TalkMatters supports and promotes the Abrahamic Reunion, one of our founding associates.

Here is the February 2022 newsletter from Abrahamic Reunion

Dear Friends around the World,   We’re happy to bring you some updates on our Peacebuilding Work, including an interview with Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, results from our Online Programs Survey, our first Volunteer Profile, an invitation to the Prayer of Love, and more! We’ll soon be sending another set of updates and reports from on the ground peacebuilding efforts in the Holy Land.   Peace ~ Salaam ~ Shalom,   Chris Miller Abrahamic Reunion
Upcoming Events The Prayer of Love A Unity Prayer from the Holy Land February 9th, 11am – 12pm EST   Bring your heart to join with Palestinian and Israeli religious leaders – women, men, and youth.   Hosted by David Less & Sheikh Ghassan Manasra; featured leaders TBA.   RSVP Via Eventbrite “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) “And My Mercy encompasses everything.” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:156) “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)
10 Minute Prayer Vigil 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 11am + 6pm EST (NEW: 2nd Time added)   10 Minutes of Peace & Compassion for all the people of Palestine & Israel, featuring prayers from leaders in the Holy Land and the Abrahamic Reunion. Info   February 2ndFebruary 16th
Survey Results: 95% of participants were more hopeful that peace is possible “My heart is always deeply touched and my hope, faith and connection increased.”   From our 37 Survey Responses, 94% felt their belief in peace was increase by attending, and the remaining 6% felt their belief in peace was maintained.   In 2021, we had over 4038 participants join in 52 online programs for our international peacebuilding community: 37 Prayer Vigils, 5 Unity Prayers, The Parliament of World’s Religions, World Unity Week, the Druze Holiday, a Christmas Video Screening, and more.   We read every comment and are already incorporating several suggestions, including re-broadcasting Prayer Vigils each evening so more can participate.   Thank you to all who took the time to fill this out.   Click here to read more results and comments.   “I believe your work will be a shining example, and an inspiration, for the rest of the world’s work in Peace!”
Ask a Peacemaker: Sheikh Ghassan Manasra talks about his diplomatic and community-building efforts I had the chance to talk with Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, AR International Director, over Zoom last week, to catch up on some of his intensive efforts in the Holy Land. He recently came back from a trip where he was busy responding to community needs, organizing projects, and meeting with community and political leaders almost nonstop. (When he is in Florida, also, he is constantly meeting with leaders in Israel and Palestine to de-escalate and bridge situations, as well.) – Chris Miller, January 2021   AR: You are working heavily on community-building, leadership outreach, and diplomatic efforts during these last months, can you tell us about your current focus in the Holy Land right now and these efforts?   We are very busy at this time – we are working more than usual. Usually this is our life, we cannot differentiate between our life and our path – our work for peace – because we’re raised as peacemakers. A peacemaker needs to be a peacemaker even when asleep.   But these days we duplicate, make even more than this, to create more ways and more tools to connect with more people and reduce tension amongst the people. Why? Because most of the people in Israel today are nervous – hidden or visibly – from the situation. Many people ask us – why are they nervous? We know all the countries surrounding us are in trouble, changes, rebellions, revolutions, and all these things influence the people in Israel because they spread fear and hatred to Israel and the Palestinians.   And we know that the Palestinian-Israeli relation is in tension, it’s not so stable or quiet. The people in Israel they are nervous and especially the Arab society – the Arab society is suffering from lots of radicalism, criminalism, and the crime waves grew more and more because of the economic situation, political situation, social situation, even the religious situation.   They are suffering in these dimensions in their lives, and for that, our responsibility in the Abrahamic Reunion, we need to run to work. Abdelsalam Manasra the Israeli Director and Mohamad Jamous the Palestinian Director, they are running with me to create more and more oases for all these people in this path to be safe and survive, to be in touch and not to be in fear from the hard people and the radical people. AR: What are you goals in this diplomatic outreach to politicians and community leaders?   GM: To bring the people to realize that we need one another, we cannot live alone, there’s no lonely lives in this world, and this is under the will of God, he created us different people and different nationalities and different colors to learn from this, to know, to create knowledge.   My goal is to help them to realize and to understand that we need one another, to come together, to light the candles of peace in our hearts. We need to light the candles of peace in our heart because if you light the candle in your heart you can see the other in you – because we are living in a multifaith society, we have the Jew, Christian, Muslim, Druze, even others, many others went to Buddhism. Go to the beach of Tel Aviv of Jaffa or Haifa, you can find many people there in meditation and yoga together in the morning or evening – it’s very important to tell them that we need one another.   You can worship your god in your way, but to create a right worshiping, the worshiping must cross the bridge of the ‘other’ to get to God. Without crossing that bridge you cannot arrive to God because the connection is the worshiping, the connection with the ‘other’ is the religion, it’s called the Love. Our goal is really to live together, stop all of this conflict of 73 years, many people passed away, many people were born, I think we need to learn that there’s no way for to live alone.   Read the interview – click here.
