Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

Another week and still no resolution.  The situation is dire and if it wasn’t for the grassroots initiatives there would be little hope. TalkMatters is here to provide a different platform – to support the initiatives that bring moderate Israelis and Palestinians together.   We question the people who link the supporters of Hamas with all Palestinians and those who link right wing ideology with all Israelis.  TalkMatters remains one of the few spaces for people who acknowledge the suffering on both sides and recognise both narratives.  Not an easy place to be while there is so much mistrust around.  Often resulting in a desire not to talk or to argue the absolute justification of one side or the other.   With that in mind, we are launching a new series on our social media platform – Difficult Questions on Israel and Palestine.  See below for details. 

We would like to thank all who have contributed to our series of one minute video clips – Voices of Hope and Fear.  Today we focus on the Abrahamic Reunion with Michael Macy.  Next week we are focussing on you – our supporters – helping you to connect to other TalkMatters‘ supporters by sharing your hopes and fears.  

Michael Macy, Board Member of the Abrahamic Reunion

Retired Senior Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department.  Michael’s career focused on using cultural affairs to develop mutual understanding between people.  Co-founder of Enacting Peace, the Solstice and Equinox Peace Initiative. 

About the Abrahamic Reunion

The Abrahamic Reunion recognizes that creating understanding and empathy between diverse faith communities is fundamental to developing multicultural acceptance, constructive cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Working in the Holy Land for over 18 years, the Abrahamic Reunion uses education, interfaith dialogue, group processes and large-scale events to bring together diverse faith communities as well as secular groups to replace fear and trauma with understanding and trust. Programs, methods and techniques are used to support and train faith leaders and their congregations, school staff, student leaders, youth program organisers, as well as leaders of family and women’s groups

The latest news from the Abrahamic Reunion – March 26th, 2024

  • Over 150 people gathered at the Shalom-Hartman Institute in Jerusalem for the Abrahamic Reunion’s 18th Annual Multifaith Iftar Dinner for Peace in the Holy Land.
  • The Iftars this year are supported by Presenting Sponsors Abrahamic Reunion Germany, and Event Sponsors Dave Miller and the AR USA Board Members — and many supporters from around the world!
  • Prayers were also said recognising Purim, Holy Week, and Druze Holiday  Zirayat al Nabi-Shuayb.
  • Speeches, Blessings, and Prayers were delivered with beautiful music and livestreamed.
  • Text Study Sessions on the traditions and practices of fasting in the different traditions were the first program.

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, with Rabbi Aron Leibowitz, and Lutheran Pastor Sally Azar from East Jerusalem discussed many meanings.
How do we not see fasting as “affliction” but to open the heart, was Rabbi Aron’s challenge. “Fasting is love, fasting is connection, fasting is hugging,” said Sheikh Ghassan, while Pastor Sally shared how the Lutheran tradition doesn’t partake of fasting, normally, as it is seen as something distracting the individual from their relationship with God.

The Abrahamic Reunion is featured in our directory and has their own website.   In 2021 Sheikh Ghassan ManasraDavid Less and Anat Lev joined us from Jerusalem for a webinar.  There are details on this page of their website of how you can donate to help support their work. 

Difficult Questions about Israel and Palestine

Our next series Difficult Questions is the brain child of Tamara Jacobs.  Tamara, Founder of The Creative Strategist is helping with our social media content.  Like so many of us, Tamara felt helpless during this terrible time since October 7th.  Tamara wants to shine a light on some of the great work grassroots organisations are doing to establish peace and is generously donating her time and skills.  Welcome to the TalkMatters team, Tamara. And thank you. 

We know that conversations, even within our own friendship groups, are difficult when it comes to talking about Gaza and Israel .  We are going to use social media to ask difficult questions such as Why am I struggling to have open and honest conversations about Israel and Palestine? and How can I find a balanced view of the situation in Israel Palestine?

We hope to start a conversation where concerns as well as ideas can be shared in a respectful way.  We hope to create a space where you feel comfortable to discuss your thoughts and feelings on a very tricky subject.  

If you have any ideas or would like to contribute to the Difficult Questions series, please do reach out.  Even if you don’t “do” social media, drop a line to hello@talkmatters.info or send a video clip and we will sort it.  See the orange box below for some guidelines to make the perfect video clip on your phone.  

For those celebrating Easter this weekend, we wish you a meaningful and happy time.

With all good wishes,

Jenny and the TalkMatters team

Get details on how to send a video

    Watch other videos from the Hopes & Fears series of clips