Musalaha - January 2019 Update

Israel and Palestine

As part of promoting reconciliation in the community, we conducted a joint Christmas training for our women's groups from Bethlehem and Aboud, emphasizing the value of giving. The weekend focused on sharing our love and message of reconciliation with children who have physical and psychological needs, many of whom would not be able to spend the holidays with their families. The women prepared gift baskets and gave them to neighbors in need as part of learning to celebrate Christmas through giving, love, and reconciliation.

University students are hard to pin down. For many, their energies are devoted to their studies. They are at the mercy of rigorous course and exam schedules and have too much to do with their limited time. We at Musalaha considered what would be the best way to utilize these young adults’ time as many were home on holiday, and how we could help them during this period of their lives. We realized that these young people needed direction, support, and training with their leadership abilities. We planned a three-day weekend where we would give them the tools for leading others and the framework to put their learned skills into practice. We were delighted with the turnout of more than 40 young people, and even more, the results. We brought in a communications specialist to provide training on how to mentor others. She emphasized the importance of listening, being attentive, focusing on questions to find points of interest, and how to support those whom they are mentoring.

Next, we gave each of the young adults a mentor. Eight individuals, comprised of Musalaha board members and associates, offered to serve as mentors. Their different backgrounds, life experiences, professions, and talents make them valuable resources to the next generation of leaders in this land.

We called this weekend M&M – Mentor You, Mentor Me – and charged the young adults to lead the remainder of the conference for 14-17-year-old teenagers. They began organizing and dividing responsibilities. When the youth arrived, everything was ready, the teams rallied and ran an outstanding program. The theme of the training for the teens was Faith: Does it Unite Us or Divide Us?

It was time that the teens confronted this important issue that is divisive worldwide, but especially in our region. They dealt with it brilliantly. At one "Café" table, the teens began discussing the situation of Abraham and Lot. I was concerned that they would use this story as an example of how we can live peacefully, but separately. For me, this is not an option. We at Musalaha are in the business of reconciliation and bringing people together, not separating them. I was amazed as I listened to their discussion. "Abraham was given the land by God but did not hold on to his blessing. He shared it in order to have peace." I was blown away at their response to a difficult question. Their grasp of a complicated situation was more profound than what we expected.

In addition to the wonderful time of worship and devotion, these young people also discussed the importance of communion. They spoke about the symbolism connected to this sacrament and why it is important for us to take part as a community. They then served each other communion.

This weekend inspired me as I saw how young adults rise to the occasion and take the lead when we give them the opportunity, space and guidance they need. May their example spread – Teach Me, Show Me, Let Me Do It! While this was the guiding theme for the weekend, they are ready for more. Perhaps we should allow the next generation more opportunities to lead in every area of life.

Hedva Haymov
Programs Director

Read more about Musalaha HERE.

The Outreach Foundation is seeking $5,000 to support Musalaha’s ministries of reconciliation.

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