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July 19, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-19

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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK

Chasing Miracles

INT

ored Jewish guests, who left with roses and a box of choco-
lates. No common language was needed for creating this
partnership of peace."
In Israel as part of a Federation-sponsored May unity mis-
sion, Rosenberg learned of Women in Community, a group
of interfaith social workers and health care providers who reg-
ularly talk up a peaceful co-existence; Notes of Harmony,
1,000 Jewish and Arab student musicians ages 10-15 who
play together for peace; and Jerusalem Circus, which uses cir-
cus acts to teach Israeli and Arab children the benefit of
teamwork, equality and trust.
With the Inter-Religious Coordinating Council of Israel,
representing 70 Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups, she
shared the video of the World Sabbath of Religious
Reconciliation, a service honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. and which drew 600 Jews, Christians,
Muslims and others to a Bloomfield Hills church last January.
There's talk of organizing a similar service in Jerusalem and
having a Detroit delegation attend.

e're at war with Islamic terrorists, but that
doesn't mean we must hate all Arabs and turn
a cold shoulder to those desperate for help,
says Brenda Rosenberg of Bloomfield Hills..
She's right, of course.
The latest Palestinian uprising has taken more than 570
Israeli lives since September 2000, including at least eight in
a bus ambush near the West Bank settlement of Immanuel
on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the intifada has severely
strained humanitarian ties between Jews and Arabs in the
embattled Middle East.
But such ties do exist.
Rosenberg sees these apolitical partner-
ships as catalysts for "changing human rela-
tionships."
I hope she's on the mark because peace is
more likely if Arab leaders have a reason to
partner with, instead of attack, their Jewish
neighbors.
Answering The Call
Rosenberg was so energized by the part-
In a July 5 address at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield
ROBERT A. nerships she and husband Howard experi-
Township, the Rosenbergs spoke of a "historic and conse-
SKLAR
enced during a post-Passover mission to
quential" inter-religious event of Jews, Muslims and
Editor
Israel, she "couldn't wait to start creating and
Christians held Jan. 20-22 in Alexandria, Egypt. The event
coordinating partnerships with individuals
culminated in a declaration, apparently "endorsed" by Arafat
and groups that wanted to be voices for peace."
and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the urging of the
Locally, she joined forces with Evelyn Orbach's Jewish .
Archbishop of Canterbury, to create an international inter-
Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield to boost
religious council. The declaration, says Brenda,
its Stop Hate campaign and with the National -
repudiates "violence, especially suicide bomb-
Conference for Community and Justice and the
ings, as contrary to religious teachings."
American Jewish Committee to inspire interfaith
The council is an intriguing idea, but I doubt
dialogue and social action.
it will fly in the Islamic world, where, in still far
Nationwide, she has teamed up with like-
too many corners, the only good Jew is a dead
minded people in a bid to help replace moats of
Jew, and where Israel is still seen as Arab land
discord with bridges of hope. She's also a
ruthlessly seized by the Jews in 1948.
spokesperson for the Seeds of Peace program,
Even Brenda Rosenberg admits the council,
whose Maine summer camp is intended to pro-
"this historic partnership for peace," faces a
mote understanding between Jewish and Arab
future "obviously influenced by political condi-
young people.
tions."
A grass-roots push alone won't tear down the
Not one to throw up her arms in despair and
walls of disdain that Jew-haters loyal to
Brenda Rosen berg
say peace will never return to the beleaguered
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have strategically
Mideast land we so love, she urges us to partner
built within the West Bank and Gaza, where
with moderate Arabs and friendly Christians. _
even kids are taught that Jews are vermin.
Quoting what her husband said about ecu-
Still, I'm impressed that Rosenberg has followed through
menism during his part of their Temple Beth El address, she
• on her fervent call for bridge building.
said: "We do not have to have the same goals, methods or
skills. We do have to listen with compassionate ears and
express ourselves through nonviolent dialogue.
The Driving Force
"We are the ones with the power, the answers, the ability to
What's the impetus for her passion to spur ecumenism both
change
the world," she added. "We do not have to wait for
in the Jewish homeland and the diaspora? The stunning price
our
leaders.
We are the miracle the world needs."
Israel has had to pay — "empty hotels and shops, anguish
I
wish
we
did have the answers.
and fears on faces, innocent people killed and maimed" — as
But
I
think
Brenda Rosenberg is on to something: We do
a result of terrorists targeting Israeli civilians in the name of
have the ability to change the world for the better — to fulfill
'Allah," she said.
the Jewish ideal of tikkun olam. Each of us can become a
At the Milton and Lois Shiffman Home Hospice in the
force
for good. Each of us can leave a unique gift to
Valleys, a Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit-spon-
humankind.
sored partnership in the Central Galilee, Rosenberg and fel-
Military, economic and political might, vital as they are,
low mission-goer Dr. David Eisenstein of Bloomfield Hills
aren't
the sole slayers of oppression. We also need a global
witnessed Dr. Ainitai Oberman's outreach to the Arab com-
groundswell
for what Rosenberg — an American Arab and
munity.
Jewish
Friends
member — terms "a powerful partnership for
"In the home of an Arab mother dying of cancer,"
peace."
Rosenberg recounted, "Dr. Oberman sorted through all the
"You were chosen to be part of this time and place," she
medications, eliminating the harmful combinations and non-
told
Beth El congregants. "You are needed. If you choose to
essentials, and carefully explaining how and when the med-
do
nothing,
the evil fundamentalists will win."
ications should be taken — as David and I held her hand
And
they
will.
and viewed pictures of her children. We were treated as hon-

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