Help us build trust,
relationships, and partnerships among neighbors, citizens, and immigrants of different
faiths and cultures
May 8th Student Trainings
Mid East Dialogues
Mon. June 11
Mon. July 16
Wed. June 13
Wed. July 25
Thu. July 12
Thu. June 21
Coffee and Conversation
New Immigrants and Long Time Residents Enhancing English Skills Begins Tuesday, June 5th.
Call The Dialogue Project at 718-768-2175 for more information.
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In 2008 the Dialogue Project facilitators and participants dug deeper
into issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians, and people of
diverse faith and ethnic traditions
We have three main program areas:
• Israeli Palestinian Dialogues
• SPEAKING ACROSS DIFFERENCES
- A Neighbor to Neighbor – New Immigrant and Long
Time Resident Interfaith-Intergroup Encounters
• Public Dialogue Workshops,
Forums and Teach Ins
Our transformative dialogue process encourages us to slow down the
conversation and listen. We take in hear stories of the
intersection between personal experience and the political world we
inhabit. We examine our different understanding about very hot topics,
“Israel”, “Non –
Empowerment” and “Religious
Bias”. . By allowing "the elephant in the room" to
surface, our common human values emerge.
Neighbors from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Flatbush, Carroll Gardens
and Park Slope explored difficult subjects such as: Fundamentalism and
extremism; How to live or work with people who do
or do not believe in G-d, if that belief is important to you; How to
connect through the differences of culture. and lifestyle.
Gay participants risked telling their co dialoguer's about their
choices. A young Muslim man spoke about how good he felt in
the dialogues because he could speak openly with people whose beliefs
were different (atheists for example) and ask curious questions about
others beliefs. Local long time residents, mostly Jewish and
Christian - white and black, were able to speak together about the
difficulties they face with each other, when issues in the Middle East
arise. Non Jews asked their Jewish co-dialoguer's to not hear them as
anti-Semitic, rather to hear them as concerned for Jews in Israel and
around the world.
In the Mid East Dialogues we were challenged by what was happening on
the ground in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories - the
continued building of the wall, the blockade of Gaza, the targeting of
Israeli citizens by Palestinian resistance. Participants pushed each
other more openly and in doing so, were able to examine
themselves. Issues about the morality of actions
taken, and the need to see beyond one's own people's security to the
need of security for the "other" came up, time and time
again. Hot phrases like "Moral Condemnation",
"Normalization", and "Moral Equivalency" "Trust - Is it possible",
emerged as people struggle to understand why Israelis and Palestinian's
in the room, and in the Mid East cannot see each other's unique,
individual humanity. Some dialoguer's still struggle with the need for
balance, though the power dynamics of the conflict are
unbalanced. Participants are asking each other about specific
policies that create violence which kills individual Palestinian's and
Israelis. Most important we continued to provide the confidential space
where people come to learn about "the other" and can meet in intimate
face to face encounters.
We co sponsored events with activists who work within Israel and the
Palestinian territories to empower their own people's voices.
While we did not and do not take a political position, we exposed our
dialoguer's to a variety of perspectives through film festivals at the
Jewish Community Center and speakers in the heart of the Palestinian
Community in Bay Ridge.
Our public programs also surfaced difficult issues such as Anti
Semitism, Racism and Islamophobia, (issues of exclusion and exclusion),
Occupation, Security, Home and Homeland. Educators from local colleges
in Queens to Superintendents of school districts on Long Island asked
us to provide class room instruction and administration and teacher
training around diversity issues.
Highlights of All
January 2008 - Marcia Kannry and Father Khader El Yateem attend the
Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information Peacemakers
Conference at Tantur Monastery in Jerusalem. . We met with
teachers, conflict resolution practitioners, and activists from the
Occupied territories and Israel. We traveled with Jeff Halper
of the Israel Committee against House Demolitions to view illegal
developments in East Jerusalem as well as traveled to the Shufafa
Refugee camp. We also met with people at Neve Shalom Wahat Al
February 2008 - Marcia Kannry presents to Methodist Lay
leaders at the Church of
the United Nations
March 2008 - Brooklyn
For Peace and Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture host
an evening on “Report Back from Israel and Palestine
featuring Father Khader and Marcia who talk about dialogue as a peace
making tool and also the difficulties and struggles they face as each
tries to make dialogue meaningful in their own communities.
Issues about apartheid and normalization are raised as obstacles to
dialogue for the first time.
Breaking the Silence - brings a young Israeli to talk about his work
with soldiers who offer testimony about their activities during Israeli
army service. Father Khader hosts a large group of Israeli,
Palestinian and Jewish and Muslim dialoguer's at Salaam Arabic Lutheran Church.
April 2008 - Marcia Kannry, Faozia Aljibawi and Jeannie Shama teach and
lead dialogue and Mid East Workshops at York College at the
request of Professor Charlotte Patton (India and Middle East Professor
– 60 students).
May 2008 - Adelphi
University and UN Conference on Peace and Human Rights-
Marcia Kannry Keynote panelist and Paula Pace and Marcia lead
teacher’s workshop on dialogue (80 attendees, 12
workshop) Dialogue Project co-sponsors Gershon
Baskin and Hanne Sinora - Co-Directors of IPCRI on the Community Church in
July 2008 - Paula Pace and Marcia Kannry develop a diversity training
workshop as part of an administrators development day at Hicksville, Long Island School
District. We are invited back to develop more programs in
the fall of 2008 and 2009.
