Tree of Life Journey – January 2018

The Right of Return:
70 Years of Refugees in
Palestine, Israel, and Beyond

January 2-14, 2018 | Extension to Jordan through January 18

An Interfaith Journey sponsored by
The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and
The Islamic Association of Greater Hartford

January 2018 Journey

Over the past several years, images of refugees fleeing war torn zones around the globe have galvanized people of faith and conscience, leading many to enact myriad forms of hospitality. That hospitality, and the new relationships that have emerged as a result, have been transformative for many communities. But one of the most persistent, and largely forgotten, refugee disasters in the twentieth century was enacted against Palestinians in 1948, when nearly 800,000 people were expelled from their homes. Many fled to Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, while others were herded into camps within Palestine. 70 years later, those refugees continue to languish in camps, now numbering close to 6 million individuals. They have no legal or national status, and access to the basic resources needed to survive is severely limited. Moreover, the rest of the world has largely forgotten about the existence of this refugee population. In a time when the plight of refugees has again emerged as a moral concern, and on the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the ongoing refugee crisis among Palestinians dramatizes the struggle for justice among refugees everywhere.

The Tree of Life journey in January 2018 will highlight the ongoing refugee crisis in Palestine and beyond by examining the tragic aftershocks of 1948. We’ll visit refugee camps in the West Bank, and we’ll visit communities threatened with erasure in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. But we’ll also explore other manifestations of the aftershock of settler colonialism in Palestine, visiting occupied Syria (the Golan Heights) and other sites throughout Palestine and Israel where those aftershocks are especially visible. Throughout, we’ll be hearing from voices of conscience speaking from various social locations (Israeli, Palestinian, Bedouin, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Druze), all of whom are committed to building a future inhabitable by all, and not only a privileged few. The journey is conceived as a way of reckoning with a painful legacy, even as we imagine a hopeful future.

A Tree of Life collaboration between the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, and the Amistad Church of Hartford, the journey will be led by Rev. Dr. Steven Jungkeit (Senior Minister of FCCOL), Dr. Reza Mansoor (President of the IAGH), and Bishop John Selders (Senior Minister of Amistad UCC).  It will be an opportunity for travelers to reflect on how Islam and Christianity both speak to the condition of refugees (Jesus and Mohammed were themselves both refugees).  It will also be an opportunity to learn about and to experience places sacred to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, while also learning from the wisdom and expertise of fellow travelers.  In addition, there will be an optional extension to Jordan, where we’ll have an opportunity to witness the refugee situation in a different country, while also visiting historic sites such as Petra and the Wadi Rum.  Travel dates are January 2-14 (Palestine and Israel only) or through January 18 with the Jordan extension.  The cost for this journey is $2100 for double occupancy and $450 additional for a single room.  Cost of the extension is $700 for double occupancy and $200 additional for single. Contact Mary Tomassetti, Tree of Life Executive Director for more details, at mary@tolef.org. 

Click here to go to the Journey Payment Page
(also, if you wish to contribute to the Travel Stipend Fund) 

Click here to download the Journey Application (PDF)

 

Tree of Life January 2018 Tentative Itinerary

Leave JFK – leave evening of January 2nd

  • Wednesday January 3rd  Late arrival. Dinner and overnight Dead Sea Spa, Jordan
  • Thursday January 4th Morning visit with Zataari refugee camp in Jordan. Cross bridge, drive to Jerusalem. Meet with Ivan Karakashian of Defense for Children International. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Friday, January 5th 8:30 AM field tour with Fayrouz Sharqawi of Grassroots Jerusalem. 11 AM Muslim prayers at Al Aqsa and free time for others. Visit Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Wailing Wall. Drive to Negev for dinner and overnight in Ecotourism location (for all who choose – a Bedouin tent!).  
  • Saturday January 6th Morning visit to learn more about Bedouin culture with Khalil Alamour. Visit Amal Abu Alkham. Overnight in Bedouin Ecotourism with story telling, traditional music and dance. 
  • Sunday January 7th — Christians celebrate Christmas, remember “Flight into Egypt”, Jesus and his family as refugees. Visit with Oren Yiftachel at Ben Gurion University and Hagar School. Overnight in Bedouin Ecotourism.
  • Monday, January 8th — Depart after breakfast for Hebron – Shehada Street and markets, Ibrahimi Mosque, Youth Against Settlements and Ma’ali’s Music School. Go to Ramallah for a meeting with Omar Barghouti, then to Nablus for dinner and overnight.
  • Tuesday, January 9th — Meet with Human Rights Protectors for a talk and tour of the old city. Lunch, then travel to Nazareth to the Church of the Annunciation. Field visit with Jonathan Cook to a disappeared Palestinian village. Return to Nablus for dinner and overnight.
  • Wednesday January 10th — Tour through Souq in the old city. After lunch, go to Mt of Beatitudes for vesper service, and on to Golan Heights. Visit with Arab Human Rights Center. Field tour and dinner with Dr. Taiseer Merei. Overnight in the Golan
  • Thursday  January 11th Morning visit to the Syrian market, then drive to Jerusalem. Meet with Jeff Halper and Sahar Vardi. Visit Al Aqsa Mosque. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Friday, January 12th  After breakfast, meet with Breaking the Silence. Free time in the Old City. Muslims go to Al Aqsa for Friday prayers. At 1:15 drive to Bethlehem.  Visit George Saadeh at Shepherd’s Field School. Late afternoon visit to Al Rowwad at Aida Camp. Evening with Parents Circle. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem
  • Saturday, January 13th Visit Church of Nativity. Visit with Shoruq Dance group in Dheishe Refugee Camp and Mazin Qumsiyeh at the Natural History Museum. Community dinner with Palestinian friends, music with Tamer and Nadine (and students?) Overnight in Bethlehem.
  • Sunday January 14 Cross bridge to Jordan, some fly home.

 

Jordan Extension

  • Sunday January 14 – leave directly for Wadi Rum. Overnight Wadi Rum
  • Monday January 15: All day and overnight Wadi Rum
  • Tuesday January 16: Leave early morning for Petra Full day and overnight Petra
  • Wednesday January 17: Morning visit to Akaba, then to Amman for overnight
  • Thursday January 18: Transfer to Airport for departure.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save