On the Move
Dear Friends,
Across the world, millions of Christians and Jews have been celebrating Easter and Passover.  The prayers, meals, gatherings and expectations all point to one superlative belief - the Almighty is on the move for humanity -  crossing barriers, fulfilling promises and offering freedom.
Time and again, throughout our March trip to northern Israel, Gaza and Jerusalem, we encountered the Holy One moving in the youth and adults with whom we met and spoke.
  • In northern Israel, the youth conference in Haifa and conversations in Nazareth revealed an enthusiasm for JPB's specialized programming and collegial work with local partners
Fr. Nicholas and Stuart with 20 Arab and Jewish youth leaders in Haifa 
  • In Gaza, an invitation to accompany a delegation from MD Anderson Hospital in Houston and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem to facilitate the inauguration of a relationship with the Al Ahli Arab Hospital opened new doors and friendships
Drs. Danna Kurtin and Oliver Bogler of MD Anderson Cancer Hospital with Suhail Tarazi, Director of the Al Ahil Arab Hospital in Gaza.   Fr. Nicholas and Stuart accompanied the Texan doctors to Gaza
  • In Jerusalem, a series of meetings with school-heads and educators - including Jerusalem's Ministry of Education about the creation of a youth leadership center - produced plans for a steady expansion of JPB programming this autumn. 
Fr. Nicholas and Stuart meet with school administrators to discuss the JPB leadership program
JPB students at the Dar Al Maarefa School, Kfar Aqab

Everywhere, Israeli and Palestinian partners stepped forward to contribute to a New Jerusalem where all can enjoy security, dignity and peace.  We are especially grateful for our partnerships with Debate for Peace , the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem , Interfaith Encounter Association , QSchools , and Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School .
All this happened in ten days.  We are inspired, and we invite you to join us in the whirlwind.  This summer, nearly 100 young Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders will participate in three JPB peace-building programs.  Most will need scholarships ($3,500 per teen); many will be visiting America for the first time; all will benefit from your friendship, volunteering, prayers and support.
We believe the Almighty is on the move - crossing barriers, fulfilling promises and offering freedom.  Help change history, and may your home be filled with forgiveness, joy and new life.
Fr. Nicholas Porter and Stuart Kensinger
Co-Founders, Jerusalem Peacebuilders
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Visit paves way for future interfaith cooperation
In March, in partnership with the Interfaith Encounter Association, JPB brought together the Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School and the Hartman High School for Boys of the Shalom Hartman Institute for a rare Christian-Jewish interfaith event.  In total, 15 Armenian and 60 Jewish teens participated in the visit in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

The two groups met at the entrance of the Armenian Convent and were given an overview of the Armenian people, their Quarter and their culture.  A massive icebreaker activity followed, which helped the teens meet and get to know each other. 
Armenian Christian and Jewish high school teens are introduced to the Quarter 
by the  Head of Sts. Tarkmanchatz School, Fr. Norayr Kazazian
JPB leadership program teens lead a presentation on the Armenian people

The visit continued with Armenian students and JPB program alums leading parts of the tour and a cultural presentation.  The first visit ended with soccer matches and a kosher pizza lunch.  

In May, the schools will hold their a second meeting where teens from the Armenian school will visit students at the Hartman school.  After the next meeting, the IEA and JPB plan to continue holding monthly interfaith meetings with interested teens from the two schools.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Youth work hand-in-hand to explore democracy and pluralism
Debate for Peace (DfP) and JPB brought together 20 Arab and Jewish teens from across Israel/Palestine for a two-day, youth-led leadership conference at the  Ahmadiyya Mosque and Community Center in Haifa.  The conference focused on democracy and pluralism through interactive workshops, religious worship and textual analysis and dialogue.      
Teens engage in a textual analysis looking at
Holy War in Islam and Judaism

Three teams of JPB youth alumni (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) delivered impressive teaching sessions on dialogue facilitation, inclusion and exclusion in society, and self-criticism.  When asked to reflect on their experience at the conference, participants responded with enthusiasm:
"This conference boosted my confidence in tomorrow's future, 
way people were ready to talk things out for the sake of our future. 
I would participate in another conference in a heartbeat..."
~Christian participant
"It was an unforgettable experience to meet new people from 
other  cultures and religions and make new friendships!"
~Muslim participant
"I learned that Arabs in Israel also undergo difficulties, and don't 
always get to feel accepted in society. It was very interesting to 
see  things from another perspective and to learn that we can 
cause  things to change."
~Jewish participant
Combined with beautiful scenic views of the Mediterranean Sea and delicious Kosher meals, the teens developed their friendships and skills across lines of religion, identity, and culture.  The success of this conference suggests that these events will become a staple of JPB's year-round youth programming in the Holy Land.
Youth participants in small group dialogue about follow-up activities after the conference

Fr. Nicholas speaks to teens about the intersections of peace, leadership, and religion

Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Fr. Nicholas discusses JPB's impact in empowering Israeli and Palestinian teenagers
In March, JPB Executive Director, The Rev. Canon Nicholas Porter, sat down with Communications Minister, Maurice Harris of the Episcopal Church in Vermont for an in-person interview about the work and ministry of JPB.  The interview focused in on two inspiring stories of JPB alums (one a Palestinian Christian and one an Israeli Jewish settler), who changed their perspectives and the trajectory of their lives after participating in our programs.   Please click on the video link below and learn more about JPB's efforts to transform the hearts and minds of Israeli and Palestinian teens!

The second story featured in this video about a JPB alum giving a speech in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) is explained in more detail in the next newsletter article below.
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org
Jiries Elias presents to government ministers and MKs
In early March, as part of the Young Knesset project of the Israel Model United Nations and the Israeli government, JPB program alum and former junior counselor Jiries Elias participated in the program and presented a 1-minute speech to current MKs (Members of Knesset) and ministers on the "Status of Education in East Jerusalem".  

Jiries was among the youth diplomats chosen from across Israel/Palestine to deliver speeches, engage in top-level government discussions and roundtable sessions, and to handle the leadership of 15 of the Knesset's committees (Education, Foreign and Security, State Control, Women's Rights, Ethics, Economics and more) at the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem.   Please click on the video link to the right to watch Jiries speech!
Jiries' speech broadcast live on
national television
Receiving an award for his participation in the program

And to help make the speech more accessible for our international community of English-speakers, we have translated it into English: 

Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org

JPB leaders are on the move inspiring hope and crossing barriers for the future of humanity.   Please join us in raising the  next  generation  of  peace-builders.

"Now more than ever, we need to sow the seeds of peace.
Teaching youth is the way to go. Thank you for your work to 
bring peace on Earth and goodwill to humankind.
Blessings on all you do and on all the hearts you touch."
~Recent donor

With nearly 100 young Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders expected to participate in our three peace-building programs, most will need scholarships ($3,500 per teen); many will be visiting America for the first time; all will benefit from your friendship, volunteering, prayers and support.
 Donation checks should be payable to 
"Jerusalem Peacebuilders"  and sent to:
Jerusalem Peacebuilders, Inc. 
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
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org

Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world   www.jerusalempeacebuilders.org