Important Dates to Remember:
2018 Dual Narrative Trip to Israel/Palestine
October 21 - November 1, 2018

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September, 2017

Executive Director Update
Summer Program - Six Weeks Later
Just two months ago, nearly 100 young leaders convened in the suburbs of Chicago and San Diego to begin their Hands of Peace journey.  Each came with their own ideas of Israel-Palestine and their perception of the truth.   Most came with some apprehension of meeting and talking with "the other" for the first time in their lives.   Many came with stories they needed to share about what it was like growing up Palestinian, or Israeli, or American.   At first, tensions were high due to violence at Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Mosque.  Three participants lost friends, relatives or neighbors during the summer program due to the conflict.  The experience was hard for everyone, regardless of on which side of the Atlantic they live.  
During the three weeks, the participants yelled, screamed, cried, laughed, sang, hugged.   They learned how to share their truth. They learned how to share their stories.  And, most important, they learned how to listen.   For our Middle Eastern participants, they returned home with new perspectives through which they can view their lives and their narratives. They are able to ask more challenging questions, and they can better evaluate information they hear in their families, in their communities and in the media.   For our American participants, they have additional frameworks for looking at issues of social justice here in the United States, and ideas of how they can make a difference both at home and abroad.
The three-week summer program is just the beginning for most of our Hands.  Whether it is within or outside the Hands of Peace community, we know that most of the participants will continue to look for ways to challenge the status quo and to work for freedom, equality and justice for all Israelis, Palestinians and Americans.   In the weeks since the program ended, each of the three Middle East delegations have had follow up meetings, as have the Chicago-based American alumni.  San Diego-based American alumni will have their first meeting in just a few days.  And in October, the first Regional Seminar of our program year will be held.  This will be the first opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian alums from all years to mix and share about their lives and their experiences.
Everyone in the Hands of Peace community should be extremely proud of our young leaders.  We eagerly look forward to hearing more from our alumni in the weeks and months ahead.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace,

Hands of Peace notes with sorrow the recent passing of two valued members of the Chicago Advisory Board.

John Casey served as a member of the founding Board of Directors and later joined the Advisory Board. John's experience as Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs created a wealth of valuable  international connections, which he generously shared with HOP.  Notes of condolence may be sent to his wife Pat Casey at 3750 N. Lake Shore Dr. #11B, Chicago, IL 60613

Rev. Dr. Cotton Fite was a member of the HOP Advisory Board since 2013. Long a vocal advocate for Palestinian education and civic development, Cotton served as co-chair of the Seraj Library Project, building libraries throughout the West Bank. Notes of condolence may be sent to his wife Diane Fite at 195 Waukegan Rd. #111, Glenview, IL 60025.  A memorial service will be held for Cotton in Evanston, IL on Oct. 7. Click here for more details.

We are grateful for their dedication to our mission and will miss these compassionate, generous leaders.

 Hands of Peace News and Updates
In preparation of International Peace Day on September 21st, we are asking all Alumni, Participant Parents and Host Families to participate in a short 2:minute survey to describe how Hands of Peace has made a difference in your life. We will then showcase these stories on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Please click here to participate and don't forget to share something on your Facebook or Instagram page on September 21st, tag Hands of Peace, and use our hashtag #inspiredbyHOP.

Join us in filling up Facebook with inspiring stories!

Alumni Update - From Chicago to Japan!
by Mayar Darawshe
Five years ago, in 2012, I won the opportunity to be a part of a meaningful group of people and became a participant in Hands of Peace. The 3 weeks I spent in Chicago taught me values that, till this day, I'm still holding.

One year later, in 2013, I became an XL. Hands of Peace had plenty to offer. The skills I have acquired made me realize that I was selected in order to achieve a purpose. Not many people are aware of the conflict and its effect on Palestinians and Israelis. It is important for me to continue the work we've started during the summer program, since for me that is just the beginning.

Fast forward to the year 2017. I decided to participate in a program called JIPSC - Japan Israel Palestine Student Conference. I was worried at first of the idea of travelling to Japan on my own, after all this was a small program and there were only 15 participants. When the Facebook group was made, I clicked on the "members" button to see the people who I would be spending three weeks on the other side of the world with. I expected to find Israelis, Palestinians and Japanese people. However, what I did not expect at all was to see that three wonderful unique previous Hands of Peace participants and XLs also applied and were accepted into the program.

