BLOG from the Holy Land #6 – Sept. 10th, 2016

BLOG #6: »A Global Human Family«

Yesterday we went north from Nazareth and visited a Melkite Christian school in Rame, Israel and its director, Dr. Jiries Mansour, a solid bedrock member of the Abrahamic Reunion. The school, supported by the Israeli government and the Roman Catholic Church, has well over 700 Israeli Arab students: Christian, Muslim and Druze. The school begins with kindergarten and ends with high school. Although quite modern with extensive labs and digital environment it still has the atmosphere of an ancient holy place. The education here is recognized as at the top level, the facility is beautiful and functional, but what I found most heart warming was the theme of compassion that ran as a thread throughout the school.

We sat with Jiries for a few hours discussing the Abrahamic Reunion and deacon-jiries-mansur-150x150what the future role it could play both in the Holy Land and around the world. When asked what he would like to create he responded clearly with an idea that he had obviously envisioning for a while. He wanted to build a school to teach peace with students of all religions of the Holy Land attending and getting to know each other, studying together and learning the truth found in each other’s way of life. He felt so strongly about this idea that for a moment sitting there I saw it in my minds eye as if it had been there for a decade already.

He was excited about the goals of the Abrahamic Reunion and was optimistic about attaining them if we have the support of friends outside of Israel as well as within. The support needed was not just financial but more importantly energetic, creative and visionary.

We left the school just as Jiries was leaving for Romania where he was going to assess a university there as a place for him to receive his second PhD. What moved me so deeply was the realization of what a real family we have become and the thought that one global human family is not a dream but a necessity.

ibtisammahameed_0We left Rame and drove to Faradis, a peaceful Arab town which is the home of Ibtisam Mahameed and her dear husband Subkhi. He was obviously in deep physical pain and it turned out he had a kidney stone and was waiting to see us before going to the hospital. The idea of him staying in his painful condition so that he could visit with us for a while instead of immediately going to the hospital was not something that fits with our western model. Love can be expressed in so many ways. We had a beautiful visit not discussing the AR but instead just enjoying the company and love we share with each other. We will go back another day to discuss the projects and how best to continue working together but we needed the visit to honor the love we share as the foundation for our work. Ibtisam is a great community leader, protector of the rights of women and advocate of religious harmony but as we sat together and shared how our families are and the many small details discussed with friends the true importance of what we had built over the last fifteen years was so heartwarmingly apparent.

We didn’t come here over so many years to teach but instead to learn and we have never been disappointed.