Past Programs - 2011-12
► May 2012 - Laila El-Haddad
"Gaza Mom," blogger and author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between and her forthcoming book, The Gaza Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from the Gaza Strip.
Laila describes herself on her blog, "Gaza Mom":"
I am a Palestinian from Gaza City. I am a journalist. I am a blogger. I am a mother. I am a Muslim. I am a Media Activist. This blog is about the trials of raising my children between spaces and identities; displacement and occupation; and everything that entails from potty training to border crossings. Currently, we are based near Baltimore. My husband is a Palestinian refugee denied his right of return to his native Palestine, and our right to live together as a family in our own land because of Israeli family unification laws. For us, as for most Palestinians, the personal is political. This is our story.
Laila has reported for AlJazeera and Pacifica Radio. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, Le Monde Diplomatique and the International Herald Tribune, among others. Her new book, The Gaza Kitchen, will be out later this year.
► April 2012 - ICAHD & Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project
Last summer, Sylvia Sedrak of Colorado Springs joined a group of internationals, Israelis and Palestinians at the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Summer Rebuilding Camp in the West Bank. Sabeel-Colorado helped to sponsor her for the trip and she will tell about her experience with this organization that builds homes for Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed repeatedly by the Israeli army.
Guy Benintendi tells about the first year of the Boulder Nablus Sister City Project, a citizen-powered, cross-cultural initiative to link members of two diverse communities: Boulder, CO, USA & Nablus, Palestine. Their mission is to create opportunities for the citizens of Boulder to make genuine friendships with their counterparts in Nablus. Their primary focus is education, endeavoring to address and counter negative stereotypes of Arabs, in general, and Palestinians in particular. A delegation from Boulder will be in Nablus April 30-May 13.
► March 2012 - Little Town of Bethlehem
This documentary film tells the stories of three non-violent peace activists—a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew, working for an end to Israel's occupation. The film is the gripping story of how three men born into the cycle of violence have chosen to risk everything to bring peace to their homelands. Sami and Ahmad are Palestinians, one is a Christian, the other a Muslim; and Yonatan is an Israeli Jew. Independently, they find inspiration throught the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s and Mahatma Gandhi's sacrificial commitment to equality. At great personal cost they have joined together in a heroic and dangerous cause. This is a story of hope and a model for resolution of hostilities.
► February 2012 - Mark Braverman
Mark Braverman is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land; he is co-founder and executive director of Friends of Tent of Nations, supporting Palestinian land rights; and a member of the Advisory Board, Friends of Sabeel-North America. In his book, he shows how the Jewish quest for safety and empowerment and the Christian effort to atone for centuries of anti-Semitism have combined to suppress the conversations needed to bring about peace. In his quest to find a way forward, he turns to the prophets and to Jesus’s transformative ministry, to speak a prophetic word of his own, calling Christians to find other ways to deal with our guilt. Israel needs us to engage in the struggle for justice and peace. Braverman will report on the recent formation of Kairos USA, a grassroots initiative of U.S. Christians to mobilize in support of justice for Palestine and a change in U.S. policy in the region.
► January 2012 - The Myth of Israel's Insecurity, with Prof. Ira Chernus, CU
In the United States, the key to public attitudes and government policy toward the Israel-Palestine conflict is the belief that Israel is a weak, vulnerable, constantly endangered nation. Where does this belief come from? Why is it so persistent? Why are Republicans now more likely than Jews to believe it? Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will discuss the myth of Israel’s insecurity and how can it be challenged, as a crucial step toward changing U.S. policy.
► December 2011 - Arna's Children
In this film, director Juliano Mer Khamis tells the story of his mother Arna, who opened a theater program for the childen of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. When she was an Israeli soldier in the 1950s, Arna Mer married Palestinian Saliba Khamis and became an activist for Palestinian human rights. Her love for the children changed their lives, but their lives were also shaped by Israel's occupation—Yussef committed a suicide attack in Hadera, 2001; Ashraf was killed in the battle of Jenin by the Israeli army; Alaa leads a resistance group. Arna's son, Juliano, an actor, director and filmmaker, continued her work. In April of this year, he was murdered in front of the theater.
► November 2011 - Mischief-Making in Palestine, with Mae Cannon
Mae Elise Cannon is the author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World (IVP, 2009). An ordained pastor, she is the chair of the Mosaic Center board for the Pacific Southwest Conference in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). She was the executive pastor of Hillside Covenant Church located in Walnut Creek, California and also served as director of development and transformation for extension ministries at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Cannon holds an M.Div. From North Park Theological Seminary, an M.B.A. from North Park University's School of Business and Nonprofit Management, and an M.A. in bioethics from Trinity International University. She is completing her doctoral studies (Ph.D.) at the University of California-Davis in United States History and Middle Eastern Studies. Her dissertation is about the historical attitudes of American evangelicals toward Israel and Palestine.
► October 2011 - Global Peacemaking, with SIPP students
Youth participating in the 2011 Student Interfaith Peace Project (SIPP) will present their learnings and experiences from their summer trip to Israel and Palestine. SIPP is an Interfaith Network including American and Middle East Students, teaching peacemaking skills, and helping students and families build trust between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions and cultures. In June, they spent two weeks in Palestine and Israel, meeting Israeli and Palestinian teenagers interested in interfaith, intercultural dialogue; visiting the holy sites; and practicing their newly learned listening and dialogue skills.
► September 2011 - Breakthrough, with Richard Forer
In his recent book, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion - A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Richard Forer describes his awakening. Though not a religious Jew, Forer, who lives in Albuquerque, had been a loyal defender of Israeli policy all his life. In response to what he perceived as growing global anti-Semitism, he became a member of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
When friends resisted his views, Forer began an intensive study of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. With an uncompromising commitment to the truth, he went far beyond his original intention, awakening to his true identity, beyond the limits of the ego and its enforced loyalties. Forer realized that the true root of conflict is one’s presumed identity and the beliefs and images that emanate from and reinforce that identity, and that these presumptions are false and unnecessary. He discovered that in Truth we are all Muslim and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli.