TRANSCRIPTS FROM OUR COMMUNITY CALL
Lynn, JPB Volunteer:
I feel incredibly honored and at the same time inadequate to be invited here today to share a word with you of encouragement.
Honored, firstly, because I have enormous respect and great hopes for what each of you are doing every day in your communities to preserve a space where there is listening, compassion and support. I know that you are doing this hard work because you showed up here tonight to support each other.
The mission of JPB is “to promote transformational person to person encounters among the people of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, and the United States. You have chosen to participate in such an encounter tonight under different circumstances than we ever expected to be experiencing.
It may not have been easy for you to join this Zoom call tonight. There might be pressures in your world that are pulling you away from this. But you are committed to being here, and you have found a way to reach this call tonight. You are putting your faith in the possibility of a better future just by clicking on that Zoom link. Just that very act alone is making a difference.
I’m so honored to be here to walk beside you along “the narrow path for peace,” as Fr. Nicholas wrote recently in his email A New Day Will Dawn.
At the same time, I feel inadequate because I feel very small and very powerless. And maybe you feel like that too. What magical words can any of us speak tonight that can heal wounds, erase fears, or soothe souls? Probably nothing. But we do bring something to this gathering tonight that is perhaps more enduring and more powerful. We bring our steadfast commitment to staying connected, to telling our stories, to listening to each others’ stories, and to respecting each others’ truths. Joining arms with you here transforms my sense of powerlessness to one of possibility and hope for a different future, and I hope that this evening does the same thing for you. I am reminded of a famous quote attributed to an American anthropologist called Margaret Mead. She said, “never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. JPB is just such a small group of committed people. This is exactly the kind of group she was talking about. You are a part of that group, and I am honored to be a part of that group too.
I encourage you all in these difficult times to take all those skills and all of that training and all those experiences that you have benefited from [through Jerusalem Peacebuilders]. Now it’s time to take all of that and to bring it to the fore and keep doing all that good work. Stick to that narrow path of peace. God bless you all.
Itay, JPB Alum:
I’m sixteen years old, I’m Jewish, and I’m in Israel. I am a participant of Jerusalem Peacebuilders, and last summer I participated in Jerusalem JPB Global Voices. The staff and the people in JPB, make you feel like you’re in a big family. I remember that oftentimes I even forgot about the conflict, and simply had fun and made memories with my friends. I made many friends there, and I know they are friends for life. The peace we made there is peace for generations, and no war, no atrocity, can separate us.
As an Israeli peacebuilder, I always come across people from both sides that claim they want peace: “we just want peace, and the other side attacked us.” It’s funny how this word peace has many different meanings and definitions based on who said it. One could say, “peace for me is to remove all Arabs from this land,” and someone else, “peace for me is to get revenge on the Jews.” For me, peace is the unconditional love of one. The unconditional ability to empathize with one another. This is what I had in JPB.
Last Saturday, I remember hearing the news, and as soon as I heard the news, I felt like a black hole was dug in my heart. I felt like all we’ve done was for nothing. But now I realize that it’s not like that. I cannot discourage anybody to have hope for peace, because I know there are a lot of people sitting here that have friends on the other side, and the fact you can call them friends shows that no matter the war, no matter what happens, they’re still your friends. This is the only way we can solve this.
I remember in camp, Zak and all the staff used to say that we are here to use our voices, not our forces. Only now, after those brutal attacks on both sides, can I truly understand what he meant by this. Because the only way is peace. Thank you.
Imam Bilal, JPB Board Member:
I am a Black man. I am hurt: tattered, torn. I am the autumn: colorful, loud, bright, withering, dying. I am Muhammed Ali: outspoken, brash, conscientious objector to all forms of war. I am angry. I am both David and Dawud, of October 6th, who stood holding the same rock, fighting for the same win, fighting the same Goliath, believing in the same God, hoping for the same end. So let the words of David in Psalm 19:14 be a reminder of what we believe as David and Dawud on October 6: “let the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” May our words, may the meditations of our hearts, be always acceptable in God’s sight. And that is our strength, and that is the source of our redemption. May this be so. Amen.