A West Bank Orthodox rabbi settler and a proud Palestinian activist will share their personal journeys towards understanding and working with “the other” in a dramatic and moving presentation on Monday, November 4, at 7 p.m. at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany. The public is invited to this free presentation at 113 New Krumkill Road, Albany.
The speakers will be in Albany to speak about the work of Roots/Shorashim/Judur, https://www.friendsofroots.net/, a West Bank Palestinian- Israeli initiative for understanding, non-violence and transformation. Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher, and a passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed in the last several years by his friendship and interaction with local Palestinians. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe that they have introduced him to.
Shadi Abu Awwad is the grandson, son and nephew of strong proud Palestinian leaders who were at the helm of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising). He grew up imbued with a deep hatred for Israelis. When still a child, his family underwent a major transformation and were among the pioneers in reaching across the divide to their Jewish neighbors to work together in order to create a shared vision for the future. As the Palestinian architect and coordinator of the Roots youth movement, Shadi has facilitated shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other’s shared humanity.
Sponsors of this event – the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany and Rabbi Dan Ornstein and Congregation Ohav Shalom – believe that the story of Roots and these speakers will demonstrate the power of dialogue and provide hope in times of increasing polarization on a broad range of issues.