"Massa - Massar": A Journey of Discovery

Wednesday 22 August 2007, by Dorit Shippin, Rotem Mor


An interfaith learning peace building program for Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth in Israel, conducted July, 2007

The program was a regional initiative of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC). It was designed, planned and implemented jointly by the Pluralistic Spiritual Centre of Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam and the Open House, Ramle

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The Global Network Of Religions For Children (GNRC), is a worldwide network of religious organizations and people of faith who are united by an urgent concern for the well-being of children everywhere. GNRC members come from all of the world’s major religions and many other spiritual traditions. They share a common commitment to making the world a place where every child can enjoy not only the right to survive, but also to thrive, making positive contributions of his or her own to a world of peace and dignity for all. The GNRC was inaugurated in May 2000 by the Arigatou Foundation, an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC of the United Nations, and the Foundation continues to support its work today. A diverse group of GNRC coordinators facilitates the ongoing development of the GNRC in six major world regions.

They work together with the GNRC members of their regions — children, young people and adults — to ensure that GNRC initiatives directly address the most difficult challenges that children face in each location. GNRC members share a set of common priorities in their worldwide work for children. Their initiatives and programs are often designed to integrate more than one of these key themes, which are: poverty eradication, child rights, ethics education, peace education, reducing urban violence, and empowering children and young people.

In the planning stage we used the first draft of the “Toolkit for Ethics Education Through Interfaith learning” as an inspiration for the program.

Our idea was to invite a group of young Jewish, Christian and Muslim Israeli citizens, aged 15 - 17 to a journey of discovery both into their own national, religious and spiritual identity and the identity of other groups sharing this land.

Inspired by the Ethics Education initiative of the GNRC, we wanted to create a program that would promote the values of Respect for differences and similarities and Empathy for injustice. We would deal with conflict in the spirit of reconciliation and encourage the participants to take responsibility for creating a better, more just and more peaceful future for all of us in the region.

The program’s working team consisted of six people. Dorit Shippin, Abedessalam Najjar, and Dalia Landau, organized technical details of the journey, helped to prepare the program and supervised it. Vivian Rabia and Rotem Mor were the facilitators of the journey itself. They were responsible for preparing the schedule and the activities, and recruited the young people. Lastly, Amit Kitain accompanied us on the journey and was responsible for first aid.

Before the Journey, Vivian (from a Palestinian Christian background) and Rotem (from a Jewish background), participated in the training workshop of the “Toolkit for Ethics Education Through Interfaith learning” that was initiated by the Ethics Education for Children initiativeand took place in New Delhi, India in April 2007.