Dear Friends,

Today I am mourning – mourning for all our pain.  We are reeling from some of the most horrifying days in Israel’s history.  Practically every Jewish person has someone or knows someone who has been affected.  We have family in Sderot and Ofakim – towns very near Gaza.  We hear that they are safe but locked in and traumatised. 

The more we hear, the more it reminds Jewish people world-wide of the horror of the Holocaust.  After the Holocaust we said ‘never again’ but as Jewish history teaches us ‘never’ isn’t really ‘never’ – the word itself is just too close to ‘forever’.

Before writing to you, we wrote to all the co-operative Israeli-Palestinian initiatives that TalkMatters promotes.  We – on your behalf – expressed our steadfast solidarity at this devasting time. Their work is important and will be even more important once this ghastly time is over.  We must continue to support the initiatives that bring Israelis and Palestinians together through music, art, sport, high-tech, religion, etc.  We must continue to give Jews and Arabs the opportunity to get to know each other, build up trust and listen to each other’s story.

I believe that this together with a much wiser political leadership on both sides is the only way to begin to sow the seeds for a new reality on the ground. 

In the meantime, it seems unlikely that our November trip to visit the village of Wahat al-Salam~Neve Shalom will go ahead.  We will continue to work with our Associates through video clips, articles, and live events to enable the UK public to know what is going on at a grass-roots level. 

Jerusalem Youth Chorus
In times of war, we know we can count on our music—and each other—to hold us together.  As our beloved musical mentor Melanie DeMore tells our singers whenever we meet, “music is medicine.”  It’s why legendary Israeli musician and our JYC board member David Broza plays his guitar in bomb shelters. 
Such devastation, shock, sadness, and also spirit to fight back now.   Roots work will be there to continue when this ends, and I hope we will find new sources of strength forward.  Blessings to you and your circles. 
The Abrahamic Reunion
I can’t thank you enough for your note, your friendship and all that you do for peace.  Your note came at just the right moment.As far as I know our friends and colleagues are safe.  I also hope that all your family and friends are alright.  Talk Matters will become even more important as we go forward.  The Abrahamic Reunion is conducting daily prayer vigil.  Shalom, Salaam, Shanti, Peace 
The Parents Circle
We indeed go through some very rough moments, on both sides of the divide.  We hope this will end soon and open a path to a true reality change, where not one will have to live in fear.
Hand in Hand Schools
Words can and must convey our commitment and resolve. We at Hand in Hand, Jew and Arab alike, will continue to support one another. Our principals, teachers, community leaders, and staff are reaching out to students and parents. We are connecting as a community to voice our pain and fear. And we are strengthening one another for the long, arduous road that lies ahead. We will be bringing our students back to school in the coming days and providing them with the fortification of professional counselling and support to weather this time together. 

Wahat al-Salam-Neve Shalom
Especially now, when the storm around us is gathering strength and we are all in a state of emotional alarm, this is the time for us in Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom, members and educational institutions, the School for Peace, binational primary school, Pluralistic Spiritual Center and everyone who believes in shared society, to continue to be a compass point, to light our torches in the darkness around us, and to be a model of peace, equality and justice. We feel blessed to know that we have so many friends around the world who support our cause and stand with us, no matter what the situation. 

Yours in hope that we’ll come to know peace.
Jenny Nemko and the TalkMatters Team