I’m headed to Israel next week. The following news release explains all. I’ll be blogging about the trip.
NJ interfaith trip to Israel to include
Christians, Jews, and Muslims
New Jersey clergy representing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths are joining together to lead an interfaith trip to Israel & the West Bank — Roots of Faith — this October.
The 32 participants, divided equally among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, are traveling together with the goal of promoting peace and understanding. The trip itinerary includes the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the opportunity to address the challenges to peaceful co-existence between Jews and Palestinians.
The group will visit the major sites of all three religions from October 14th to October 22nd, and include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Haifa and the Galilee. The trip will include stops at the Bahai Gardens, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Mount of Beatitudes, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Haram Ash-Sharif (the Temple Mount), the Western Wall and Azza refugee camp.
Leading the trip are Rabbi Matthew D. Gewirtz Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills; The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark; Rev. Bob Morris, Executive Director of Interweave; and Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef of the Waris Cultural Research and Development Center, Convener of the Council of Imams in NJ and a Senior Advisor to Mayor Cory Booker (Newark).
Trip participants include Pastor Reggie Osborne of Bethel World Outreach Ministries, Inc., Newark; Rev. Steven Davis of the Calvary Gospel Church, Newark; Rev. Brent Bates of Grace Church, Newark; and Imam Abu Muslimah of the Islamic Center of East Orange.
The trip leaders are also members of the Steering Committee of the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope & Peace, a grassroots organization formed in September of 2007 as a way of mobilizing religious organizations and leaders to join those already in action against violence, addiction, poverty and neglect affecting young people in the city of Newark.
Also participating in the mission are Andrew Silow-Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, musician and composer Matt Turk and E. James Smith, documentarian.
The participants will be escorted in Israel by Guide and Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, PhD, director of the Israeli Rabbinical Program of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Rosenstein also serves as the director of Makom ba-Galil, an Israeli seminar center that engages in programming to foster pluralism and coexistence.
While in Israel the group will meet Sufi Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, director of Anwar il-Salaam, a Muslim peace and dialogue center based in Nazareth; Fathi Marshood, co-director of Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s Initiative for Social Change; representatives of The Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF), a joint Palestinian Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict; Dr. Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora, co-founders of Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information; Sami Awad of the Holyland Trust Organization; and Bishop Suheil Dawani and Canon John Organ of St George Cathedral.
The Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace is a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders committed to effectively mobilize resources in Newark. The group works collaboratively with city officials and other organizations in Newark and in the surrounding communities to lead people away from the paths of despair and violence toward the paths of hope and peace. A result of the Coalition’s work in the City of Newark has been interfaith dialogue between members of the three faith communities which reach beyond the city. Clergy members have exchanged pulpits and fostered programs which have brought members of the three faiths together for dialogue and exchange.