During our congregational trip to Israel in 2016, we had the chance to visit with the wonderful people of Shorashim/Roots/Judur, a local Israeli-Palestinian Initiative for understanding, non-violence and transformation. Now we have the chance to bring Roots to us to learn how Israelis and Palestinians are not only co-existing, but working together in pursuit of peace.
Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher, and a passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship and interaction with local Palestinians. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe that they have introduced him to.
Shadi Abu Awwad is the grandson, son and nephew of strong proud Palestinian leaders who were at the helm of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising). He grew up imbued with a deep hatred for Israelis. When still a child, his family underwent a major transformation and were among the pioneers in reaching across the divide to their Jewish neighbors to work together in order to create a shared vision for the future. As the Palestinian architect and coordinator of the Roots youth movement, Shadi facilitates shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other’s shared humanity.
Join Shadi and Hanan as they tell their personal stories and of their efforts to build a better future for their peoples. They come with no ready peace plans in hand, but only with the conviction that human understanding and trust will be the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom and peace on that tiny sliver of land that they both call home.