“Women Leading a Dialogue” makes an impact
On the weekend of November 11th, our Federation was honored to host "Women Leading a Dialogue," an interfaith delegation from Israel comprised of fifteen Muslim and Jewish women who came to share their inspiring project that promotes coexistence in Western Galilee. Their visit was sponsored by Partnership2Gether (P2G). Here in South Bend, the members of the delegation were provided home hospitality by members of our Jewish community.
On Saturday morning, Sinai Synagogue hosted the delegation for Shabbat services and their traditional Kiddush luncheon. During the reading of Torah, there was a very special moment when several women of the delegation made an Aliyah to Torah for the first time in their lives.
Following the luncheon, Rabbi Companez and Rabbi Friedland led a fascinating discussion to explain Conservative and Reform Judaism to the delegation with a focus on the role of women in these movements.
On Saturday afternoon, Professor Mike Kirsch led a tour of the Notre Dame campus which included a visit to the School of Law. Two Arab members of the delegation- one attorney and one law student- enjoyed having their pictures taken in the Law School’s model courtroom.
P2G committee co-chair Cristyne Porile worked tirelessly to prepare a beautiful Havdalah dinner on Saturday night for the delegation, their host families, and members of the board.
“Saturday night gave our delegation a chance to relax and let their hair down. After a moving Candlelight Havdalah service conducted by Rabbi Shoshana Feferman, our guests, their host families, our Federation Staff, and our Partnership committee got to enjoy dinner together and engage in interesting and diverse conversations ending in true Middle Eastern fashion with a few of the women playing wonderful modern Israeli and Arabic music. Both our guests and our locals danced through the night, sharing in the cultural exchange of dance styles and in the sheer joy of being together.”
On Sunday morning, Shirlee Greenwald, the Federation’s Israel Program Director, organized “Coexistence Café.” This was a wonderful opportunity for some 80 members of our community- both Jews and non-Jews- to engage in dialogue with the members of the delegation through round-table discussions.
“Coexistence Café helped to revive our spirits after the long period of Covid. Most importantly, it reminded us of what Partnership2Gether with Israel is all about.”
Dan Ravitch, one of the moderators of the discussions said:
“The conversations we had were both intimate and universal. We made personal connections on topics that touched each participant on a personal level in a unique way.”
Through these amazing conversations, we came away with great hope for the future of Israel.
Dave Ravitch, P2G co-chair wrote:
“At the end of the day, sitting face to face, we realized we all want the same things: peace, love, and knowing our children will grow up safe in a better world.”
Our community can be very proud of our special connection to Israel and this unique region we know as Western Galilee, made possible through Partnership2Gether (P2G). Special recognition goes to the leaders of the delegation from P2G: Avital Ben Dror and Dr. Iris Posklinsky. We thank them for their extraordinary work in organizing this trip and leading this amazing project in Israel.
Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to the many “super” volunteers who helped to make this weekend possible. And a special thanks to the host families who opened their homes and hearts to the members of the delegation. They include: Marsha Brook and Fred Kahn, Terry and Alan Feldbaum, Carey Gaudern and Dan Gezelter, Ilana and Mike Kirsch, Sarah and Rob Nerenberg, Cari and Barry Shein, Ann and Ron Silverman and Sarah Snider and Dov Honick.
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