What’s New

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

Young Ambassadors for Peace

Na’ama Roth, 25, is Israeli. She lost her uncle, Udi, when he was kidnapped and killed by Hamas in 1993. Na’ama’s father joined the Parents Circle to seek reconciliation and a just end to the conflict.
“My father promised himself and his children to try to do everything he can,” Na’ama says, “so that this tragedy would not happen to anyone again.”
Read More.

Hiba Abu Ayyash, 23, is Palestinian. Her uncle, Kamal, was beaten and later killed by Israeli soldiers. Her other uncle, Tayseer, decided to take revenge for his brother and was later killed. Her grandfather died on the way to the hospital when a military checkpoint prevented his ambulance from getting to the hospital.
“After all of this pain and seeing my mother crying throughout my childhood, I grew up hating the occupation and all Israelis,” says Hiba.
Read More.

Na'ama and Hiba on peace delegation in Japan
Na’ama and Hiba on peace delegation in Japan

This summer, at the PCFF Youth Program, Na’ama and Hiba joined other bereaved young people in social activities, narrative exploration and learning about the other. “They felt my pain,” Hiba said. “I saw that there are people on the other side who also want to live in peace.
Both of these incredible people have chosen to become Young Ambassadors for Peace.

Please make a year-end gift so Na’ama and Hiba can receive leadership and peacebuilidng training and become Young Ambassadors for Peace.

Support the next generation of peace leadership! Your contribution will go to support a 10-month peace leadership training program in 2017 for 25 bereaved Israeli and Palestinian young adults. In this program, they will dialogue with the other side, share their stories of loss, and will be given the education and training to become the next generation of peace leaders.

“For me, it`s important to act for peace, and I believe that activities of Israelis and Palestinians together– like the Parents Circle’s– are necessary to solve the conflict.”
Na’ama Roth

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation to support Young Ambassadors for Peace.

Thank you for your help in 2016, and for spreading our message that violence is not inevitable– there is another way.

READ MORE

PCFF Members to speak at locations in OH, IN and more

We are excited to announce that 3 of the Parents Circle’s members– Rami Elhanan (the new Israeli General Director of the Parents Circle), and George and Najwa Sa’adeh– will be speaking at churches, synagogues, and elsewhere in the Midwest in October and November 2016.

Plymouth Congregational Church UCC (Fort Wayne, IN)

“Israeli and Palestinian Parents Grieve, Work Together for Justice and Peace” October 25, 6:30 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne. Organized by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace.

ft-wayne-event

First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh (Tecumseh, MI)

Their first speaking event is to be held at First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh in Tecumseh, MI. The event, “Israeli and Palestinian Parents Grieve and Work Together for Justice,” will be on Wednesday, October 26.

tecumseh-mi-event

Bluffton University (Bluffton, OH)

The 3 will be speaking at Bluffton University in Bluffton, OH on Thursday, October 27.
READ MORE

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, IN)

On Friday, October 28, they will be speaking at a public event in Elkhart, IN at the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.parents-circle-ambs

More information about this event can be found at the AMBS webpage.

Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism (Highland Park, IL)

They will be speaking at Lakeside Congregation on Wednesday, November 2.

north-shore-chicago-event

Our Lady of the Brook (Northbrook, IL)

Rami, George, and Najwa are to speak at Our Lady of the Brook Catholic Parish on Thursday, November 3.

pcff-flier-northbrook-version

The three are to speak at other locations in the Midwest in October and November. Make sure to check here and our twitter to stay up-to-date.

Read Rami Elhanan’s story

News article about the Sa’adeh’s

 

We made our goal!

We made our goal! The Parents Circle’s Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, If They Can Choose Peace…Anyone Can, is at 102%! Thanks to your generosity, we raised $15,276 to support our outreach team and to help bereaved Israelis and Palestinians become peace advocates within their communities.

The funds you helped us raise will be used to support our outreach team to meet with those who have lost a loved one to the conflict, and will provide the opportunity for new members to cross-borders and meet with “the other side,” which helps to undermine stereotypes, discover the humanity of the “enemy,” and foster a deep empathy.

