Giving peace a chance

Tara Curlewis, Allan West and Jim Mein from our Presbytery and Helen Clarke from Knox Grammar School participated last January in a unique tour of Palestine and Israel and offer to speak to Zone meetings, congregations and other community organisations.
For two years, our Synod’s Relations with Other Faiths Committee has dialogued with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies on a wide range of topics and issues involving our two faiths, and so often the test of our differences centred, or at least bordered, on our understandings of the conflicts challenging whether peace can happen in Palestine and Israel.
A decision was made that the representatives from our Synod and the Board would greatly benefit from a joint study tour wherein we would interview a diverse range of speakers in the areas such as interfaith, politics, peace negotiations and local non-government organisations working for peace. Fifty-three people were interviewed. Each allowed questions and answers and almost all complimentarily attested to the special nature of our visit.
We also visited sacred religious sites such as the Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem and the Old City, Jericho, Jaffa, Samaria, Bethlehem and Jacob’s Well.
We have much to share and welcome invitations. Please contact Jim on 0408 660 591.
We would like to include Jewish speakers wherever possible to hear their impression and help us all to better understand the confusing complexity of this Middle East region. All twenty-two participants, including our Moderator and some members of the Jewish Board’s Executive Committee, changed through broadening their minds. We developed very strong friendships even though we did not always agree.
Jim Mein
Presbytery Chairperson