JIPSC is a program that gathers Israelis and Palestinians from Israel and Palestine and Japanese people from Japan, and conducts a month long program in Japan. The aim of the program is spreading awareness among the Japanese people about the conflict, and for Israelis and Palestinians to learn about the Japanese culture and traditions. Our first stop was Nagana Mura, a Hiroshima prefecture. Eight days later we moved to the city of Hiroshima and we stayed there for one week, and then spent the last week in Tokyo. During the three weeks in Japan, we had discussions and dialogues about the daily struggles, education, and future solutions.

Having four previous Hands of Peace participants in the same program, which very few people know of, may seem a coincidence at first. But after second thought, what I believe is that we are all seizing a chance to make a difference. Five years ago I was picked to represent an idea, and our job as Hands of Peace alumni is to continue the work we have started.

My experience in Japan was one of a kind and I recommend current and future Hand of Peace participants to apply and share the knowledge, wisdom and the positive spirits we've gained with other people worldwide. 

Middle East Updates
All 3 of our Middle East delegations have now held their Uni-National meetings post program to debrief about the summer, and bring alumni and current Hands together for the first time. These meetings are an essential part of the homecoming process for our Middle East participants as they begin to grapple  with the realities of being home. It is an opportunity for participants from Chicago and San Diego to get together and discuss their experiences during the summer program, and for  alumni from previous years to share about their experiences in the seminars, leadership program, and older alumni  programing,  and what the group can look forward to in the coming year. The alumni leave with a sense of connection, knowing that they have one another for support and guidance through this challenging process.
Chicago Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Movie Night
"Seeing Through the Wall: Meeting Ourselves in Palestine and Israel"
Monday, October 9, 2017 - 6:30 - 9:00pm
Glenview Community Church
Many walls separate Palestinians and Israelis - walls of concrete, of mistrust, of ignorance, of fear. This film follows a group of Americans, led by Rabbi Dov Taylor and Hands of Peace Director of Facilitation and Mejdi Guide, Husam Jubran, on a 2016 trip to explore what life is like in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many of those on the trip describe their own reflection and transformation as a result of these intense encounters. SEEING THROUGH THE WALL invites and challenges viewers to question their own preconceptions as well. Video will start promptly at 6:45pm. For more information, contact Rhonda McCarty.

San Diego Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Event
2017 Hands of Peace Alumni Reflections
Sunday, October 15, 2017 4:00 - 5:30 PM 
Where: TBD
Please join us on Sunday, October 15th for our next HOPEducation event. The 2017  Hands of Peace American alumni, both Hands & XLs, will share and reflect on their experience this summer. Hear about their transformational journey firsthand, ask questions and become inspired! 

HOPEducation: Upcoming Book Club
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 5:30-8:30pm
Home of Jenny Parker
Join us for our next book club, where we will be reading Getting to Peace (or the Third Side)  by William Ury.  In  Getting to Peace , Ury challenges the fatalism that is so fashionable. Using new archeological and anthropological evidence, he overturns old myths about human nature and offers a new and hopeful story about human conflict. He suggests a powerful new approach for turning conflict into cooperation which he calls the "Third Side." For in every dispute, there are not just two sides, but a silent third side that can help bring about agreement. By discovering the ten roles of the third side, each of us can act as teachers, healers, and mediators to achieve fair and non-violent conflict resolution. Our happiness at home, our productivity at work, and our very lives depend on  Getting to Peace. Please RSVP to Sarah Heirendt for more information.
Our Next Tour of Israel and Palestine - 
October 21 - November 1, 2018
We are excited to announce that our upcoming trip is full, but we are currently collecting names for our next trip, which could potentially be Spring, 2019.

These trips are specifically customized for our supporters and  offer a combination of rich historical, cultural, and spiritual experiences, along with encounters that help us to better understand the current political reality. Trip size is capped at 30 participants.  If you are interested in joining us on a future trip, or would like to add your name on the wait list for this one, contact  Gretchen Grad.
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