Save the Date

San Diego Benefit

April 29, 2018

at The Crossings at Carlsbad

Click here to purchase your tickets today!

Save the Date

Chicago Benefit

May 6, 2018

at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Click here to purchase your tickets today!
Important Dates to Remember:

2018 Summer Program Dates
July 11, 2018 - July 30, 2018

Join us in Chicago or San Diego  
Farewell Celebration 
July 29, 2018

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February, 2018

Executive Director Update
On February 2-3, nearly 50 alumni from the summers of 2015/2016/2017 gathered in  Nazareth for the second Hands of Peace Alumni Seminar of the year.  This marked the first seminar designed specifically for younger alumni  as we begin focusing on differentiating programming for different phases of the Hands of Peace experience. I had the privilege and honor to attend the seminar in person and see the amazing energy these young Palestinian and Israeli leaders bring whenever they get together.  In the section below , alumna Aliza Nussbaum-Cohen (Chicago Hand 2015; San Diego XL 2016) shares her experience attending her first Middle East seminar - as a rare American participating in alumni dialogue overseas.  Aliza is studying in a Jerusalem-based program during a gap year before college.

These seminars always inspire me as I watch our alumni continue to walk the path to peace.

 Hands of Peace News and Updates
Auction Action
The Hands of Peace Benefits are coming up soon -  San Diego on April 29 and  Chicago on May 6 - and  you can make the Live Auction a success by donating special experiences. Do you have a ski house, Hawaiian condo, Costa Rica beach house? A New York hideaway or theater connections? A couple of plane tickets or a Palm Springs getaway? Do you know a  celebrity who would play a round of golf, meet for lunch or dinner?  Could you offer special access to a music or sports event?  Any other fun exciting possibilities?

If so, we want to hear from you! Please contact San Diego Benefit Chair Kim Lande, or Chicago Benefit Chair MK Anderson. On behalf of all the Hands of Peace youth leaders who will benefit from your donation, thank you!

Next Tour of Israel/Palestine
October 21 - November 1, 2018
If you have always wanted to visit the Middle East and are looking for a deeper, more meaningful approach than an average tour, you can experience a life-changing dual narrative tour with Hands of Peace Founder Gretchen Grad.   Professional Israeli and Palestinian guides offer multi-perspective historical, cultural and spiritual experiences.  The trip includes visits with Hands of Peace staff and alumni in the region for authentic personal connections and a more nuanced understanding of the region. Trip size is capped at 30 participants, so make your plans soon.

For more details, click hereQuestions? Contact Gretchen Grad.

An American at a Middle East Seminar
by Aliza Nussbaum-CohenAliza
Participating in a recent Hands of Peace seminar in Nazareth was intense, wonderful and difficult; similar to the summer experience in some ways, and totally different in others. On a Friday night in Nazareth, I found myself singing the Hands of Peace song with some of my closest friends and also a bunch of teenagers whom I didn't know, but I knew shared a similar experience to mine.

Hands of Peace holds multiple seminars for Israeli and Palestinian alumni each year. Because I am in Jerusalem at the Shalom Hartman Institute's joint Israeli-American gap year program, I was eager to take advantage of being nearby and having the opportunity to participate. The two-day seminar included four dialogue sessions, a self-guided tour of Old Nazareth, a lecture, and a storytelling workshop.

As in the Summer Program I had to find my place in dialogue. As an American, I cannot fully experience the conflict because I don't live here permanently. On the other hand, I am deeply committed to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. 

Because the seminar is short, it  was hard for our dialogue group to confront sensitive and personal issues. However, unlike the Summer Program, the reality was present - not an idea for the future, but immediate. We were not just talking hypothetically about Israeli alumni joining the army at some point in the distant future, but how we feel about it now as many edge closer to their enlistment dates.

The social divide between Israelis and Palestinians was palpable. It also brought me right up to face one of my deepest inner conflicts. Does being empathetic to the Palestinian cause diminish my identity as a Jew who loves Israel, as a Zionist? It is a question I am grappling with now. I'm not sure if Israel can be Jewish and democratic simultaneously.

Leaving the seminar was hard, because I had so many unfinished conversations and didn't know the next time I was going to see my friends. The experience of walking into the bubble of HOP dialogue and then exiting back into reality was intense. I am grateful to have participated in the seminar and look forward to attending the next one!

Middle East Updates
Seminar Update

Hands of Peace  promotes "bringing people together," but 2017 chaperone Razan was in for a big surprise at our February Alumni Seminar.  Razan, a Palestinian Citizen of Israel living in Tel Aviv, arr ived at the seminar on a group bus from the coast.  Looking at the roster of participants she would be chaperoning that weekend, she noticed someone  on the list with the same last name as her. It's a common name and she  didn't really think twice about it.  After the second bus arrived, Razan met Saed, a Palestinian alumnus living in the West Bank.  Saed was a Hand in San Diego in 2016. Within minutes - after laughing about the coincidence of each having a relative from Norway - Razan and Saed learned that they were talking about the same Norwegian and that they were actually second cousins!!  In the aftermath of 1948, Razan's and Saed's families fled their Arab village, with Razan's family moving to an area in today's Israel and Saed's family relocating in an area that is today part of the West Bank/Palestine. Both Razan and Saed had their own family trees and, thanks to a Hands of Peace seminar, their family trees have merged and grown into one larger tree.

Chicago Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Night
Political Trends and the Evolving Israeli Narrative: Why Grassroots Movements are Critical to Reshaping the Future
Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Location TBD

Dr. Dani Filc, MD, PhD. is Full Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University. Among his many publications are the books Hegemony and Populism in Israel, Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health-Care in Israel and The Political Right in Israel, along with papers on populism, Israeli society, the right to health care and health policy. Filc, a former chairperson and currently a board member at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and one of the founders and current member of the coordinating committee of Standing Together, a grass roots Jewish-Arab movement fighting for peace and social justice, will be joining us for a conversation about "Political Trends and the Evolving Israeli Narrative: Why Grassroots Movements are Critical to Reshaping the Future."  To register for this event, please RSVP here via Facebook  or to  Rhonda McCarty .

San Diego Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Movie Night
"Wrestling Jerusalem"
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cardiff Branch Library
2081 Newcastle Ave, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

Wrestling Jerusalem - 90 SEC TRAILER
Join us for a community screening of "Wrestling Jerusalem." In a tour-de-force performance, writer-actor Aaron Davidman conjures a host of different characters while seeking answers to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Davidman takes a multidimensional journey into the heart of the Middle East, and the intersection of politics, identity and spiritual yearning. He embodies and gives voice to 17 different characters on all sides of the existential divide - deftly moving between male and female, Jewish and Muslim, Israeli and Arab - modeling what it takes to bear witness through the eyes of the other. Filmmaker Dylan Kussman moves freely and seamlessly among three locations - a live theater audience, the open expanse of a vast desert, and a small dressing room - exploiting the interplay of theatrical spontaneity, cinematic poetry, and spiritual intimacy. The result is a unique hybrid of stage and cinema that reignites hope for the future of this troubled region. This event is free and open to the public. Please arrive by  6:00 p.m.  for refreshments and mingling. Screening will begin promptly at  6:15 p.m. and  a short discussion will follow the film.  To register for this event,  please RSVP via Facebook  or to  Sarah Heirendt .

HOPEducation Event

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