October 2014 Newsletter

      Dear Friends,
It is our joy to report that the Jerusalem Peacebuilders' (JPB) interfaith youth camps for Israeli, Palestinian and American teens in  Brattleboro and Houston during August were nothing short of extraordinary.

What might have been the perfect storm of war and political stridency in the Middle East met its match in the compassion, safety and professionalism of our programs.

The JPB team had planned for a landmark year - we were doubling the capacity at the camp in Vermont and integrating new partnerships at the camp in Texas.

Yet after months of demanding program-design, staff-recruitment and coordination with our Kids4Peace counterparts in Jerusalem, the eruption of war between Hamas and Israel challenged our plans. After Israel's airport closed briefly in late July, in flooded inquiries of whether the camps would still operate.

We responded that our mission was for just such times. We would do what JPB was created to do - bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians for dialogue, understanding and peace-building.
Families reciprocated, and not one  Israeli, Palestinian or American teenager withdrew from either camp.

The result was two amazing camps.  Often dialogues were difficult and tempers flared. But the campers, staff and volunteers remained committed to each other and to building peace.
Leadership campers enjoying a ropes-course
Never before have the camps been so passionate or operated so smoothly.  Never before have the staff been more energized.

We did not do this alone.  You shared in this extraordinary summer. You supported us, you prayed for us and many of you volunteered.  Thank you. Together we brought peace closer to Jerusalem.

Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
Houston Camp News
Campers viewing a Torah Scroll with Rabbi Gross
In Houston, Texas, JPB co-founders Angie and Stuart Kensinger together with program director Tamika Evans operated JPB's peace camp for 13-year-olds from August 7 - 17.  32 Israeli, Palestinian and American teens (18 girls and 14 boys) attended.  Working with Kids4Peace and local partners, the camp began at the Episcopal Diocese of Texas' Camp Allen and concluded in Houston.

JPB Houston is grateful for the participation and support of extraordinary educators like Mike Pardee of Rice University's Boniuk Institute, Fr. Dub Brooks of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and Rabbi Steve Gross of the Congregation for Reform Judaism.  To meet demand, the Houston team plans to expand the camp to 40 teens next summer.
Brattleboro Camp News
Canoeing the Connecticut River
At the Leadership Camp on Acer Farm in Vermont, a combined JPB-K4P staff team  supported the direction of two twelve-day camp sessions, July 30 - August 10  and August 13 - 24.  A total of 29 Israeli, Palestinian, and American 15-16 year-olds attended. Also participating were interns from Voices of September 11th and teens from a local interfaith youth group.

Our critical youth empowerment educational design wedded together experiential education, facilitated dialogues, leadership skills, interfaith understanding and social justice issues (racism, sexism, religious bigotry, rule of law and violence).

Assisting our tireless volunteers and able staff was a tour-de-force of guest educators who included: Frank Fetchet, Victoria Hood, Rabbi Jim Prosnit, Paula Green, Imam Sami Shamma, the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, Chris George, Ed Turner, Debbie Lynangale, Court Dorsey, Yasmeen and Javed Chaudhri, Mike Pardee, Rabbi Michael Cohen, Bishop Tom Ely, Michele Spike, Peter Gould, Jude Morgan, John Ungerleider, Rupa Cousins, Stu Copans and the Brothers Yares.

Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
VT Volunteers Beautrice Vornle and Andrea et Bahman Azarm
New Developments

Our programming this summer did not go unnoticed and Jerusalem Peacebuilders received a number of offers to enter into new peace-building partnerships.

Impressed by our work, an internationally recognized non-profit organization invited JPB to co-create a peace and leadership program for emerging leaders, ages 25 - 35, in the Kingdom of Jordan.  The goal is to connect these young adults with each other and with local mentors in the peace-building fields to develop leadership skills and communal resiliency in the face of violence and stridency.

The other opportunities include a major American university that is seeking to gather Jewish, Muslim and Christian scholars together from across the Mid-East for learning and friendship; a high school in Jerusalem seeking an interfaith peace and leadership curriculum for weekly use and an interfaith team in Jerusalem hoping to operate monthly family peace-building programs.

We are blessed with many avenues for new impact and growth. They validate our work, and we will explore them each thoroughly as they develop. Exciting times are just ahead for JPB!

Easy On-line Giving

The greatest investment is Peace

Donate on-line by clicking on this logo: 

Please designate: "Leadership Camp" or "Houston"

Kids4Peace Int., Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (EIN 20-5419759) and all donations are tax-deductible

Donation cheques should be payable to "K4P Int. -Leadership Camps"
and sent to:
Kids4Peace International,
3300 Chimney Rock, Suite 301,
Houston, TX 77056 USA

  JPB Interfaith Campers are Newsmakers!

Read the Brattleboro Reformer's story about the Leadership campers by clicking the logo!

Watch the FOX News' story about the Houston campers by clicking the logo!

Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
We deeply appreciate everyone who gave generously to fund the camp programs.  We also wish to acknowledge those who gave generously of their volunteer-time in Vermont, especially Eugenia Ardrey, Andrea and Bahman Azarm, John Kilgore, Jean Moffit, Beatrice Vornle and the Outreach team at St. Michael's Episcopal Church.  

Thank you again and God bless you for standing beside us with your prayers, involvement and generous support.

Peace is truly possible in Jerusalem, but peace-building is for the strong. It requires patience and determination, and we hope that you will remain part of JPB's important and pioneering work.

With gratitude and affection,

Fr. Nicholas and Dorothy Porter
Founding Directors 
Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) is an inter-faith, non-profit organization that promotes transformational encounters among the peoples of Jerusalem and the Middle East.  A passion for peace drives our mission; volunteers and institutional partnerships power our program.
Knit Our Hearts Together

Knit our hearts together, Lord
Like Jonathan and David.
Knit our hearts together, Lord
Like Ruth and Naomi.
Make us one, make us one
Like Father and Son.
Heal the wounds of division
In the fabric of your undying love.

In Memoriam

Former JPB adviser, Judith M. Lidberg died on September 23, 2014 after a courageous struggle with cancer.  She was among the first to recognize and support the vision of JPB. A loving friend, peacemaker and Christian, Judith will be missed.  May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Jerusalem Peacebuilders, Inc.

P.O. Box 2020
West Brattleboro, VT 05303, USA
Tel: 802 254 0068
Tel: 802 254 2472 (summer)
Cell: 203 572 3652 (Fr. Nicholas)
Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World