September 2008 –
Hofstra University Day of Dialogue - Linda Sarsour, Paula
Pace and Marcia Kannry present a panel on dialogue at the Institute on
Civic Engagement, Hofstra University (40 attendees) . Marcia
Kannry guest speaker at the Ramadan Community Iftar at the Al Andalusia School and the
Muslim American Society of Westchester.
Dialoguers invited to Muslim
Youth Association Iftar and Dawoud Mosque Iftar Brooklyn
October 2008 - Union
Theological Seminary - Inter faith Caucus Event
“Dialogue Not Debate” presentation with Father
Khader El Yateem, Marcia Kannry, Paula Pace and Jeannine Shama (110
Long Island - Over 700 teachers and
administrators take part in a presentation on diversity and dialogue,
with Omar Chadhury - Pakistani immigrant attorney, Karina
Kim, Asian new immigrant psychologist and Louis Valenzuela - Immigrant
Coalition of Long Island. Marcia and Paula provide dialogue
November 2008 - Plymouth
Church over 180 people attend the Annual Inter faith
Teach In on Exclusion and Inclusion- Racism Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism
with key note speakers, Rev. David Fisher, Rabbi Justus Baird, and Imam
Khaled Latif. Teachers included: Kirk Lyons-Union
Theological Fellow, Rev. Jeanne Person, Rev. Chick Straut,
Dr. Ahmad Jaber, Anisa Mehdi, Prof. Ibrahim Abdul Malik,
Rabbi Serge Lippe, Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Rabbi Barat Ellman.
December 2008 - Hicksville,
Long Island Teacher workshop for elementary school
staff. Omar Chadhury, Marcia Kannry and Paula Pace present to
30 teachers on issues of diversity sensitivity in the
schools. We approached how to talk about religious holidays
and encourage participation and curiosity about Muslim, Hindi, Asian
cultures and traditions.
SAMPLE DIALOGUE AGENDAS
Mid East Dialogues
continue to meet in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Westchester.
Conversations/encounters include former Israeli Soldiers, Holocaust
Survivors, Naqba Survivors, College youth raised on Settlements in the
West Bank, Palestinian Americans whose children are now studying in the
West Bank, , Jewish Americans with family in Israel, Palestinian's who
left following the 1967 war and more recently, Russian and Easter
European Jews who found refuge in Israel, Yemeni and Iraqi Jews who
identify as Arab and many “interested others” from
all walks of life with a deep concern for and connection to the land
and the people who live there. Groups vary each month with an
average of 42 - 80 people meeting face to face all around the city.
Agenda I: Palestinian commemoration of
celebration of founding of state of Israel
Discussion Questions: Our stories about these events. How can
our speaking about these events promote an environment for
understanding and curiosity about each other’s experience?
1. How do you participate (or not) in these events?
2. How do you speak about these events in your own community?
3. How do you speak about these events with those outside
4. Is there a difference between how you speak to people in
your community and how you speak to those outside your community?
5. How does it make you feel when you hear the
“other” speak about these events?
Agenda II: Discussion: Meaning of “home” as it
relates to Israel/Palestine
a. Reflections from last Dialogue:
Feelings about “the land”: “Where do I
belong? Some dialoguers said:
“Israel as the
place where she can be herself, feeling as a guest in US.”
Germany torn between feeling herself an American or
persecution here, belief in Israel as the end of oppression,
American, Palestinian home”
b. For Israel or Palestine to be
considered “home” does that require a Jewish or
In 2008 we drew about 28-35 people to each monthly dialogue.
Dialoguer's took the risk and explored the places of tension in the
intersection between their religious and cultural values, lifestyle,
and the public, secular, civil law that governs our shared
society. Some examples: pledge allegiance in school; young
age marriage (Court has to approve); legalized prostitution; state
sanctioned torture (justified for security); homosexuality (failure to
protect). Below is a sample agenda.
6:45-7:00 Mingling, eating and Name
Own a Guideline
7:00-7:15 Ice Breaker – On a 4X
6 card write down the name of a person, place or thing towards which
you have negative feelings (anger, fear, concern) –
it could be an idea, an institution, a place, even a building,
preferably something connected to the neighborhood.
Now that you have written this down, think about the positive in
this item (beauty, security). Write a
few sentences as if you were a mirror reflecting only the beauty or
good parts of this institution, idea, person to itself.
Example: ( a building that is all glass arising on a former
garden and parking lot by Prospect Park).
Don't put your name in.....Just thrown the card into the basket....We
will pick a few and read.
7:15-8:20 Have you experienced any
Transformative Moments in the dialogues. What were they? Has
anything challenged your own assumptions? What have you heard
in the dialogues that caused you to want to come back and dig deeper,
During these past months in the dialogues:
Was something new revealed to you?
Was there anything you thought or said that surprised you?
Did you recognize assumptions, your own or others?
Did you think differently about how to accept those whose ethics,
beliefs, world view, life style, religion differ from yours?
Were there any "AHA" moments, for you or a moment where you went "Oh,
Oh"? What were they? Would you want to explore
these ideas, differences more deeply, and specifically?
Example of an Oh, Oh
moment: One of our dialoguers spoke of a young Yemeni student who told
her Jewish teacher that she did not want to be sent to Yemen to be in
an arranged marriage, and the teacher could do nothing,
though she did not support such arranged
marriages. This is a difficult issue to
raise, but I think for many it was an Oh, Oh...
Example of an AHA
moment: Being in relationship with people whose ideas about G-d differ
from yours, even finding you like them and experience them as
more honest, comfortable to be around than those who may practice a
religion yet not live it.