When we started Boston Partners for Peace last year, we promised to keep the Boston community informed about the most exciting and effective Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders. Today, we are proud to add a new peacebuilding organization, Roots-Shorashim-Judur (Shorashim and Judur mean “roots” in Hebrew and Arabic, respectively).
I am inspired by the ability of peacebuilding programs to bring together people who would not ordinarily interact. Roots facilities connections for Jews and Palestinians living side-by-side in the West Bank. Many of us think of the West Bank as home to hardcore ideologues on both sides of the conflict—this makes it even more impressive to see the depth of relationship that Roots is creating. It can be scary for many members of Roots to meet for the first time. During my visits, I heard from Jews whose spouses fear for their lives and from Palestinians who wash after shaking hands with a Jew. Roots has been able to transcend these deep divides and bring people into dialogue to find shared values.
The team at Roots is running a variety of initiatives that focus on interfaith work and community building. They have a summer camp, a youth group, and additional programming for adults. I was fortunate enough to visit Roots last summer, when the youth group was coordinating an interfaith blood drive. It was powerful to see teens from different backgrounds working to unite their communities and save lives.
You may remember that we hosted Shadi Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger from Roots earlier this year. Their hopeful message focused on the centrality of human relationships in peacebuilding. They had a deep impact on our community, and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome them back to Boston soon. As Hanan said then “We don’t argue. We don’t debate. We open ourselves up and make ourselves vulnerable to accept another identity.”
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest information on Roots’ peacebuilding activities. You can also check out our website for information about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.