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    A Workshop With Lee Irwin

    Saturday, April 11, 2009, 2-5 p.m.
    Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
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    An Evening with Practicing Alchemist Kevin Townley

    Friday, May 1, 2009, 7-9:30 p.m.
    Kalliopeia Foundation, San Rafael, California
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    Saturday, May 2, 2009, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Kalliopeia Foundation, San Rafael, California
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    Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 7-9 p.m.
    Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
  • Awakening to the Prophetic Call

    A Conversation with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

    Tuesday, June 8, 2009, 7-9 p.m.
    St. James Church, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom

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Seven Pillars House of Wisdom > News > Letter From Gaza

Letter From Gaza

March 04, 2009

The recent war in Gaza was a very difficult chapter in the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. Many civilians were wounded and killed on both sides, and especially in Gaza. We know that the price of the war is very high, not only in numbers of wounded and killed, but also in its effect on both societies—war results in an increase in fear, anger and hatred.

The war almost destroyed our many years of work building trust and bridges between our peoples, the children of Abraham. Both sides got caught in the illusion that to protect themselves, they "needed to go to war," and that the other side only understands the language of force.

In spite of all this, we have reaffirmed our commitment to continue our work for peace and building bridges. For example, during the time of war, we joined meetings/projects within and between our societies to re-build the trust that was seemingly being lost for good.

Ghassan hosted a special peace prayer gathering for the community of Nazareth to stop the war, and worked with the Muslim community in Nazareth to reduce anger and tension, focusing on how to stop the war, and not feeding the anger and hatred.

Eliyahu during the war joined a silent meditation peace walk on the streets of Jerusalem, calling for compassion and non-violence. Some friends of Eliyahu’s from the Sulha Peace Project organized a humanitarian drive for the people of Gaza. In a matter of days more than 14 overloaded truckloads of blankets, baby food and other supplies were collected from all over Israel and distributed by UNWRA to the people of Gaza.

We believe that this is the time to act. We know that this is a test for our souls in order to show we can succeed in this time with our holy mission for the simple people and good people from both sides.

It has not been easy to do this work now, but the message still comes down to this: "We are the Children of Abraham, we are but one family!!" Right now, we are a very wounded and traumatized family in deep need of healing. We have dedicated ourselves to unite the forces of the spiritual peacemakers, to open up a new chance for peace and love to emerge from the destruction.

To this end, we organized a prayer gathering at Tel Hoshomer hospital in Tel Aviv, where we visited recuperating Israeli soldiers and Palestinians from Gaza. Later our group of religious leaders, the Abrahamic Reunion, went to the Israeli town of Sderot on the Gaza border. We brought with us a group of Christian, Muslim and Druze Arab teenagers to meet there in a reinforced classroom and speak from the heart with a group of Jewish teenagers. With Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze religious leaders present, we broadcast a message of love and unity that was seen on the main Israeli TV channel. The meeting was broadcast not only to Israelis but also to the people of Gaza.

We ask that the Seven Pillars community bless us and empower us to continue the sacred work of this path of peace, love and harmony. Please send us your prayers. Thank you for your blessings and support.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam,

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, Anwar Il-Salaam, Lights of Peace Sufi dialogue center in Nazareth and Jerusalem
Eliyahu McLean, Jerusalem Peacemakers, co-director

For additional information please visit http://www.risingtideinternational.org/peacemakers.htm

***
Eliyahu McLean is the director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers, a group of religious leaders and grassroots peacebuilders in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Eliyahu organizes monthly inter-religious Israeli-Palestinian peace gatherings in East and West Jerusalem and coordinates the Abrahamic Reunion, a group of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Druze religious leaders working together to re-claim religion as a source for peace. Eliyahu is also a board member and interfaith advisor for the Sulha Peace Project, which hosts an annual event which brings together thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. www.jerusalempeacemakers.org

Ghassan Manasra is the director of Anwar il-Salaam (Lights of Peace), a Muslim peace center in Nazareth promoting tolerance and interfaith dialogue. Ghassan is an ordained sheikh and is the son of Sheikh Abdel Salaam Manasra, the head of the Qadiri Sufi order in the Holy Land.

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