Important Dates to Remember:

Save the Date for our Chicago Annual Benefit Evening on Sunday, 
 April 17, 2016

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
March, 2016

Hands of Peace News and Updates
Hands of Peace  board members and staff from Chicago, San Diego and Israel/Palestine gathered together for an incredibly productive board retreat in San Diego February 26 - February 28, which concluded with an insightful Q&A session with our dedicated Regional Managers from Israel/Palestine and some of our local San Diego supporters. 

The board focused on strategic planning for 2017, as well as delving into some of the challenges we face due to the work we are doing. The retreat was a great way to reinforce the community and team orientation of the board, as well as provide an opportunity for staff and board members to convene and work together on important topics face to face. 
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 renewed support and 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.

Slingshot Guide 2016
Hands of Peace is proud to be named a Top Innovative Organization by Slingshot Guide for the 2nd year in a row! The annual Slingshot Guide highlights the best nonprofit organizations - including interfaith organizations - that are doing work in the Jewish world. The organizations that are included in the Guide are driving the future engagement of people by motivating audiences and communities - both within and beyond the Jewish community. Inclusion in the Guide is an important recognition of our dedication to positively impacting the world around us. 

Summer Program Updates
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.

A special "thank you" to a small group of senior alumni who are developing the curriculum for the pre-program education sessions that help our participants prepare for the summer program. Safaya Fawzi, Janna Lyhus, and Claire Fisher have been meeting with Chicago staff every two weeks to develop content that will help equip American participants for their roles in the summer program. Three two-hour sessions will be conducted prior to the beginning of the summer program: Identity and Culture; Power, Privilege and Peacemaking; and Introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 
Staff Highlight
Hands of Peace is extremely fortunate to have so many of our 
alumni want to return years later as staff, and this month we  would like to  highlight  Julia Duerst, our Chicago Program Director.  Her many tasks include planning and coordinating the summer program and our alumni engagement in Chicago with Site Director Rhonda McCarty , grant writing, website updates, as well as a myriad of other administrative tasks and logistical planning.

Here are reflections of how Hands of Peace has molded her.

My summer as a Hands of Peace participant was six years ago. As a white girl from Glenview who had never left the country, this really was the first active step I took out of naïveté. In dialogue at Hands of Peace, I was empowered by information and experience regarding conflict that I could actually apply to activism and coursework, for the first time.
A few months ago I reread the speech I wrote for the Farewell Banquet my XL year. I was seventeen. I remembered the girl I have buried under everything I am now, everything I know now. Of course I didn't know then, but I was still naïve. Only just beginning to explore, understand, and have the language to critique the structural power imbalances that shape our world.
In the past four years, I have been to El Salvador and heard the history and inconceivable suffering of the Salvadoran civil war from those closest to it; lived in Greece; elected to write a research paper that was selected for presentation at the Middle East Studies Association's first undergraduate session of their annual conference; received a grant to travel to Istanbul, Turkey and further that research; planned and executed my campus's first Middle East Studies Symposium from scratch, the success of which pushed our Foreign Languages department to finally offer Arabic; led a program unpacking race, gender, and religion in Havana, Cuba; wrote an honors thesis that put black feminist theory in conversation with black women's activism in Chicago public housing; and deconstructed the history of crime and punishment in the United States in a prison, with inmates as my classmates. The good intentions, intense empathy, and desire to see a world free of suffering I possessed at seventeen have been cultivated by aggressive ethics and an education-based social justice framework to elicit meaningful action. I am back at Hands of Peace today because I am bursting, as an educator, to bring everything I have learned back to the program that got me on my feet.

Middle East Updates
Hands of Peace  recently held our latest middle east seminar which
included 47 participants (including a large group of ol der alumni). 

