Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Israeli-Palestinian Interfaith Seminar

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Israeli-Palestinian Interfaith Seminar

Article excerpt

On December 17-18, 1999, some 120 Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze came to Nazareth for an interfaith Israeli-Palestinian seminar, organized by the Israel Interfaith Association and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, on "Nazareth and Jerusalem." The seminar began with a short tour of Nazareth from the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation to the Catholic Basilica of Annunciation, guided by The Rev. Dr. George Khoury, who gave an overview of the history and archeology of Nazareth and of its current social and religious situation. During the tour participants learned that the name "Nazareth" has its origin in the Hebrew word "nezer" (scion).

The seminar opened with brief welcoming addresses by Mr. Lars Hansel of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Dr. Avraham Haim, chair of the Secretariat of the Israel Interfaith Association. Prayers were conducted: both the Jewish prayer for the beginning of Shabbat, and the Muslim evening prayer that also ends the fast of Ramadan for that day. A session on "Nazareth or Bethlehem?" was presented by the Rev. Dr. Michael Krupp and aroused debate, mainly among the Christian participants, about the question whether Jesus was born in Nazareth or Bethlehem. The first day concluded in a cultural evening of singing and story-telling.

The second day began with a panel about the religious role of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Fr. Elias Shaqour of Iblin stressed the role of Jerusalem as the city of peace. Rabbi Beni Lao of Saad surprised the participants by telling them that one of his sons is named Nezer, he connected it to the significance of Jerusalem by saying that Jewish existence anywhere is like a scion that is rooted in Jerusalem. …

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