Important Dates to Remember:

Save the Date for our San Diego Annual Benefit Evening on 
S unday, 
May 1, 2016

Summer Program Dates are 
July 13, 2016 - 
 August 1, 2016

Summer Program Farewell Receptions will be held in 
San Diego and Chicago on 
 July 31, 2016

Like us on Facebook
April, 2016

Hands of Peace News and Updates
Upcoming Israel/Palestine Trip
October 16 - 27, 2016
Customized for our supporters, the October, 2016 Hands of Peace Dual Narrative Tour will offer a combination of rich historical, cultural and spiritual experiences, along with experiences that help define the current political reality. As we travel together, we will engage with people whose personal stories bring both sides of the conflict to life. This trip will challenge us on many levels, but the result will be an increased knowledge of the conflict that will provide travelers with a deeper understanding of Hands of Peace and the work that we do.  To learn more about this incredible opportunity, please visit our Mejdi/Hands of Peace website.

Riding the Peace Train Benefit Update
Hats off to our dedicated Chicago Benefit Committee for putting together a memorable evening.  The highlight of the evening for our 300 guests was the series of reflections from three outstanding alumni who are putting their Hands of Peace experience to work in their adult lives.  What fascinating journeys each of them is having! We also enjoyed WBEZ host Jerome McDonnell's conversation with Jen Heck and Maria De La O about their new documentary  "The Promised Band"   and we raised $125,000 for student scholarships! Here is a sampling of some of the pictures from our fabulous evening:
Don Clark (Advisory Board), Ellen Clark, Gretchen Grad (Board Member, Founder), Dr. Margaret Lee (Advisory Board, Event Host)
Rabbi Sam Gordon (Congregation Sukkat Shalom, Wilmette), Rabbi Ike Serotta (Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism, Highland Park), Wendy Rhodes (Board Chair, Hands of Peace), Rabbi Evan Moffic (Congregation Solel, Highland Park) , and Rabbi Ari Moffic ( ) 
To view all of the pictures from the event, please click here. 
Thank you to everyone that rode the peace train with us!

Summer Program Updates
July 13th - August 1st
Both San Diego and Chicago are gearing up for the 2016 Summer Program. Participants
have been selected and are being prepared for an intensive experience that will allow  them the opportunity to re-think their assumptions, stereotypes and beliefs . Anyone interested in sponsoring activities, donating meals, supplies or time to the Summer Program should contact Julia Duerst in Chicago or Eileen Maurer in San Diego.
Volunteer Highlight
Hands of Peace is blessed to have dedicated staff and alumni to highlight every month. We also want to ensure we recognize our volunteers. This month, we would like to introduce the Middletons, a San Diego family that is an integral part of our Hands of Peace family.

T he Middletons a re realtors in North County San Diego, with Burke Real Estate Consultants, Inc.   They are both Certified International Property Specialists and have certifications in Military Relocation and Resort and Second-Home Properties.   Glen and Rocio believe in the Hands of Peace program so much that they have pledged 10% of their commissions to Hands of Peace.  "We know the people who are the stewards of the Hands of Peace program, know that the funds are being used for the nobelist of causes and we believe in it with all our hearts."

Glen, Rocio and their son Scott first heard about Hands of Peace during a worship service last spring at Christ Presbyterian Church in Carlsbad, CA.  They immediately knew this was something they wanted to be a part of and offered to be a host family. Summer of 2015 they hosted Yonatan, a Jewish Israeli participant. Yonaton had participated in Chicago the previous summer and was returning to Hands of Peace as a San Diego XL.

"Hosting a young man like Yonatan was such an awesome experience that we're all-in with Hands of Peace."  When Scott Silk, San Diego Site Director, asked Glen to be on the San Diego Advisory Board he knew it was a perfect fit for him.  As Glen says, "We're learning daily through our interaction with this program.  We Skype with Yonatan nearly every Saturday, Rocio is helping out with the food committee and is involved with the coordination of Culture Night during the Summer program.  We try to participate in the HOPEducation events as much as possible throughout the year, because there is so much we don't know about that part of the world, that we never would learn about by watching the "news".

We are so grateful for the support and generosity that Glen and Rocio have shown to Hands of Peace and for their dedicated commitment to this program!

Middle East Updates
Hands of Peace took the first step into the world of community organizing when   Greg Galluzo and Christina Gonzales,  professional community organizers from Gamaliel  ( flew to Israel/Palestine to train our alumni in effective ways to participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. 

The training began by meeting  with HOP staff, which included chaperones, facilitators and regional managers, and then diving into the weekend with recent and veteran alumni from the three Middle East delegations.

The challenging training was held in Haifa. The goal of Gamaliel  was  to work with our staff and alumni and give them the tools they need to turn their own community projects into reality.

