6 Highlights from 2016

As we approach the beginning of a new year, we want to share some of the highlights from 2016 with you, a partner in our work:

1. Launched Taking Steps – Bereaved parents Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin visited U.S. Congress to Taking Steps launch in US Congressofficially launch our new social business, Taking Steps in the Path for Peace, on International Peace Day. This event was hosted by Rep. Diane DeGette, with support from more than 20 other congressmen and women

2. Held Silent Walks – Groups across the U.S held Silent Walks in solidarity with messages of peace and reconciliation. Taking Steps Silent Walk at Tufts UniversityParticipants wore Taking Steps patches, laces, and shoes– hand-embroidered with the Bird of Peace. Silent Walks were held at Tufts University (Medford, MA), Congregation Kol Ami (White Plains, NY), and as part of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom’s 2016  Muslim & Jewish Women Leadership Conference.

 

3. Trained Peacemakers – The Parents Circle brought together more than 100 alumni of our Parallel Narrative Two-Sides projectExperience (PNE) project, to design and implement joint projects, including a Hebrew-Arabic phrasebook, a Palestinian rights website, a culture club, and an Internet-based cross-border program for families.

 

4. Represented by Youth Peace Delegations – We were honored to send 3 groups of PCFF Youth Peace delegation to ItalyIsraeli and Palestinian youth/young adult peace leaders to serve as representatives to Koyasan, Japan, where they met the Japanese Prime Minister, and to Italy, where Israeli and Palestinian youth met and engaged with Italian youth. Learn more about our Young Ambassadors for Peace.

5. Increased Female Facilitators – This year, we saw a 70% increase in the number of PCFF Women's Groupfemale facilitators for our activities, including delegations abroad, narrative groups, and dialogue meetings. The remarkable growth in the number of bereaved female leaders in the Parents Circle owes much to the great success of our 2015 Indiegogo campaign, Israeli and Palestinian Women Become Peace Leaders.

6. Midwest Tour & New Israeli General Director – We were honored Rami Elhanan and George and Najwa Sa'adeh speak in Madison, WIto speak to groups in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Our bereaved speakers were hosted by churches, synagogues, and other groups in the Midwest to share their powerful stories of loss, peace, and reconciliation. We were delighted to have Rami Elhanan, the new Israeli General Director of the Parents Circle, as one of the speakers. Rami lost his 13-year-old daughter, Smadar, when she was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in September, 1997.

All of these amazing accomplishments were made possible by contributions made by our friends and supporters. Thank you for your help and support this year!

Why do we call each other “brother”?

Arab Aramin and Yigal Elhanan, 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony
Arab Aramin, left, and Yigal Elhanan, 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony

My name is Arab Aramin. I am Palestinian, 22 years old. And my name is Yigal Elhanan. I am Israeli, 24 years old. We should hate each other. But instead, we call each other brother. Why? We both have lost our sisters in the bloody and violent conflict. We are united in our shared vision: no one else should lose a sister or any family member to this conflict.

The Parents Circle’s new Young Ambassadors Program will help train 25 bereaved Israeli and Palestinian young adults ages 18-27, like us, to become the next generation of peace leaders.

We ask that you make a contribution today to the end of year campaign to help us raise the $30,000 needed to carry out this program. In order to take our leadership to this next level, we require training, capacity building and more opportunities to meet each other, learn about each other and gain tools to break the silence.

We met each other in the summer of 2014 at the Parents Circle’s Youth Program – a week long summer program that brings bereaved and non-bereaved Israelis and Palestinians together. Over time, we have become united in fighting injustice together. This struggle is often lonely and cold. We need others to join us to break the cycle of violence.

 

In memory of our sisters, Abir and Smadar,

Arab Aramin and Yigal Elhanan

 

A Thanksgiving Message from Tal and Ibrahim

"I am thankful for all the blessings in the world. I think it's the best way to start and finish your day." --Ibrahim Shatat
“I am thankful for all the blessings in the world. I think it’s the best way to start and finish your day.” –Ibrahim Shatat

“My name is Ibrahim Shatat. I’m 25 years old, and from Beit Jala, Palestine. My sister, Irene, was 12 years old when she had an accident. She was hit by a car. And because we live in an occupied country, the Israeli army had closed the streets so cars could not get through. The army did not let the ambulance take her either, so she bled to death. She died in our arms.”
“I hope no one will lose their loved ones because it is so hard.”

Read more.


 

"I am thankful for the hope that still exists." --Tal Oren
“I am thankful for the hope that still exists.”
–Tal Oren

“My name is Tal Oren. I’m 20 years old, and from Herzlyia, Israel. On July 24, 1995, my grandmother, Zehava, was killed by a suicide bomber while riding the bus to Tel Aviv. I joined the Parents Circle following the footsteps of my family. I participated in many of the youth activities.”
“As a bereaved grandson, I know today that neither revenge nor violence will bring back my grandmother.”

Read more.

 


Both of these incredible people have chosen to become Young Ambassadors for Peace.

Please make a year-end gift so Ibrahim, Tal, and 25 other young Palestinian and Israeli adults can receive leadership and peacebuilidng training and become Young Ambassadors for Peace.

"As a human, I know the only way to end our conflict is the way of peace, reconciliation and dialogue." Tal Oren
“As a human, I know the only way to end our conflict is the way of peace, reconciliation and dialogue.”
Tal Oren