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December 2019
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Day of Peace Observed in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel - UPF-Israel organized a Jewish-Christian interfaith meeting at the Dormition Church in Jerusalem on the International Day of Peace, September 21. After the meeting, Jewish Ambassadors for Peace helped mediate a dispute between a church representative and a local rabbi.

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We were hosted at the grand German Benedictine Abbey located on top of Mount Zion, commemorating the memory of the Virgin Mary, at the traditional site of her death. The magnificent complex was built at the beginning of the 20th century over the ruins of a Byzantine church.

Three monks met with three of our Jewish Ambassadors for Peace for an hour of dialogue, seeking to set a solid foundation for future meetings.

Prof. Shuki Ben Ami gave an introduction based on his over 40 years of acquaintance with the monastery. In the big library, Dr. Günter Zenner, our host, went back and forth from Hebrew to German to English to facilitate the exchange. The administrative director of the church, he has created a bridge of Christian-Jewish friendship with Prof. Ben Ami.

Prof. Eliezer Glaubach then gave an overview of the UN International Day of Peace, setting the ground for Mr. Hod Ben Zvi's explanation of UPF's view regarding the need for interfaith dialogue as an essential tool for advancing the culture of peace.

The monks responded with an account of their long-time involvement with the Jewish community through their participation in all Jewish holidays. Prof. Ben Ami promised to reciprocate with an invitation to his synagogue for the upcoming holidays.

Father Gregory Collins, Abbot of Dormition Abbey, gave a brilliant overview of Jewish-Christian natural links and presented a beautiful photo album of the monastery as a gift to the Jewish participants. In return, he received the enlightening book, World Scripture: An Anthology of Sacred Texts.

The meeting ended with all joining in a prayer for peace.

In an interesting turn of events, while stepping out of the monastery, our Ambassadors for Peace were called to mediate between the church representative and a local rabbi due to a dispute over loud music played at the nearby site of the Last Supper. The incident subsided when all came to agree to have an outdoor interfaith gathering to bring the much-needed spirit of peace and reconciliation among all.

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