Executive Director Update
I am fresh off a visit to Israel/Palestine where I met with alumni in the Middle East, parents of alumni, and other leaders in the peace movement. As always, I am inspired by the number of grass roots Palestinians and Israelis who are deeply committed to freedom, justice, equality, safety and security for everyone in the region. 
Hands of Peace News and Updates
In October, older Hands of Peace alumni started a joint project with EcoPeace Middle East. EcoPeace focuses on environmental diplomacy working to bring attention to natural resources that are shared by Israeli and Palestinian villages. The EcoPeace program was designed as a “collective impact” project for older alumni from Hands of Peace to receive training from EcoPeace on environmental diplomacy and implement a project of their choosing with Israeli and Palestinian communities. 
Hands of Peace San Diego is excited to announce our new Raising Youth Voices Program, managed by new team member Nicky Riordan. The Raising Youth Voices program is a peer-to peer dialogue and leadership training pilot. The program will connect Hands of Peace alumni with youth from the broader community, with a focus on diversity. Facilitators will be a combination of Hands of Peace alumni and local youth, and will pair up to lead dialogue about issues of concern to youth.
Hands of Peace has officially joined the New Trier Multifaith Alliance as an interfaith organization. The New Trier Multifaith Alliance, with its broad range of religious backgrounds, strives to serve by offering programs that address the interests and concerns of the suburban communities of Chicago’s North Shore through programs and dialogue. Presently the Alliance is comprised of fifteen member faith-based communities. We are thrilled to be a member of this wonderful community actively promoting interfaith cooperation! 
On Christmas Day, Hands of Peace lost a dear friend with the passing of Bill Gifford of Evanston. Bill and his wife Carolyn were generous donors to Hands of Peace and part of the "Garrison Group" of neighbors who hosted Israeli and Palestinian staff for many years. With his broad smile and gentle sense of humor, Bill always made their Hands of Peace guests feel like family. Bill and Carolyn were longtime members of the Church in the Chapel, Alice Millar Chapel, Northwestern University, where Carolyn is still very active. " Like me," Carolyn says, "Bill believed in the vision of Hands of Peace and the hope for peace that it stands for." He will be missed.
Maeve Plunkett - Alumna in Action

Hands of Peace alumna Maeve Plunkett has been awarded a $1,000 Study Abroad Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi - the nation’s oldest and most selective college honor society - to support her semester study in Rabat, Morocco. Maeve is one of 25 students nationwide to receive the award. Reflecting on the ways in which Hands of Peace shaped her academic interest in borders, she says, "Hands of Peace inspired my interest in borders - how we draw them and how we interact with them. In 2015, I listened in dialogue as my friends from the Middle East described hours spent at checkpoints on their way to school or worship, filled with images of barbed wire and tight turnstiles. Next semester I will be studying abroad in Morocco in a program titled “Migration and Transnational Identity.” Hands of Peace planted the question in my mind and I am now reaping the fruit, which, as it turns out, is many more questions, each of which is bringing me around the world to seek answers and understanding."
Multi-Narrative Adult Trips

In November , more than 30 curious travelers returned from their journey of a lifetime. Our fourth multi-narrative trip was possibly our most impactful yet as we spent more time with Hands of Peace alumni and their families throughout Israel/Palestine.  Customized for our supporters, the Hands of Peace Multi-Narrative Tours offer a combination of rich historical, cultural and spiritual experiences, along with encounters that help us to better understand the current political reality. Trips are scheduled for September 9-20, 2019 and March 2-13, 2020 . If you are interested in joining us for one of these trips, now's your chance to be added to our "YES, I'm interested!" list!
Middle East Updates
Nearly 40 alumni attended our second of three seminars for participants from the summers of 2016/2017/2018. The seminar began with a tour of East Jerusalem and a presentation on settlements within the city and housing demolitions. In the afternoon, an Israeli professor shared a presentation on the history of his Jewish family who arrived in the region in the late 19 th  century. Programs that present different perspectives are designed to challenge our young alumni. Our overnight stay at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam was amazing, and included a tour of the shared Israeli/Palestinian village midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  Three dialogue sessions allowed alumni from each of the past summers to discuss many of the sensitive issues facing them at home, and address the topics discussed over the weekend. 
Chicago Updates and Upcoming Events
The first-ever overnight American Alumni Seminar is scheduled for Friday March 15 - Saturday March 16. Programming will include speakers, dialogue, and a service project. We are pleased to announce that Interfaith Youth Core's, Brian Anderson, will be our Chicago guest speaker. Brian Anderson, Senior Leadership Manager, will provide our alumni with the skills necessary to advance interfaith cooperation in their schools and communities. Chicago based alumni will also have the opportunity to watch the San Diego speaker cover topics on youth activism and leadership development. All out-of-town alumni will be invited to watch both speakers virtually. Please note, this seminar is open to alumni from 2014-2018.

