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DSO’s Pilgrimage participants spent time at the Roots Organization while in Israel. Hear from Rabbi Hanan & Shadi Abu Awwad about the work the Roots organization does and learn more of what our pilgrims learned and are bringing back to our diocese. Join in-person at St. Barnabas, Montgomery, or virtually via Zoom. Register here.
Shadi Abu Awwad is the grandson, son and nephew of strong proud Palestinian leaders who were at the helm of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising). He grew up imbued with a deep hatred for Israelis. When still a child, his family underwent a major transformation and were among the pioneers in reaching across the divide to their Jewish neighbors to work together in order to create a shared vision for the future. As the Palestinian architect and first coordinator of the Roots youth movement, Shadi has facilitated shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other’s shared humanity.
An Orthodox rabbi and passionate Zionist settler, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger has lived most of his life in the West Bank where Palestinian make up 90% of the population. Yet 33 years past until he first had a real conversation with a Palestinian.
Rabbi Hanan was profoundly transformed by his meeting and friendship with Shadi’s uncle Ali Abu Awwad and with other Palestinians at the beginning of 2014. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism was utterly complicated by the parallel universe that they introduced him to. Shaken and transformed, Rabbi Hanan – together with Ali and other local Israelis and Palestinians – formed Roots, the Israeli Palestinian grassroots initiative for understanding, nonviolence and transformation to build bridges of reconciliation between the two sides.
We invite you to join Shadi and Hanan as they share their personal, interconnected stories and present the groundbreaking and challenging grassroots work of Roots. They do not come with blueprinted peace plans in hand, but with the deep conviction that human understanding and trust are the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom, and peace in that little sliver of land they both call home.
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