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Interfaith Peacebuilding

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December 2019
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Interfaith Programs

Crossing a Bridge of Peace in Jerusalem

The Armon Hanatsiv Promenade overlooking the hills and valleys of Jerusalem offered a spectacular setting for the Bridge of Peace ceremony that paired people of different religions, races, and cultures in a commitment of mutual understanding and ongoing relationship on September 12. The Bridge of Peace ceremony, developed by the Women's Federation for World Peace, can be a powerful vehicle for reconciliation.

International participants were joined by approximately 100 Israelis and 100 Arabs for an afternoon of music, dancing and friendship-building.

"We have to achieve peace," Jewish organizers proclaimed. Muslim organizers spoke of the need to reach out to women with the message of peace so they can raise their children to be children of peace.

The Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), a sister organization of the Universal Peace Federation, has developed this unique ceremony that allows people of different cultures, religions and nationalities to participate in the reconciliation and peacemaking process by crossing a "Bridge of Peace."

A local group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim musicians sang. Lined up on either side of a simple wooden raised platform, participants walked forward toward their partner, bowed, exchanged flowers, and hugged each other. Women were partnered with women, men with men, couples with couples. As they walked forward from the platform, partners exchanged addresses and joined hands in line dances to the music of the tireless musicians. Watching the process, children as young as primary school age wanted to join in. Thus, adults looked for children of a similar age to partner them with.

In Bridge of Peace ceremonies, partners read pledges determining to face and control their historic hatreds and resentments towards the race, religion or culture of their “Partner of Peace”; respect the rights of others; mutually repent and seek forgiveness from each other for wrongdoings against the race, nation or culture of their partner; and commit to bonding with their partner for years to come.

The power to bring world peace rests in each person's heart. Bridge of Peace ceremonies have brought about "miracles of heart and soul" in more than 200,000 participants from former enemy people such as Koreans and Japanese; Americans and Japanese; and Native, African and white Americans.

For photos of Middle East Peace Initiative programs during 2004, click here.

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