What would it take to brings Jews and Palestinians together? Apparently, some homeless folks to help and a large pie. From the Albany-Democrat Herald, an interesting icebreaker took place courtesy of "Project Provide A Home,√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ launched by Palisades Emergency Residence Corp. of Union City…
The shelter hosted a group of Jewish volunteers one week, and another group of Muslims shortly afterward. The symbolism √¢‚Ç¨‚Äù and the possibilities √¢‚Ç¨‚Äù were not lost on the executive director, Matt Kamin, a Jew, and Amal Abdallah, a Palestinian who helps line up volunteers to serve meals. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìWe were trying to figure out why our communities didn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t get along,√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ Kamin said. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìWe started talking and said, √¢‚Ç¨ÀúWhy can√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t we get these two groups together and do something?√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ It was that easy.√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ The first meeting was somewhat awkward, with all the Jewish girls sitting on one side, and all the Muslim girls sitting on the other √¢‚Ç¨‚Äù each side eyeing the other curiously, if not warily.
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìOne of the girls asked me, √¢‚Ç¨ÀúHow do you pray?√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ and I was so surprised at the question,√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ said Aviva Bannerman, a 17-year-old from Montclair. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìI thought everybody knew that Jews pray in groups and we sing our songs aloud, but no one had ever taught her that. I asked her how she prayed, and they use a prayer mat and it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s more subdued and quiet. I go to a Jewish school and I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m surrounded by Jews 24/7, so I was delighted to be able to share about my religion and share in theirs.√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢
√¢‚Ç¨≈ìThat was a rule we agreed on coming into this project, and I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m glad it exists,√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ wrote Liliane Winograd, a 17-year-old West Orange resident. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìAs much as I am interested in seeing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from another perspective, I like that we are able to talk comfortably without the possibility of an argument breaking out.√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢
Or as Rebecca Heller, 16, of Cranford added, √¢‚Ç¨≈ìWe could all just sit together, eating pizza and laughing, without a thought to our feuding ancestors or political tensions.√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢
And we bet it looks great on those college applications, too.