We are delighted to tell you that we are celebrating TalkMatters’ first birthday! We’ve had a most productive year despite all the sadness and difficulties of the pandemic and its lockdowns.
To celebrate our first year we are publishing a series of weekly short video clips to highlight some of the the inspiring people who have joined us in our webinars so far.
This is the first episode: it features highlights from our webinar with the Interfaith Encounter Association when we were joined by Carolina Frimer and Fatima Amer.
We’d love to share this short (less than five minute) clip with you, and ask that you post their engaging and inspiring story to your own Facebook and/or please help us by tweeting a link to this video!.
Welcome to our birthday celebrations. I’m Jenny Nemko, the founder of TalkMatters. And TalkMatters is now a year old. And despite all the sadness and difficulties of the pandemic, we’ve had a most productive year. During the last twelve months we’ve written articles, given interviews, upped our social media game. And most of all we’ve held Zoom webinars. Trying to raise public awareness of what’s happening at a grass roots level in Israel and in Palestine.
And to mark our first birthday, we’ve compiled a medley for you. A compilation of the inspirational people we’ve met on zoom over the year. People who are enabling Palestinians and Israelis to talk and understand each other’s personal and national narrative a little bit more.
Every week there’s a video clip from an organisation that TalkMatters supports. Please share this week by week with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. By week seven, you’ll have the complete medley.
We are going to start with the Interfaith Encounter Association. They say that ‘If religion is part of the problem, then it must also be part of the solution’. With over a hundred groups in Israel and the West Bank, the Interfaith Encounter Association foster dialogue between the three major religions in the region.
Meet two of the participants, Carolina and Fatima.
Of course it’s very easy to be anti-anything when you haven’t even met a Muslim in your life so I actually had that opportunity when I was in college for the first time and when I realized that speaking to a Muslim person completely changed the way I approached what it means to be a Muslim, what it means to be an Arab or a Palestinian. And then I understood the power that it has – that connecting through the small things that we had in common and also through the things that we had different.
It was a bridge to speak about the differences; and the things that really brought us together in the first moment was to meet other women. For example that Muslim women my university that went through many different challenges that were similar to the ones I was having, like what do you do if the holiday falls on the middle of your tests or things like that. And I understood how powerful it was. I started to really get involved to organizing that kind of encounters but still I felt I always thought I was the only Orthodox Jew, I was always the only Orthodox Jew in the room and when I moved to Israel I don’t remember exactly how I heard about the Interfaith Encounter Association but I contacted you then I wanted to join a group and the first encounter that I was present it was actually encountered with Yeshiva boys – like boys that was studying in a religious seminar with Palestinians from Hebron; and the topic was the Temple Mount which is like the centre of the conflict if you may say so and they were speaking about it in religious terms. They were thinking what about the Torah talks about it and how Muslims approach that location and how each one thought about the what the other thought and they were kind of deconstructing all these different misconceptions they had about how the other thought about it and that was very powerful for me.
At the end of the course I got to learn so many things about Judaism about Christianity about even Islam. And I got to share our traditions, our cultures, our religion, our families even, and the food and, at the end, you realize how similar we are to each other: like the similarities far exceed our differences. I honestly I felt like we were a part of a big, one big family it was truly touching and I really recommend just people to go out to react with people, to talk to others because when you talk to others you realize how similar you are, we are and it got me to believe that a change is possible in you know in Israel and Palestine in the whole world.
It is possible you just need to believe in us. We are humans and that’s what connects us to all of us: we’re humans, we’re the same person and that’s what was the main thing for me there.