Hands of Peace recently held a two-day seminar in Jerusalem that was attended by 42 alumni from six different years of Hands of Peace. This seminar included three powerful dialogue sessions, time to get to know participants from the different summer program sites, and a moving candlelight vigil to all victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. HOP’s adult group trip to the region took part in this beautiful vigil, which was led by our XLs.
This seminar also exposed and challenged our alumni to perspectives from diverse organizations. Our alumni asked thoughtful and respectful questions of presenters including Daniel Roth, who spoke about the role of conflict resolution in Jewish teachings; an Israeli and a Palestinian speaker from Parents Circle Families Forum, an adult dialogue program where each member has lost an immediate family member to the conflict; and Dr. Bashir Bashir, a scholar from Hebrew University who spoke about his research on different forms of peace activism and his evaluations of their effectiveness.
Our alumni continue to impress us with their increased compassion and eagerness to strive towards peace. Below are some reflections from participants in this seminar. We are continually grateful for your support of our courageous and insightful young peace-builders!
Quotes from Seminar Participants:
“At the seminars, I reunite with my second family. I feel honest, ready to listen, ready to be changed, and ready to change my society. The seminars give me hope and remind me why I struggle for equality and peace."
– Niv, 2013/2014 Jewish Israeli XL
“I learned that every time we meet, the level of the dialogue becomes more advanced and this indicates progress.”
– Mayar, 2012 Palestinian Citizen of Israel participant
“[Dr. Bashir Bashir] was very intellectual and knows what he’s talking about and his experiences. He knew how to talk in front of people and make his lecture interesting. I learned a lot of new things and new perspectives and ideas.”
– Hagar, 2013/2014 Jewish Israeli XL
“I learned how to be brave with your opinions.”
– Randa, 2014 Palestinian participant
“The candle lighting memorial was meaningful because while the conflict itself obviously has a big part in the seminar, we could take a few minutes and think about the people who died from the conflict. Not as Israelis or Palestinians, but as humans.”
– Shira, 2014 Jewish Israeli participant
“The seminars help me keep in touch with HOP and I always learn new things that I have never learned before. I’ve also been challenged in ways I don’t think I was when I was in Chicago.”
– Ramzy, 2013/2014 Palestinian XL
“We discussed new and interesting issues instead of going back in circles to the same point. I felt that we were actually one step ahead!”
– Marah, 2013/2014 Palestinian Citizen of Israel XL