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Interfaith Programs

Jerusalem Forum Holds Interfaith Dialogue in Nazareth

Nazareth, Israel—On March 2, 2017, UPF-Israel’s Jerusalem Interfaith Forum for Understanding and Cooperation Among Religions coordinated a visit of a Jewish community from Jerusalem to a church in Nazareth, for an interfaith dialogue with 21 participants.

Members of the Har-El community in Jerusalem, headed by Rabbi Ada Zavidov, visited the Synagogue Church, a Christian church in Nazareth, where they were welcomed by the Rev. Masoud Abu Hatoum, a senior Ambassador for Peace. Guests at the event included Mrs. Carima Ktily, an Ambassador for Peace from Acre, a city in the northern coastal plain region along Haifa Bay, as well as members of the Israeli chapters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP).

The Synagogue Church is built on the ruins of an ancient synagogue where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus used to pray and worship. The harmonious atmosphere of the meeting reflected the name of the hosting place, which combines the prayer houses of two religions.

The representatives of the Har-El congregation—senior people with backgrounds in academia, research, and the arts—listened attentively to the host, Rev. Abu Hatoum, who gave an overview of the interfaith activities he has carried out in the past 16 years in cooperation with UPF.

Rev. Abu Hatoum was moved by the heart of the Jewish guests who came from afar to honor the church, and offered them a tour of the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth[i]. He encouraged his guests to keep striving for peace and said that older people can still make a change in this world through their children and grandchildren.

After the words of  UPF Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon were read (below) by the emcee of the event, Ms. Miri Kamar of UPF-Israel, Rabbi Zaidov offered a book of holy songs to the church, and invited Rev. Abu Hatoum and Ms. Kamar to offer together one prayer from the book. The meeting concluded with Mr. Zvi Giladi, chair of the Har-El community, inviting Rev. Abu Hatoum and UPF, to visit Har-El Synagogue.

“First, respect the traditions of other religions and do everything you can to prevent conflict and discord among religions. Second, all religious communities should cooperate with each other to serve the world. Third, the leaders of all religions should work together to develop a structure that will let us accomplish our mutual mission of establishing world peace.”  (“As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen,” p. 300)


[i] According to Roman Catholic tradition, the church was established at the site where the Annunciation took place.

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