On matters of peace and coexistence I oscillate between (naive?) optimism and crushing cynicism. I heard Sheva (skip the intro) play last Motzei Shabbat. Their final song was a popular Israeli folk song calling for peace in both Hebrew and Arabic. All I could do was snicker and dance anyway.

Hopefully though, I’ll find some measure of optimism by Thursday when I try to head over to the Sulha Peace Project.

From their site:

Sulha is an indigenous, Middle Eastern way of reconciliation. Our goal is to rebuild trust among neighbors, Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians, heart to heart, as a contribution to Peace in the Holyland. In these critical times, we feel there is a need for a safe place to hear and appreciate each other’s stories, hopes, fears, traditions and cultures beyond a specific political agenda.

It is three days of camping, music, workshops, listening circles and communal meals in an effort to create trust and commonality. A Jewish-Egyptian Friend of mine went last year, and said it was ground breaking. That Arabs and Jews finally found a common ground; the Jews kept apologizing for everything, the Arabs agreed with us. But there I go being cynical again.

Even so, to my brothers and sisters already there, and to all the children of Abraham, may we find a way.

“od yavo shalom aleinu, v’al kulam, salaam, aleinu v’al kol ha olam, salaam, salaam”
(Peace (in Hebrew) will come to us, and to everyone, Peace (in Arabic) on us and on the whole world, Peace, Peace)

About the author

Laya Millman


  • Was this the peace fest from last night? I heard it is fun, but I agree – fun can’t compensate for all the bullshit.

  • “the Jews kept apologizing for everything, the Arabs agreed with us”

    Laya it sounds like this was more about Jews apologizing and Muslims forgiving us. After 14 centuries of Islamic brutality murder rape and persecution we owe them an apology? To me at least, that is not coexistense. If there are really people, who want to sit down and talk and share, I’m all for it and given the opportunity, I would participate. Anyway if Rumi were here I dont think he would expect us to be sorry before he would be our friend

  • I guess the question would be, “who’s going?” I’ve been involved in a lot of dialogue and peace-building projects, but when you end up preaching to the converted, you know it’s not working. While it’s great that those who think alike can meet and share ideas and find new friends, real change will occur when we manage to reach out to those who are not already reconciled with “the other side”. So yes, I admit I’m slightly cynical. 🙂

  • Dialogue is nice.

    But in the end it’s a little meaningless since the conflict is over land and there is a finite amount of land.

  • The smiling yid in the front is my dear friend Eliyahu, who has been working in this field for years now, long after I gave up on Arab-Jewish rapproachment, and focused my life on encouraging peace between Jews. The idea behind Eliyahu’s lifework is that politicians are unlikely to find a solution to this problem. His approach appeals to me. Eliyahu maintains a deep spirituality through it all. The religious leaders who come to the Sulha are, he says, genuine in their pursuit of peace. I pray that Eliyahu’s mission to bring peace bears fruit very soon. Please give Eliyahu my warm regards!

  • Why are so many Jews Beatniks? They need to go back to following Phish or something and butt out of politics, yeesh

  • We sing that song often at the reform synagogue I go to. I never until recently knew what it meant.

  • “That Arabs and Jews finally found a common ground; the Jews kept apologizing for everything, the Arabs agreed with us.”

    LOL. That’s exactly what see go on in all these “dialogue” events, for the past 10 years. I don’t bother with them anymore.