Paths To Peace & Reflections from October Trainings in the US By Ira Sirkar Harrit, US Board   This past October, during the time AR’s Middle East staff, Abed Manasra and Mohamad Jamous, were in the United States, I was happy to travel to Sarasota, Florida to meet them and gain a deeper understanding of their peacemaking work. It was my pleasure to facilitate a curriculum development workshop to train AR volunteer peacemakers and to participate in Peace Literacy Institute and Paths to Peace trainings.   The AR board and staff wanted to take advantage of the time that Abed and Mohamad were in the US and the time was well used. The Peace Literacy (VR) program has been reported on elsewhere on the AR website so I will speak to the other training activities.   Pablo Picasso once said, “Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.” This is the power of the Paths to Peace process which uses a labyrinthine design comprised of symbols that represent the Abrahamic faiths. The process creates a physical, psychological and spiritual sacred space…   Click to keep reading & for more pictures  
Abrahamic Reunion in the News and on the Web   Abrahamic Reunion contact and journalist Gil Zohar has quoted AR Co-Founder David Less in his recent article about the situation at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.   “Commenting on recent developments, peace activist David Less, co-founder of the Abrahamic Reunion, said:    “We could have peace, even if there are problems. And there were so many people who said there can never be peace. And this will go on. It always has been, and it always will be. Well, it’s not true that it always has been. That’s not the case at all. It’s really a phenomenon of the last 100 or 125 years. And as for the idea that peace is impossible, I have two words: Northern Ireland.”   “Everybody there believed there will never be peace. And now there is. And you know what? They have peace with problems. There are still difficulties. There are still things to iron out. But there’s peace. And the same can happen in the Holy Land.”    Less added that “people want peace with justice” but said the Holy Land must first achieve peace with problems.”   Read the Article Here“On Love, Light, and Kindness – New Year 2022” by Edward Levinson   “I go to bed at 11pm on New Year’s Eve and set the alarm for 12:30am to attend a 1am Zoom gathering of The Abrahamic Reunion. I am a supporter from afar to this noble interfaith organization working for Peace in the Middle East and beyond.  The hour-long session with speakers from various traditions emphasized our oneness, and the importance of the number one thing that we can do ourselves to promote peace. Love. Be love. Spread love. Sounds easy or idealistic but it really is the essence of a Unifying Peace, the cream at the top of all we can do. How can you hate someone you love?   Another message was the idea and importance of kindness emphasized young Druze Sheikh Yazan Farhat. And the opening message from Director Shahabuddin David Less that “we have work to do,” but “peace is possible”. Two speakers in their early 20’s symbolized the hope, but also the time it may take to bring all this to fruition. At 2:30am I go back to sleep, more restful than usual.”   Read the Blog Here   Watch the NYE Prayer Here
Featured Volunteer: Tom Gilb, Norway Welcome to our Peacebuilding Volunteer Profiles – where we can get to know some of the folks who have offered their time, energy, and expertise to the Peacebuilding Movement.   Interested in volunteering or offering your skills? Contact Chris Miller, chris@abrahamicreunion.org   Since September, 2021, Tom Gilb has been helping the Abrahamic Reunion in its Strategic Business Planning. He’s worked with major corporations, governments, created planning systems using what he terms, “planguage” (planning + language), and seeks to bring clarity, insight, and achievability to goals – even if they seem nebulous or idealistic (think: “peace”) – by breaking concepts down into defined and reachable goals. For a good idea about Tom, you can check out his TED Talk. It’s an honor and pleasure to have Tom advising our Strategic Planning Team. Thanks, Tom. – Chris Miller   A Gift from Tom: Here is a starter kit for everyone, a free copy of the ‘Life Design’ booklet by me, Tom Gilb.Because you are a colleague in AR, you may share your copy with a friend.   Click Here for a Free Copy of ‘Life Design’ booklet   Click to read the full profile Name: Tom Gilb   Where you live: Near Oslo, Norway   Religion: Unitarian   Favorite Food: Seafood, ice cream   How do you take your coffee?: Sugar and milk, unlike Norwegians, who take it black   What you do, professional background: www.Gilb.com, Develop methods for planning and teach, consult, write about them. Internationally   What you’ve done as a volunteer / title of your internship position: Coached 2 excellent volunteers to do business planning, with deeper thinking than usual about AR Objectives, strategies and priorities.   1-sentence thought on peace: Each individual can at least do their best to nudge us all forward towards a better world.