November 21, 2019, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
A program by Shorashim/Judur/Roots, a Palestinian-Israeli Initiative for Understanding
Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council
Please enter through South Lobby – Refreshments served after the event.
Shadi Abu Awwad, the Roots Palestinian youth director, and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, one of the founders of Roots, will share their personal and interconnected stories about their work to build human understanding and trust in their communities.
Shadi Abu Awwad was born into a family that took a major leadership role in the First Palestinian Intifada/uprising. Shadi was imbued from a young age with deep Palestinian patriotism and activism – and with a fierce hatred of Israelis.
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, an Orthodox rabbi and passionate Zionist settler has lived most of his life in the West Bank where Palestinians make up 90% of the population. Yet 33 years passed until he first had a real conversation with a Palestinian.
That Palestinian was Shadi’s uncle Ali. Rabbi Hanan was profoundly transformed by his friendship with Ali and with other Palestinians. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism was utterly complicated by the parallel universe that they introduced him to.
Shadi’s brother was shot and almost killed by an Israeli soldier. An Israeli doctor heroically saved his brother’s life. Confounded by the contradiction, Shadi began a journey that ultimately brought him to see a human being and a partner on the other side.
Roots, the Israeli Palestinian grassroots initiative for understanding, nonviolence, and transformation, was founded five years ago by Rabbi Hanan, Ali, and other local activists to build bridges of reconciliation between the two sides.
Shadi created the Roots youth program and was its first director. Local Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, who would otherwise never meet each other, learn to acknowledge each other’s humanity and become a new type of leader who can work together with the other side – and not against it – to create a better future for their peoples.
The Fred and Elsie Deutsch Scholar-in-Residence program allows various educators to bring their knowledge and insight on topics such as Judaism, Israel, Social Justice, and more, to our Congregation.