We spent some time yesterday at MEET, an inspiring and innovative program for Israeli and Palestinian teens who work together on technology projects, developing a common language of process and programming, founded by the tireless Anat Binur. 15 Israelis and 15 Palestinians are chosen each year and then meet at a lab on the Hebrew University campus where they are taught by instructors from M.I.T., where Anat is working on her doctorate. The kids were focused, professional, and rather than focusing on solving a problem like the two-state solution--a problem not of their own making--they are creating innovative networks, developing collaborative relationships, and working together in a context that, without the program, never could have possibly existed.
It was very eye-opening and inspiring of hope to witness contexts where the divide between Arab and Jewish youth could be bridged without the rhetoric of the conflict, giving participants the space to advance education and careers and build relationships that, in the best of all possible worlds, will be relationships they can take advantage of as the next generation to be leaders in this land. When peace comes, they won't be meeting one another for the first time but will have years of connection between them.
Check out the website here.
Last Friday night at Kol Haneshama, the Reform synagogue in Jerusalem, the community prayed Psalm 121 in Hebrew and then Rabbi Levi Kelman introduced in Arabic 20 Sisters from the Rosary Sisters of Syria and Lebanon, a school in East Jerusalem, who then sang Psalm 121 in Arabic. It was one of the most powerful spiritual expressions I've ever witnessed. And at the MEET session yesterday, I met two kids from East Jerusalem who go to Rosary Sisters School and told them how inspiring the experience was.
"I lift my eyes to the mountains, what is the source of my help? My help comes from the Eternal, Maker of Heaven and Earth."
To pray in this in the language of "conflict" as an act of peace and reconciliation is among the greatest blessings I've encountered in nearly 25 years of visits to Jerusalem.
Don't believe for a minute that there is not among the young and old here a great hope for peace.