Education: How Can We Embrace
Our Common Humanity
According to a biblical story, when a child was born, the villagers said, “What shall become of this child?”
In this war-torn world, these are words we all ask ourselves. How can we as a human family overcome the sectarianism, racism and nationalism that so divide us?
In the Holy Land, where Israelis and Palestinians are kept apart by a 26-foot-high concrete wall, checkpoints, separate and unequal schools, and ever-expanding Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, it is understandable that more and more people of conscience are asking, “What, indeed, shall become of our children?
But there is hope. There is hope in the fact that today so many are willing to ask that question. In both Israel and the occupied territories, increasing numbers of Jewish, Christian and Muslim individuals have reached the conclusion that the Land of Promise will be truly promising when those who live there learn to embrace their common humanity and share that sacred and fragile land. They are willing to speak out against the US-supported expansionist policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his deputy Avigdor Lieberman, who, in their efforts to make the Holy Land more Jewish, are often violating sacred and prophetic prin
ciples of Judaism.
The prophet Isaiah, speaking of a more peaceful future, said, “and a little child shall lead them.”
Thankfully, there are Palestinians, Israelis and Americans for whom those words resonate. In this, our eighth annual Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine, we will hear from some of them, people willing to reach across the great divide, who know how critically important education is, who recognize that the only hope for the human family is for us to cherish our unique identities while embracing our common humanity.
Our hope is that their stories and their compelling visions of a more peaceful world will inspire us to follow their lead.
In this immensely complex and difficult situation, if there is ever to be hope for the future, we need to begin with the children.
Dalia Peretz, former principal of the Hand-In-Hand School in Jerusalem.
Concert – Saturday, November 3rd
Speaker Program – Sunday, November 4th
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
Lyme Street and Ferry Road
Old Lyme, Connecticut 06371