Here is what some of our alumnis had to say about the latest seminar:

" The seminars are what preserves the trust and hope on both sides. Without them it is easier to be swallowed into the regular cycle of hatred." -Noa, JI, 2015

"The Alumni Seminars are definitely important. I am always happy to see friends from HOP - I feel at home among those people, and like I can be the best version of myself. In addition, I always come excited and expecting to explore new perspectives." -Yonatan, JI, 2014

"Yes, it keeps us connected with Hands of Peace and in each seminar there is a new experience, thoughts, emotions, we get deeper and deeper in our case, it gives us the opportunity to speak our minds." -Noran, Palestinian, 2015

Our alumni look forward to these opportunities to be together and to continue the process that they begin during our summer programs!

Chicago Updates and 
Upcoming Events
Volunteers needed for Chicago Benefit
This year's Hands of Peace Benefit Evening,  Riding the Peace Train, will be held at the Museum of Science and Industry on Sunday, April 17th - 6:00 to 9:30 pm. Featured speakers will be "Promised Band" filmmakers, Jen Heck and Maria de la O. Additionally, Hands of Peace alumni, Adam Heffez '06, Katie Hughes '04, and Bashar Sorri '06, will share how Hands of Peace has influenced their lives and how they continue to work for peace.  It takes a lot of hands to pull off an event of this magnitude. Volunteers are needed to setup, take down, clean up, and manage various aspects of the auctions. Anyone interested in being a part in this way should contact Tina Plunkett.

Alumni Event - Identity, Power and Oppression
Saturday, March 19th 1:00 - 4:00pm
Chicago Alumni will participate in a workshop on "Identity, Power and Oppression" at Chicago Freedom School on Saturday, March 19th. Participants will reflect on their own identity and how their identities intersect with systems of power and oppression. Together, participants will develop practices to name, interrupt and transform oppression in communities, workplaces, schools, and day to day interactions. 

HOPEducation - Film Dialogue Night
"The Promised Band"
Wednesday, April 6th 6:30-9:00pm
The Promised Band
The Promised Band
We are excited to introduce you to the work of filmmaker Jen Heck, who will be our special guest at this year's Chicago Annual Benefit Evening. Heck's film "The Promised Band" is due for release this spring. It features a group of women, with questionable musical talent, who form a band to navigate borders in Israel and Palestine. One cast member, Lina Qadri, is the mother of a Hands of Peace alumna. Join us for this sneak peek of the film and plan to meet Jen Heck and her partner at the Chicago Benefit Evening on April 17th.  For more information or to RSVP, please contact  Rhonda McCarty.

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 from March 24th 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 for a  special discounted rate.

San Diego Updates and 
Upcoming Events
Alumni Club Update
Over 25 teens joined the Hands of Peace San Diego Alumni Club to create two murals at the Muramid Mural Museum in Oceanside, California. The participants included Hands of Peace alumni, as wells as youth chosen for our upcoming Hands of Peace summer
program, and area youth from local churches, temples and mosques. The group was 
led by ArtMiles founder Joanne Tawfilis and artist Cecelia Linayo.  After a meaningful discussion on  Anti-Islamaphobia and Tolerance, the ideas the youth put forward were sketched onto two canvasses and the painting began. Several hours later, two beautiful murals had emerged. One of the murals is going to be delivered to a Syrian refugee camp in Samos, Greece by an ArtMiles coordinator who will be visiting the camp next month. The Hands of Peace Alumni Club will present the other mural as a gift to the North County Islamic Foundation (Carlsbad Musallah) in honor of their support of Hands of Peace.

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 during the month of 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 a true learning journey, 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. The reader will experience first hand how a change of beliefs about people results in new capacities and the possibility of a more healthy future.  To learn more about this book, you can visit their website. If you are interested in participating in the San Diego Book Club, please contact Eileen Maurer.
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 by April  15th for a special pre-purchase price at

If you are in San Diego and looking for a way to help, and would like to join a really fun committee, contact Kim Lande for more information!

Communication Update
As Hands of Peace moves 
into  the new 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!

Like us on Facebook
  Home   /  About   /  Contact