A visit to an Arab Israeli high school

by Rachael Sauceda

On Sunday, February 17th, the ICCI organized a meeting between a group of Jewish High School students from White Plains New York, Jewish Israeli students from Haifa, and Arab Israeli Students from Abu Gosh, an Israeli Arab town, just west of Jerusalem. Traveling to Abu Gosh gave the Jewish students an opportunity to experience what an Arab Israeli High School is like and to sit down face to face to talk with one another. Sitting in the library at Abu Gosh, the students were asked to think about three questions:

(1) What do you learn about your own culture?

(2) What do you learn about Jewish culture?

(3) How many chances do you have normally to meet with Jews?

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Students from Chicago Learn about the Complexities of our Conflict

by Rachael Sauceda, ICCI intern

As an intern at the ICCI, I had an opportunity during the second week of January to explore the diverse cultures of Israel on an intellectual and spiritual level with a group of graduate students from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) who were in Israel on a seminar with ICCI’s Center for Interreligious Encounter with Israel.  The seminar was led by Professors Rachel Mikva and Susan Thisthlethwaite of CTS. I was very grateful that the group was more than welcoming and extremely friendly in allowing me to go on some of their study tours, giving me the opportunity to learn along with them.

I was able to join them on their second day of touring which took them through the Old City of Jerusalem and visited the major historical and religious sites.   Although, as a graduate student in Israel for the year, I go to the Old City often, it is always such a refreshing experience to see people visit for the first time and to relive those moments of awe and inspiration in such a sacred place.  The students were given the opportunity to visit the sites of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, including the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In addition, by visiting the different quarters in the Old City, they had the chance to see how the people from diverse communities live in such close proximity.

When I joined the group for their day in Bethlehem it was a major change from the narrative presented in Jerusalem. Continue reading