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Thanks for taking an interest in my upcoming Monash University trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. I have been working on the itin­erary for several months and making contact with the other facil­i­ta­tors as well as the students. They’ll be about 30 of us on the trip, mainly under­grad­uate students. We’ll all get a deeper appre­ci­a­tion of the chal­lenges facing the Jewish and Palestinian people building a future of peace. I have lived in Jerusalem for 4 years (both our chil­dren were born there) and I have been to Bethlehem and Hebron with Encounter– a wonderful orga­ni­za­tion that takes Jews from the dias­pora (and now also Israeli Jews) to Palestinian cities to meet people and learn about their lives and their stories (Deep grat­i­tude to Rabbi Melissa Weintraub and Illana Sumka). My expe­ri­ences on those trips have been central to my thinking about this one. One of my heroes, Rabbi Michael Melchior said that nowa­days we can’t choose between Jews and Palestinians but that if we love and want peace we need to choose both. I don’t have a clear idea of what choosing both amounts to in prac­tical terms but it is a direc­tion in which to approach this trip and all people we meet. We’ll be processing our expe­ri­ences in dyads, smaller groups and at times in the large group. This is a journey of the spirit. What happens when we enter conflict-ridden spaces with open-heartedness and compas­sion. It is a journey also of the inside. I’ve lost my voice. My friend and teacher Jasmine Lance gave me a reading that evoked a sense of me giving up some old battles, finding my power in new/old places and residing in the place of feeling, going inside and taking inspi­ra­tion from natural beauty.

To view this blog in its entirety, please visit http://​noth​inghu​man​is​for​eign​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​1​1​/​w​e​l​c​o​m​e​.​h​tml

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Encounter is an edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be construc­tive agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moti­vated by the relent­less Jew­ish pur­suit of hokhma (wis­dom) and binah (under­stand­ing), Encounter cul­ti­vates informed Jew­ish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict by bring­ing…

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