If you are interested in hosting the overnight or providing support for this seminar, please reach out to Chicago Site Director Darling Kittoe
San Diego Updates and Upcoming Events
The first-ever overnight American Alumni Seminar will be held on Friday March 15 - Saturday March 16. Programming will include a service project, dialogue and expert speakers on topics of youth activism and leadership development. If you are interested in hosting the overnight or providing support for this seminar please reach out to San Diego Site Director Sarah Heirendt . Out of town alumni will be invited to zoom in for the speakers.  This seminar will be open to alumni who participated in the past 4 years.
Hands of Peace & The San Diego Jewish Film Festival Present: The 90 Minute War

Watch the film on the following dates & times:

Monday, February 11, 2019
5:00 p.m.
Reading Cinemas Town Square
4665 Clairemont Dr, San Diego, CA 92117

Saturday, February 16, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Reading Cinemas Town Square
4665 Clairemont Dr, San Diego, CA 92117

* Post screening you are invited to join us for a discussion about the film at the home of Bob Ohlweiler & Holly Williamson on Sunday, February 17 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Sarah Heirendt for details.

After decades of strife and failed peace talks to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel's prime minister and the president of the Palestinian Authority agree there is only one solution left: a winner-take-all soccer match. This brilliant mockumentary (helmed by veteran Israeli director Eyal Halfon) stars award-winning actors Moshe Ivgy and Norman Issa. Based on a successful Israeli novel of the same name,  The 90 Minute War  offers a bold, humorous, and thought-provoking take on the conflict, and an ingenious plan for a bloodless resolution. View the trailer here.

Purchase your tickets here and use special discount code: HOP19. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting or calling the Box Office: 858-362-1348.
Important Dates to Remember
Chicago Benefit
April 7, 2019
Chicago Botanic Garden

For volunteer opportunities, contact Darling Kittoe .
San Diego Benefit
March 10, 2019
Hilton Del Mar

For volunteer opportunities, contact Sarah Heirendt .
For Sponsorship Opportunities, contact Diana Kutlow.
You can support Hands of Peace by donating exciting auction items to the Spring Benefits in Chicago and San Diego. We are looking for items offering unusual and unique experiences, travel opportunities, celebrity and chef dinners, vacation homes, sport and concert tickets, and more. Do you know a celebrity, have a vacation home, or travel miles you could contribute? Back stage access to an upcoming show? Consider donating it as an auction item to the Spring Benefit!

For contributions to the Chicago Benefit contact Marily Schonthal .

For contributions to the San Diego benefit contact Anna Arft .
In the New Year, as we all take stock, Hands of Peace is deeply grateful to all the supporters who make up the Hands of Peace family. You open your homes as host families, put your children in our care as parents, and invest in a more peaceful future as donors. You volunteer to create exciting, meaningful events, round up food for the Summer Program, and spread the word through Birthday fundraisers, social media posts and word of mouth. You are the ambassadors for Hands of Peace. You empower Israeli, Palestinian and American youth as leaders of change. In the words of Hands of Peace alumnus and chaperone Maor Yehiel, "Hands of Peace isn't something we do, it is a way of life." Thank you for making Hands of Peace your way of life.
To volunteer with Hands of Peace, please click here!

Hands of Peace | (224) 406-5045 | info@handsofpeace.org | www.handsofpeace.org

Summer Program Dates: July 10, 2019 - July 29 2019