[Pictured from on the left, Israeli Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger, Eliyahu McLean in his signiture kippah]
One of my dear friends here in Jerusalem, Eliyahu McLean, is bringing a delegation of peacemaking Muslim and Jewish leaders for the Third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace. While the big organizations might be taking credit for this ground breaking work, it is peacemakers on the ground like Eliyahu that make these things happen.
In 2006 in Seville, during the second congress, when it appeared that the entire project conference was in danger of falling apart, the Chief Advisor to King of Morocco a religious Jew, approached Eliyahu and Sheik Bukhari, to reduce the tensions. Eliayahu, and his partner at Jerusalem Peacemakers, Shiek Bukhari lead a “prayer from the heart program” which salvaged the meeting. They asked Shiekh Abdel Quarim al-Zorba, Imam of the Dome of the Rock, to begin singing some piyutim, and that began to soften the anger of the Muslim participants. The Rabbis were keepign their distance, until the Chief Rabbi of Rishon L’Zion, Yosef Azran, came and sat down next to the Shiekh Zorba, and started singing Arabic piyutim – because he himself was born in Morocco and spoke fluent Arabic. The other Rabbis saw him sitting there, and joined him, and the Muslims saw the Rabbi showing their culture respect. And what unfolded? Four hours of sharing sacred melodies that led to a rebuilding of trust that changed the atmosphere for the next three days.
This Monday, in Paris, the Third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace takes place. On the groups website, imamsrabbis.org, there is a picture of the singing – and you can see Eliyahu in the rainbow colored Kippah.
Go in peace, and return in Peace, and continue your holy work Eliyahu. You can read more about Eliyahu at his soon to be revamped website, Jerusalempeacemakers.org.