The work of Tiqqun `Olam CANNOT WAIT for some far off date of a FUTURE Messianic Era. Realizing this, a group of peace-minded, progressive Jews and Muslims across the United States, Europe, Australia and even places as seemingly "far-fetched" as Iran, Egypt and Israel have stepped up to walk in the harmonious and PROVEN steps of our predecessors. We are making PEACE not only a "hopeful" prospect, but an inevitable one, borne of a forgotten approach that yielded understanding, cooperation and respect between Jews and Muslims FOR CENTURIES.
Introducing... THE HASHLAMAH PROJECT!
While the Hashlamah Project employs old, tried-and-true models of the successful co-existence enjoyed by our Jewish and Muslim predecessors throughout the Medieval Era (and in many cases, prior to it), this is contextually a new move, in a new direction, and in some cases divorced from anything that had ever been attempted recent history.
The term "Hashlamah" itself means RECONCILIATION, completion and, to an extent equanimity. When we speak of "Greater Israel," for instance, we speak of "Eretz Yisrael Hashlamah." Indeed, the Hashlamah Project is concerned with a solution to the Israel and Palestine conflict(s) that results in a unifying of the land on a FEDERAL level, and yet affording individual statehood therein which preserves the cultural and religious orientation of three states unified under federal jurisdiction. The term "Hashlamah" itself comes from the same root as "Shalom," and it denotes - by its very definition - a Spiritual Balance, Peace and COMPLETION.
The Hashlamah Project aims to draw Jews and Muslims together in co-worship, TOGETHER, under ONE roof, and to then use that as a pivot to add a momentum to peace that cannot be impeded by even by the most rhetorical political venom currently holding sway over the minds, hearts and even the very lives of innocents on both sides of the illusionary divide.
You might say "Perhaps some day, but this is new territory. Something this bold has NEVER been done before; we're just not there yet." Nothing could be further from the truth, and this, indeed, is part of the reason why the Hashlamah Project MUST exist: to educate Jews and Muslims about the CENTURIES of Jewish and Muslim interaction and co-worship. Far from anecdotal examples and fringe, alienated groups, this activity involved some of the biggest names in Judaism, including Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Paqudah (whose originally Judeo-Arabic, "Duties of the Hearts" is still studied in Orthodox Yeshivot today), to the Maimonidean dynasty of Nagidim. The Cairo Genizah cache of Jewish letters and documents have elucidated just how wide-spread and far-reaching this activity was, over the course of CENTURIES, rather than decades.
If this is news to you, that is precisely why the work of the Hashlamah Project is so necessary. Peace is possible. We know it is possible, because we have seen it work before, and we have the blueprints for how to revive these successful modes of dialog, discussion and respectful co-worship. For more information, check out our website at: www.HASHLAMAH.org
The greatest single obstacle we face today as Jews is rooted in the conflict - both historical and modern - with extremist elements within the Muslim world. Moreover, what was once a fringe disdain for Jews and Judaism in the Muslim world has grown, owing to a variety of factors, and become shamefully widespread. Mein Kampf is a best seller throughout the Muslim world, blood libel sitcoms appear on Lebanese and Egyptian television programming, and wide-spread "Protocols" conspiracies are the norm.
One of the only tools at our disposal today that can hope to combat such delusion and hate mongering lies in our mutual past. Drawing from a shared history rich in methods of interfaith cooperation, we find that dialog and co-worship among our two peoples is an historical reality. Understanding this, it is not enough to merely hope for peace in the future. “Hashlamah” must be consciously undertaken now, as it has successfully been done before– and not just for a few years, but instead for centuries.
Built around the study of shared history and methodology, Jewish and Muslim Hashlamah Project Study Circle participants around the world are working cooperatively, sharing face-to-face dialogue, and breaking bread together. Through this coming together for a common purpose, we come to know and respect one another. We forge bonds and begin the critical process of community building that MUST underlie our efforts toward lasting, tangible peace and reconciliation.
What the money is for
To facilitate community building and educational outreach, the Hashlamah Project is now seeking funding and logistical aid from a variety of sources. Specifically, funding is required to enable our facilitators to travel to some of our current international study group chapters to coordinate, and to lend momentum and hands-on support with establishing thriving study groups in critical locations.
Funding will enable the mass production of written materials, event and campaign planning, and will facilitate future fundraising in order to give each study circle an operating budget for their own outreach and community work.
Immediately, funding will be used to facilitate meetings in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in connection with Antioch College and as an outgrowth of the Hashlamah Project founder's doctoral work at Antioch University. Meetings are also held at homes and places of worship, throughout or international chapters. Funding will facilitate the founder of the Hashlamah Project to travel to our existing FIFTEEN chapters as well as those whose formation is in progress and underway. In some cases, such as in Israel, there are many people who are interested in setting up a Hashlamah Project Study Circle but who do not feel they yet have the understanding of how to successfully facilitate meetings of this nature, between Jews and Muslims. Immediate and long-term use of funding will be used to create printed material for meeting use, and circulation of materials at the grassroots level, outside of meetings. It will further be used for additional education in facilitating future Hashlamah Project progress and successes. This includes training in innovative mediation solutions, as well as cutting-edge research on overcoming psychological impasses in conflict resolution, and Harvard Professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey's research and training on overcoming "immunity to change."
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