At the conclusion of the leadership training, small groups of participants identified their own community projects to explore. Some of these incredibly brave ideas include:
  • Serving African refugees in Israel
  • Improving transportation and access to schools for children in the unrecognized Bedouin villages in Southern Israel
  • Setting up a dialogue project between a Jewish Israeli school and a Palestinian Israeli school
  • Working to improve the rights and accessibility of people with disabilities in the West Bank
These are just some of the innovative projects that are being vetted through our new leadership training program. Stay tuned to see how these projects come to fruition.
Chicago Updates and 
Upcoming Events
Attention Chicago Supporters:
Chicago is forming a new committee to provide hospitality at HOPEducation and recruitment events. Contact Rhonda McCarty if you are interested in being a part of this new committee. 

Chicago Alumni Group Update:

The Chicago Alumni Working Group has been hard at work in developing our participant educational prep sessions. This enterprising group has been asked to provide similar training for a variety of other groups, including Hands of Peace Host Families and other adult volunteers, the Chicago Freedom School, and First Presbyterian Church Libertyville in cooperation with Islamic Foundation North. What began as a small project for our own program has become an important part of community outreach. Great job Chicago Alumni!


Silk Road Rising Theater's "Mosque Alert" 

Sunday, May 1st 4:00pm
Chicago HOP supporters were treated to a  preview of the upcoming  Silk Road Rising Theater production, "Mosque Alert" at their March HOPEducation event. Playwright and producer, Jamil Khoury discussed the making of the play and the themes it addresses, primarily how we employ civic engagement in the context of Islamaphobia. "Mosque Alert" will run at Silk Road Rising Theater through May 1st. More information can be found at Silk Road Rising's website. Chicago HOP friends who would like to go as a group, mark your calendars for Sunday, May 1st and contact Rhonda McCarty to RSVP and to receive a  special discounted rate.

Come Say Goodbye to Ashley
Wednesday, May 25th 3:00 - 5:00pm
Glenview Community Church Founders Room
Save the Date! Chicago alumni, supporters, volunteers and friends: we will be gathering at Glenview Community Church Founders Room on Wednesday, May 25th for an open house from 3 until 5 pm to wish Ashley Bates, our outgoing Executive Director, a fond farewell. All are welcome!

San Diego Updates and 
Upcoming Events
Alumni Club Update
The Hands of Peace Alumni Club is working hard to promote
tolerance and understanding in our local San Diego community. In late February, a group of HOP Alumni, 2016 participants, and community members created two murals with the theme of "Promoting Acceptance and Fighting Islamophobia". One mural is being delivered to a Syrian refugee camp by a member of the United Nations. The other mural will be  presented to the North County Islamic Foundation  at their "Showers of Blessing" event this month. Hands of Peace alumni will be on hand to present the banner to this community.
Join us " Under  the Middle Eastern Sky" 
San Diego Hands of Peace Benefit Evening
Sunday, May 1st 5:30pm - 9:00pm  
Join Hands of Peace for an unforgettable evening "Under the Middle Eastern Sky" featuring the music, culture and cuisine of the Middle East at the World Beat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.

The event stars:
  • The Luminaries - Widely-acclaimed conscious hip-hop group that traveled to Israel and Palestine to spread peace through music and is now making a film about their experience
  • Todo Mundo - The world music powerhouse
  • gourmet Middle Eastern cuisine
  • local craft beer and wine
  • and a hookah lounge!
Purchase your tickets at

HOPEducation Event
Camp David at the Old Globe 
Saturday, May 21st at 2:00pm Join San Diego supporters for an afternoon at the Old Globe to watch the new play " Camp David" . During 13 extraordinary days in 1978, two world leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, under the watchful and sometimes exasperated eyes of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, hammered out an agreement that inspired the entire world. Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright  brings us a riveting and moving story filled with humor, insight, and surprises as three very different men, each devoutly committed to his people and also to his faith, find that peace is possible and that hope is always the better choice.

To purchase tickets, go to the Hands of Peace website, click on our "Donate Online" button, and select the "Camp David Tickets" option. 

San Diego Book Club
Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now" 
by Deborah Frieze and Margaret Wheatley
The next San Diego book club will be in June. We will share our thoughts on the book "Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now".  This book is filled with intimate stories and portraits of the people and places the authors came to know through years of working together to transform their communities. The journey begins in Mexico, then moves to Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Greece and the U.S. The authors' lives and ways of thinking have been transformed by these experiences and relationships - an experience they hope to recreate for the reader through vivid prose and photos. To learn more visit their website. If you are interested in participating in the San Diego Book Club, please contact  Eileen Maurer.

Communication Update
As Hands of Peace moves 
into  the world of electronic communication, we will be consolidating our emails into this newsletter format that will include all of our upcoming events for the month. This will take the place of some of the emails that have been going out about specific events. 

Like our Facebook page a nd spread the word among our HOP community that everyone should join our mailing list to stay informed!

Please add 
to your address book to ensure that our emails don't get lost in cyberspace and you don't miss anything!

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