many guests and people from the community. A report of the evening can be found here.

In June we hosted Dr. Fernando Valdes. Dr. Valdes is a political psychologist from Mexico who shared with us fascinating accounts of his work helping guerrilla fighters channel their struggle through the civilian sector. We thank Ariela Bairey for arranging the visit.

In July filmmaker Ido Har brought to the Spiritual Centre his documentary film “Nine Star Hotel.” Ido spent a winter with Palestinian construction workers who cross into Israel illegally spending days away from their families in order to find work building the Jewish city of Modi’in. Following their daily routine his film exposes some of the painful absurdities of the occupation as the Palestinians work for ridiculous wages during the day for the benefit of Israeli contractors and home owners alike and at night they stand on the look out against arrest by the border police. We thank Eitan Kremer for organizing the evening.

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The house of silence was repaired and decorated, thanks to funding from the Italian Friends of NSWAS

The Massa – Massar Youth Program

Last July, in cooperation with the Open House in Ramle and with the support of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), we conducted a six-day journey in the country for twenty-two Jewish and Arab youths – the latter including both Christians and Muslims. The group heard a wide variety of stories or narratives from different people about different parts of the country. The aim of the program was to give this Jewish–Arab group an opportunity to learn about each other through joint exploration of their common land and social reality. Travelling through the Galilee, Jerusalem and Jaffa they visited many places e.g. remains of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948, the holocaust museum in Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta’ot and the Arab village of Peki’iin just to name a few. There is more on this program here. We hope to be able to repeat this program with a new group next summer.

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Longterm programs

1. Interfaith study program “Dirasat”

This program, a series of seminars that invites Jews, Christians and Muslims to study their respective sacred texts together in an environment committed to political change and social transformation, began in November 2007. The first program will be conducted as a pilot with the intention to continue the program in future years. The program is developed together with Dr. Barbara Meyer and a multi-faith group of teachers. See a full report on the first two seminars.

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2. Training in mediation in a multicultural context

This program, currently being developed, will be conducted in cooperation with “Wi’am”- (an Arab Jewish association for consensus building). We are currently engaged in publicizing the course and recruiting participants.

3. “Learning the art of mindfulness”

This is a program intended for Arabic speakers on the subject of mindfulness, as taught by Vietnamese peace activist and meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.


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