Hope Finds a Home
Dear Friends,
In response to the uncertainty and division gripping the Middle East peace process, Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) launched three initiatives this summer to advance our mission of strengthening interfaith leadership for peace. The results exceeded all expectations.
  • In May, JPB's educational travel excursion to Jerusalem for American high school seniors engaged Jewish, Christian and Muslim families in Houston. Its impact generated a similar upcoming excursion for adults in late October.
  • In July, JPB's EXCEL program in Brattleboro for experienced adult Israeli, Palestinian and American peacebuilders deepened skills, professional networking, and leadership. Two new sessions are being considered for 2017.
  • In July and August, JPB's Service-Learning program for Israeli, Palestinian and American teens in New Haven engaged with social justice issues by working with Syrian refugees. The teens share their powerful experiences on our website.
Absolutely essential to this summer's successes are partnerships: our partnerships with schools in the United States and Jerusalem, our partnerships with leading educators and other organizations, and our partnerships with active individual and institutional supporters like you.
You chose to be involved in this summer's dynamic, new programming, and it made all the difference. Thank you.
To leverage this momentum, the JPB team agreed to extend themselves. Assistant Director Jack Karn will again station himself in Jerusalem to expand our "in-school" programming there. Co-Founder, Stuart Kensinger re-structured his professional career in order to devote himself to JPB programming in Houston's leading schools.
These are real personal sacrifices. Jack, Stuart and I have chosen this path because we believe that the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world.
We invite you to join us - to extend your involvement and support of JPB - so that peace may find a new home in Israeli, Palestinian and American families.
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,
Nicholas +
(The Rev. Canon) Nicholas T. Porter
Executive Director
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
New Haven program supports Syrian refugees and urban poor
Twenty-three American, Armenian, Israeli and Palestinian teens unified for ten days in the heat of a New Haven August. Representing different faith traditions often at odds with one another, they joined hands in service. Jews, Christians and Muslims, they broke bread together and the barriers that divided them.

Helping an IRIS family move into new apartment
Teaching English classes at IRIS

Early in the week, participants met with Chris George, Executive Director of Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS), a refugee resettlement agency in New Haven. There they served the refugee population with their minds and their muscles.  T he teens helped move freshly arrived refugees into apartments, finally beginning the new lives for which they prayed. Additionally, participants a ssisted as teaching aides in English classes for adults and children. Arabic speaking participants proved integral to assisting translation for refugees, including many Syrians and Iraqis.
JPB participants not only  learned that the spirit of service binds us together; they also 
experienced it.

Volunteers from the refugee community also worked alongside the group, one of them named Espoir.  A JPB participant reflected, "Instantly, I felt connected to him, even though we come from extremely different places. I am white, and he is black. He is not from America, and I am. He is Christian, and I am Jewish. Yet, it didn't matter, we connected through service. The act of service connected people who would never be able to connect."

"When I was doing that work and hanging out with Espoir,  It felt like G-d was working through me." - Yosef, 16

Celebrating Shabbat at Mishkan Israel
Furthermore, service binds each of us to the divine.  Participants attended services at a Friday Prayer Service in a Mosque, Shabbat at a Synagogue, and a Sunday Church Service. They learned throughout the program that each of the Abrahamic traditions values service as essential to a life of faith.
"Service made me feel connected to  G-d," Yosef continues. "When I was doing that work and hanging out with Espoir, It felt like G-d was working through me." In French, 'espoir' means 'hope.'   He concludes, "Through service I was able to connect with Hope and bring a little of it into the world."
Serving meals to the needy
The week was filled with many other exciting learning opportunities including service at the Community Soup Kitchen at Christ Church New Haven . The historic church also served as home base for the program as the participants slept and ate many of their meals there. The week concluded with an excursion into New York City with a special briefing at the United Nations on the Middle East peace process, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum , and a special tour of the  Guggenheim's new exhibit called But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa .

Visiting the United Nations Headquarters
Sharing perspectives in the briefing

During their visit, the group observed the United Nations daily briefing. Their visit is posted on the UN website.   Check out the video here!

"In truth, peace actually looks ordinary. It doesn't look like two officials shaking hands on the White House lawn. It is the oppressor and oppressed playing soccer, sharing a meal, cooperating in service. It is meeting a 
stranger and discovering your sister, your brother."
- Fr. Nicholas Porter
Teens presenting their speeches on service
At the heart of the program was the discovery and embodiment of peace. "In truth, peace actually looks ordinary. It doesn't look like two officials shaking hands on the White House lawn," says Jerusalem Peacebuilders Executive Director Nicholas Porter. "It is the oppressor and oppressed playing soccer, sharing a meal, cooperating in service. It is meeting a stranger and discovering your sister, your brother."  The activities of participants were, in many ways, ordinary: eating, praying, learning, playing, and serving.  And yet the spirit of peace that inspired them made their time truly extraordinary.

