Please read this outstanding article in Mondoweiss by Rebecca Fadil, our friend and Tree of Life volunteer who has recently returned from Gaza. Thank you Rebecca!
June 22, 2016
I just returned from Gaza a couple weeks ago. I can’t begin to describe the kind of devastation the Palestinians face there every day. What shocked me the most was the profound feeling of their being treated like disposable humanity, in a cage, to live or die or grow ill from the lack of basic medical supplies, clean water, sewage treatment, electricity or simply a roof over their head. The basics- all things we take for granted. “Smile- it’s Gaza” they kept telling me. All I could do was weep.
The Wisdom of Jesus, Mohammed
and The Prophets of Israel
(Peace be upon them)
March 8 to March 18, 2017
Extension to Bosnia, March 18 to March 22
This Witness Journey will take us to Israel and occupied (colonized) Palestine and Syria (The Golan Heights) to meet with a variety of Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian voices of conscience. We hope to visit sites associated with Jesus, Mohammed and the prophets of Israel to learn from them and how their wisdom is relevant in the struggle for peace and human rights today. Read more here >>>
Tree of Life Education Fund is pleased to announce Mary Tomassetti as its new executive director. Mary has served as an event coordinator for TOLEF for the past year. She begins her new position immediately.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Tree of Life Education Fund, I am delighted to welcome Mary Tomassetti as the new executive director,” said Board Chair Rev. David Good. “Her experience and demonstrated leadership coordinating events and programming will help TOLEF move forward in its mission to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.” Read more »
Sunday, May 1 at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
With each passing year it becomes increasingly clear: the status quo is not sustainable. Palestinian children cannot continue to pay the highest cost for Israel’s military occupation. A conversation was held examining Israel’s increasing use of lethal force against Palestinians, including children, and the situation of Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian civil society leaders with extensive experience representing Palestinian detainees in Israeli military courts discussed how the Israeli government uses military law to legitimize control over an occupied Palestinian population and targets Palestinian youth for arrest.
A huge thanks to Beth Miller and Khaled Quzmar of Defense for Children International, and Sahar Francis of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Assn for an incredibly informative (and disturbing) presentation on the deplorable treatment of children in Israeli detention centers and prisons.
Learn more about their No Way To Treat A Child Campaign here.
Many thanks to the Students for a Just Palestine visitors, for your passion and commitment, and for taking time out of exams to join us – Uconn, Trinity College, CCSU and Yale were all represented.
In September 2015 John Fussell, labor attorney, TOL Board member, Reverend David W. Good and Jiries Atrash led a labor delegation to the Palestinian West Bank that included former AFL-CIO President John Olsen, Connecticut Building Trades President David Roche and others.
Presented by the Tree of Life Educational Fund in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends of Sabeel–North America and Kairos USA
Tree of Life Conference
How Can WE Be Agents of Change
to Secure Human Rights for
Palestinians and Israelis?
In this conference, we heard from Israeli, Palestinian and American voices of conscience who will helped us understand that in the long struggle toward justice and peace in the Holy Land, the fulcrum of change must involve the international community. This requires that we all operate as agents of change to secure universal human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
Our conference speakers reminded us there is hope that, in working together, we can reach that critical “tipping point,” the moment at which the tide turns, and positive change gets underway. As Archimedes said, “Give me a lever and I can move the world!”
Many thanks to all our friends in the United Church of Christ (UCC) who with the support of Jewish Voice for Peace helped to pass a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution at the UCC’s General Synod in Cleveland. We were proud to have a number of those in our Tree of Life community involved in this effort. The resolution can be found here:
UCC Israeli-Palestinian Resolution
Here’s a summary:
This resolution proposes a fourfold strategy by the United Church of Christ to help end the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The strategy seeks to combine: (1) educational empowerment (study of Kairos Palestine 2009 – ‘A Moment of Truth’: A Word of Faith, Hope, and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering); (2) economic leverage (divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and boycott of products produced in such territories by Israeli companies); (3) political pressure (petition to Congress to ensure that aid to Israel violates neither the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act nor the U.S. Arms Export Control Act); and (4) interreligious dialogue (conversation among the three Abrahamic faiths aimed at reaching religious reconciliation and achieving political resolution).
Over 130 friends, supporters, and guests of the Tree of Life Educational Fund gathered for a celebration banquet at the Old Lyme Congregational Church in Old Lyme on Sunday, June 7th. This banquet was made possible thanks to the great leadership of Tree of Life Coordinator, Mary Tomassettii and her crew of volunteers. After friends from far and wide shared a delicious Middle Eastern dinner prepared by Jiries Atrash and his kitchen crew, violinist Laythe Al-Rubaye played two pieces for the gathering. The first was his own composition; both were influenced by traditional music from the Middle East. David Good then announced that the TOL Scholarshop Fund will now be the Huda George Alatrash Scholarship Fund in honor of Jiries’ mother. Huda Alatrash insisted on a good education for her own children and was a promotor of education for all Palestinian youth. Read more »