"Convocation for Remembrance and Hope" Held on September 11 in Jerusalem
On September 11, 2003, the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) hosted a "Convocation for Remembrance and Hope” at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer and other distinguished diplomats and religious leaders. In addition, members of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, a coalition of more than 70 organizations - Jewish, Muslim and Christian - from all over Israel, and representing thousands of Israeli citizens, were in attendance.
Also attending were members of the youth delegations of "Face to Face/Faith to Faith” who had attended a special summer camp in New York for the past two summers, co-sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary of NewYork and Seeking Common Ground, of Denver, Colorado. They were joined by their families and school communities from seven high schools in East and West Jerusalem, and their co-director, Melodye Feldman, as well as people from the general public in Jerusalem who came to commemorate September 11th again with the ICCI this year. They were also joined by religious leaders - Rabbi Levy Weiman-Kelman of Congregation Kol Hanehesma in Jerusalem; Kadi Abdulhakim Samara, Kadi of Jaffa; and Fr. Michael McGarry, Rector of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem - who inspired them and everyone present by the presence and their prayers. Over 100 people attended the convocation this year.
This is the third year in a row that we - Jews, Christians and Muslims - gathered together on September 11th. Two years ago, we welcomed Ambassador Kurtzer to Jerusalem on that unforgettable day, in the shadow of the terrible tragedies which took place in the United States on September 11th, 2001. Last year, we marked the occasion at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, on King David St. And this year, we were the guests of the Bible Lands Museum, one of the veteran member organizations of ICCI.
Why did we come together on September 11th again this year?
- to remember the victims of the terror attacks in the United States which took place two years ago, and which shook the foundations of the civilized Western world.
- to be mindful that there are victims of violence in conflict-ridden regions in many places in the world, including the Middle East (but not only in this region).
- to commemorate those innocent victims of violence who have been killed and who suffer in this land, which is shared by Arabs and Jews - by Muslims, Christians and Jews.
- to refuse to give in to despair. Instead we engaged in prayer and reflection, which will catalyze us to work - each in his or her own way for tikkun olam, repairing the world, especially in our part of the world.
- to listen to and be inspired by young people who have been blessed with a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful inter-religious dialogue in the special atmosphere of a well-organized camp experience which takes place in the summer months in the United States of America, a country which can provide a useful context for tolerance, communication and dialogue at its best.
- to light a candle for peace and for the existential need to promote peaceful relations among peoples and among people in our societies.
It was the consensus among the people who attended this annual gathering this year that such convocations help us all create a deeper sense of solidarity with the human family here and in other parts of the world and motivate us to want to act for peace as well as to pray for peace.
Ron Kronish, a rabbi and educator, serves as Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.