Interfaith camp inspires next generation of peacemakers
Watch teens discuss their experience 
in the program 
on   Israel Hayom

This summer, hope came to New Haven and found a home. These young American, Armenian, Israeli and Palestinian leaders embraced this hope and discovered peace by breaking bread, serving alongside one another, and recognizing one family in the face of a stranger.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Israeli and Palestinian professionals sharing experiences of identity bias
JPB gathered 25 Israeli, Palestinian and American peacebuilders and civil society professionals in July for an intensive, two-week professional training program at Acer Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont. EXCEL ( Exploring Conflict, Education and Leadership) offered participants the opportunity to learn new skills in peace-building and conflict transformation, as well as form strong professional peer-to-peer networks and partnerships.
Dr. Paula Green, renowned educator and peace builder joined the JPB team, co-designing and co-leading the program. Dr. Green brought a wealth of experience from her work founding the internationally famous Conflict Transformation Across Cultures program (CONTACT) and the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding.

Interfaith prayers before dinner
Exploring conflict styles

During EXCEL, participants explored how to confront the past, intervene in the present, and co-create a shared vision of a secure, diverse, and sustainable future for the peoples of Jerusalem, Israel, and Palestine. The program's design utilized a workshop method, focusing on experiential learning design and psychosocial peace-building skills. Participants engaged in spirited dialogues and interactive simulations with the aim of sharpening their program leadership skills.

"Beyond excellent! I'm looking forward to doing more: to taking the next steps in training, applying what I've learned in my life and my work, and to maintaining the connection with the staff and 
participants, who have inspired me so much!"  
- EXCEL Participant

Finding insight and peace through creativity

Additionally, Chris tian, Muslim, and Jewish participants worshipped together. They learned about one another's faith. They ate delicious homemade kosher meals and were able to engage with one another on a personal level through recreational activities including arts, music, and sports programming.  JPB is grateful to all the volunteers, participants, and educators who helped make this pilot program a success. Plans are already being formed to bring this program to Jerusalem!
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Leading Young Americans to the Holy Land
During May, eight graduates of St. John's School in Houston, Texas joined JPB Co-Founder, Stuart Kensinger and his wife, Angie, for JPB's first American youth trip to the Holy Land.
Building on JPB's decades of experience with adult pilgrimages, the trip was designed to be an introductory interfaith encounter with the people, places, and issues in Israel and the West Bank that constitute one of the most pressing global conflict of their generation.
The young people visited important holy sites such as the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock along with places like Jaffa, Acre, Neve Tzedek, and the Dheishe refugee camp.  They also met with the principal and students of the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem, that brings together Jews and Arabs for learning. 
Exploring the Vanq
A JPB graduate from Sts Tarkmanchatz Armenian School took the group on a personal tour of the Armenian Quarter (Vanq) in Jerusalem, introducing her friends and showing them daily life in a walled quarter of the Old City closed to outsiders.   JPB families hosted the group in private homes for dinner and discussion.

These and other encounters offered them a collection of personal views of around life in Jerusalem, thereby equipping them to comprehend the multiple narratives of the region and conflict.   With each day that passed, the group's questions became more insightful and animated. And they marveled at how different their experience was from their expectations and assumptions.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Bequest builds multi-use space in Vermont
EXCEL participants in front of the new building
In June, JPB completed construction of a  new staff building at Acer Farm.  I t is built of timber from both Acer Farm and from Trinity Parish in Southport, Conn. Designed to appear as a maple sugar shack, this newest addition to the facility will provide much needed space for JPB staff and over-flow housing. 
A generous bequest from the estate of Joan E. Neiley made this beautiful building possible. Joan's faith, memory and commitment to peace is honored by this structure.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Junior counselors enjoying an evening of bowling
This summer, JPB welcomed back five alums to serve as junior counselors in our peacebuilding and leadership programs for youth and adults. Consisting of Jewish, Christian and Muslim triads and led by Program Assistant Alexia Koch, the two junior counselor teams modeled interfaith cooperation and professionalism during each program.

The balance of religious and cultural diversity made for an effective learning environment of mutual support and personal development for these junior counselors. From leading participants in group activities to providing crucial program support for JPB staff, these teens found themselves empowered by the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and commitment to peace.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org


Did you know that 90% of our participants 
require scholarships to participate? 

Please help us in raising the next generation of peacebuilders.

"This year, I feel like all I ever read is news of 
violence. I choose to donate to JPB because I have witnessed them enact and embody - not simply discuss - peace. I cannot imagine a better investment."    
~ Recent donor

Donation checks should be payable to  "Jerusalem Peacebuilders" and sent to:

Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB)
3300 Chimney Rock, Suite 301
Houston, TX 77056 USA 

Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) is a tax-exempt organization per section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is further classified as a public charity. Donations may be made directly to JPB and deducted under Section 170 of the Code. JPB's federal tax identification number (EIN) is 45-2233148

Thank you for supporting the pioneering work of peace
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org

Berlin Mosque, Connecticut
Christ Church, New Haven
Community Soup Kitchen
Congregation Mishkan Israel 
Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
Guggenheim Museum
Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services
Interfaith Encounter Association, Israel
Israeli Model UN
Kids4Peace Boston
Kids4Peace International
Lawyers Without Borders
Paula Green, Karuna Center
Sts Tarkmanchatz School, Jerusalem
St. Mary's Church, Wilmington
St. Michael's Church, Brattleboro
Trinity Church, Southport
United Nations Organization
Voices of September 11th
Yale University

And our many selfless Volunteers!
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org