Source of Hope Foundation pledged a $10,000 matching gift if we made our goal. That means you helped us raise $25,276 for the cause of reconciliation!

Thank you again for your generous contributions, and for sharing this important campaign!


Parents Circle Welcomed by US Congress

As part of their 2016 Fall US Tour, the Parents Circle’s Israeli and Palestinian spokespersons, Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin, met with Congressional leaders In Washington, D.C..

During this visit, which coincided with Peace Day activities, Damelin and Aramin spoke about our Taking Steps In The Path For Peace project, our new socialbusiness featuring shoes and patches embroidered by the Parents Circle’s Women’s Group. Our speakers were supported by Reps. DeGette, Kildee, Takano, Schakowsky, Matsui, Guttierez, Capps, Lee, Murphy, Brooks, Loebsack, Elmers, Shimkus, Barton, Upton, Clarke.

Read more.

We’re at 95% of our fundraising goal!

We are at 95% of our Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to support the Parents Circle in engaging bereaved Israelis and Palestinians who have not yet joined the organization and provide them with training to become advocates for peace. Please help us raise the final $752 to reach our goal!  Make a donation now.

We are introducing a Bird of Reconciliation Watch as a special offer perk for donations of $250 and more. This beautiful timepiece by Boccia is titanium and features the iconic “Bird of Peace” symbol and the words “Taking Steps For Peace” across the watch face, in support of our Taking Steps project. Learn more about this exclusive item and how you can get your own here.

We have received a generous matching gift from the Source of Hope Foundation. If we reach our fundraising goal of $15,000, they have pledged $10,000 to the campaign! Help us reach that goal this week! 

Please help spread the word about our campaign! Here are some ways you can help:

READ MORE

The Parents Circle needs your help!

This week, we launched our Indiegogo campaign, If They Can Choose Peace…Anyone Can, to raise $15,000 to support the Parents Circle in engaging bereaved Israelis and Palestinians who have not yet joined the organization and provide them with training to become advocates for peace. We’re almost there — we’re at 75% of our goal!

We have received a generous matching gift from the Source of Hope Foundation. If we reach our fundraising goal of $15,000, they have pledged $10,000 to the campaign! Help us reach that goal this week! 

Please help spread the word about our campaign! Here are some ways you can help:

New Israeli Co-Director for the Parents Circle

We are happy to announce the appointment of Rami Elhanan as the new Israeli Co-Director of the Parents Circle. Rami Elhanan will be working hand-in-hand with Mazen Faraj, the Palestinian Co-Director of the Parents Circle.

Rami Elhanan lost his daughter, Smadar, in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in September, 1997. He has been a Parents Circle member for the last 18 years. Read more of his inspirational story here.

We wish Rami Elhanan every success in his new role.

READ MORE

If They Can Choose Peace…Anyone Can

We are excited to launch our 2016 Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise $15,000 so that we can connect and engage with bereaved Israelis and Palestinians who have not yet joined our organization, provide them with Parents Circle program scholarships and encourage them to join us in using their stories of loss to inspire hope and reconciliation.

We need your help! We have already raised 40% of our objective. Please make a donation and help us reach our goal. You can donate here.  

The Parents Circle doesn’t want new members; we want the cycle of violence to end, but this conflict continues to take innocent lives on both sides. Help us continue our efforts to reach out to the bereaved and invite them to take part in our programs. Our members are our greatest resource in combatting hatred and divisive propaganda, in the pursuit of a lasting peace and an end to the cycle of violence and bereavement.

Help spread the word about our campaign through emails, social media, and word of mouth. We hope to reach new supporters and audiences through this campaign in addition to reaching our funding goal of $15,000. Share this page with your friends!

The funds we will raise will help our outreach coordinators meet with new members and will provide 15 scholarships for new members to participate in dialogue meetings, narrative workshops, and peacebuilding activities as they become advocates for peace and reconciliation.

You can help a little or a lot – please reach out to Christopher Beachy (americanfriendspc@gmail.com) if you have any questions about how to be involved.

In peace,

American Friends of the Parents Circle-Families Forum