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Doumia Sakinah Update

Friday 4 June 2004, by Dorit Shippin

All the versions of this article: [English] [italiano]

Maagal Halakah - an interfaith and inter-cultural study group

Since the beginning of January we have led an on-going group called: ”The circle of sharing and study”. The group consists of about 15 participants and meets twice a month in the Open House in Ramle. The activity is being facilitated by Samia Shirqawi and Daniella Kitain.

Conference: Religion, Social Identity and Education among Arabs and Jews in Israel

At the end of February, The Pluralistic Spiritual Center, in coordination with the primary school and the School for Peace, organized a two-day conference that addressed the challenges of religious identity, conflict and education in a multi-cultural society.

The conference was funded by The Arigatou Foundation in Japan, as part of their project Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC). The Arigatou Foundation has arranged conferences in various locations, such as Sri Lanka and Portugal. This was the first time that the Foundation supported a conference in the Middle East.

About 100 participants attended the conference, coming from different educational backgrounds and from both Jewish and Arab (Muslim & Christian) societies. Among the participants were students from the Hebrew Union College and representatives of the Youth Federation in Nablus.

Community Mediation and Consensus Building in NS/WAS

Since its establishment the PSC has tried to contribute to the community by creating opportunities for the members to meet in various frameworks. These meetings have aimed to strengthen the ties between us, improve communication and deepen interpersonal understanding.

Members of a small community such as ours must contend with a variety of criss-crossing relationships, as neighbours, colleagues, teachers, parents, members of committees, electors, etc. This is all the more complex in NSWAS, since our residents are also members of two national groups that are in conflict with each other.

At present we are working to promote a process of community mediation and consensus building. This process is intended to help us deal with the critical issue of expanding the community and the implications of this extend to social, ideological and financial aspects. The process will be facilitated by trained mediators from the Gevim Center of Mediation, who will teach us some practical methods for resolving conflicts and improving community decision-making. With the help of this process we hope to reach agreements on issues arising from the planned village expansion, which we would bring to the general assembly for approval.

Plans for the coming months

Reconciliation project

Starting in the 2004 - 2005 school year, we plan to renew the ”Circle of Reflection”. The year’s topic will be reconciliation.

In the PSC we regard the process of reconciliation as well suited to the effort to achieve the hoped for change in the relationship between Arabs and Jews in Israel and between Israelis and Palestinians in the region.

A small group of community members are responsible for developing the program, including Boaz Kitain, Abdessalam Najjar, Ilan Frish, Anne Le Meignen and Dorit Shippin.

After dealing with Jewish-Arab relations for so many years, we are keen to explore the potential for reconciliation and to find ways to implement it both in our own community and in our country as a whole.

Activities will include:
- Seminars and study days
- Workshops
- Visits and tours
- Special events
- Conferences (perhaps yearly)

We will focus on:
- Reconciliation and what it means to us;
- Whether reconciliation is possible in Israel - and under what conditions;
- Reconciliation in the religious traditions of this land, and the role of these traditions in the process of reconciliation;
- Learning from reconciliation processes elsewhere in the world.

To promote this learning process in the framework of the PSC in NSWAS, we will need both moral and financial support from those who appreciate the importance of reconciliation and can help us in our efforts.

Study group project

Starting in the 2004 - 2005 school year, we wish to enlarge participation in our study group project (see above) by creating new groups with similar aims.

The idea behind these encounters will be a learning process of both peoples and our three major religions, which encourages a deeper understanding of each one’s own culture and religion, and finding the elements that promote justice, nonviolence, tolerance and understanding.


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