We form and maintain on-going interfaith encounter groups, or centers, that bring together neighboring communities across the country. Each center is led by an interfaith coordinating team with one person for each community in the area.
The goal of this group is to develop into a “mini-community” that exemplifies the desired relations of mutual respect and friendship while respecting and reinforcing the unique identity of each community. These groups then act as models for the surrounding community of how multiple faiths can live side by side in peace while becoming growing islands of coexistence communities.
The backbone of the groups’ process is the monthly session of joint study. Dedicated to one theme each time, these sessions usually open with a short presentation followed by joint study and discussion of the beliefs, practices and sacred texts of the respective traditions.
Women’s Interfaith Encounters (WIE)
In these encounters, Muslim, Christian, Druze and Jewish women study topics of relevance to women from the perspective of the different religions. Not only is interfaith study is used as a vehicle for understanding, acceptance and respect for the “other”, but also as a way to deepen awareness of one’s own religion.
The encounter is a source of strength and empowerment for women to recognize their shared values and struggles. Through monthly meetings and shared religious celebrations and conferences, WIE groups create a sacred space of trust, harmony and support during difficult times.
Youth Interfaith Encounters (YIE)
The YIE is a special place for young adults to have interfaith encounters with their conterparts of other faiths. These encounters are run by young people, for young people. Similar to the general groups and the WIE groups, the YIE groups also develop into “mini-communities” that seek to induce the desired change in the larger society. The YIE also acts as a gateway for young adults to join the interfaith encounter process.
If you would like to see what takes place at these encounters (along with other events and projects), visit our Yahoo groups page.
Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue (IPD)
We hold regular interfaith meetings and conferences in cooperation with Palestinian organizations, with the objective to build peace between the two nations on a people-to- people level. Because we take an inter-religious, non-political, approach we are able to engage in the process people from all parts of the political spectrum in their respective societies. Even as the violence continues, these meetings are carried on cautiously, in carefully selected locations.
There are 3 sub-groups of the IPD:
- Jerusalem/Hebron Youth Interfaith Encounter Group
- ADAMA Interfaith Encounter
Visit our Yahoo groups page for more information.> The Middle East Abrahamic Forum
This is an annual conference of people from all three Abrahamic religions who aim to support both cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect as powerful tools for peace building in the Middle East. A group of Muslim, Jewish and Christian practitioners meet to discuss how they can work together in supporting acceptance and coexistence in and between their local communities and to plan and promote further regional programs. Currently these activities take place with partners from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. We are now exploring the expansion of this forum to a Euro-Meditteranean Abrahamic Forum. In April 2010 we had its first successful conference with additional partners from Belgium, Greece, Lithuania, Poland and Spain.
Visit our Yahoo groups page for more information.> Cross-Cultural Study Visits
This program sponsors field trips to various sacred locations and archeological sites with the objective of educating the public about the meaning and significance of the land, and its value to each of the monotheistic traditions.> God’s Holy Mountain
This is an independent study project under the auspices of the IEA. Based on the IEA’s fundamental premises – that religion not only can, but must play a positive role in resolving conflict and that setting aside politics, we can with respect and integrity breach any subject – God’s Holy Mountain has taken on what has become the symbol of conflict: the issue of the Temple Mount / Al-Haram Al-Sharif. The project aims to transform the Temple Mount, from a place of contention and strife to one that is truly God’s Holy Mountain, a house of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7), fulfilling God’s original mandate to the Jewish people to manifest the One God to the world: “On that day, God will be One and His Name One” (Zechariah 14:9).
To see the Project’s research – including publication in leading Journal of Jewish law (Tehumin) – and how the dialogue around the research is progressing, please feel free to visit the Project site.> The Oil for Peace Project
Oil for Peace is a not for profit business that strives to bring Jews, Muslims, and Christians together for the promotion of mutual respect, cultural appreciation, and coexistence.
Oil for Peace strives to achieve this aim by marketing traditionally hand-made items, which symbols our respect to the legacy of our fore-fathers. The profits from our joint enterprise are invested in inter-faith and inter-cultural activity in order to build and sustain bridges between the different communities of Israel.
Oil for Peace was co-founded by three participants of the Interfaith Encounter Association, Noy Mordekovitch, Ahmad Hamdan and Itamar Tahar-Lev, and built as a model for co-operation based on mutual respect and trust.> Friends of the IEA
Set up outside the Middle East, an important role of these groups is to help the IEA sustain its work to build the human side of peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East. The Friends of IEA sponsors several fundraising and information sessions each year in various locations around the country and is always looking for volunteers. Please visit our contact page if you are interested.