Statement for October 7, 2023

As an organization devoted to building relationships, dialogue, and understanding between Muslims and Jews, we are horrified and devastated by the tragic cycle of violence and the continued loss of opportunities to establish peace between two peoples inhabiting the same land.

On the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur/October War, our hearts break anew at the death, injuries, destruction, and most of all, loss of humanity suffered by both Israelis and Palestinians at the hands of the other. At this difficult time, we hold our Israeli and Palestinian sisters and their families close.

 We, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, stand by our original position statement on Israel/Palestine and continue to call for a permanent end to the violence in the region. We are dedicated to peace, justice, and humanity. We pray that the values of our faith traditions guide our hearts so that we may listen to the voices of reason and love.

 We want to share reflections from our partners and dear friends, Elad Vazana and Aziz Abu Sarah, that we received today. We hope their words fill your hearts with empathy and strength to hold on to hope and to each other.

Elad (whose family is from Ofakim near the Gaza border and whose 96-year-old grandmother is reportedly safe):

“Please pray for less violence and suffering in the region. I still have hope and believe that times will come where we will have peace in the region. We all have the potential to make a difference and make it happen.

“I know you are worried about the humans of this land, Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and your love and attention is really important for us. To those of you who have been here before or heard our stories, experienced the huge thirst we all have to stop the violence, and our yearning for peace, please share this experience with your friends.”

Aziz (who is from East Jerusalem):

“I can tell you that no victory for anyone is possible. These actions are motivated by the “need” to inflict pain on the other. Hamas wanted to do that. They did. Now Israel is doing the same. 

“I especially can’t take social media. Everyone is tribal. Everyone is spreading propaganda. Even some reasonable people are falling for it right now. The anger has shot over the roof. We, reading these posts are being radicalized without even noticing. To be honest, I know it’s really hard not to, especially for people living outside Israel and Palestine. 

“But this is the time to offer an alternative. This is the time to be a voice of reason and this is a time to speak out for an end to ongoing violence.” 

Even though at times like these, it is difficult to remain connected and take on the challenging work of engaging in difficult conversations – we encourage you to do exactly that. We are here to support you in these efforts. Our first cohort of dialogue facilitators recently completed an intensive, nine-month dialogue facilitation training with NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change. These terrific Sisterhood leaders are available to join your chapters, groups, and communities to help facilitate challenging conversations on this and other subjects. Please reach out to us if you would like this support.

In Peace and Sisterhood,

Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

October 7, 2023

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