Last year at about this time, a group of us from Agudas Achim and Westminster Presbyterian were preparing to visit Israel. Rev. Larry Hayward and I led an intrepid group of Christians and Jews on an exploration of sites of importance to both faith traditions, to Muslims and to modem citizens of the State of Israel and the world.
The visit was the logical next step in our close relationship with our neighbors. Thirty-some years after the interfaith Thanksgiving service, fifteen-plus years after being hosted by Westminster for part of the time we were under construction, and six years after our joint adult learning tradition began during Westminster's stay with us, a trip to Israel seemed to be the essential voyage of discovery.
As with every trip to Israel, the taste left us wanting more. And so, Larry and I will be taking on one of those topics that makes us all so nervous: Israel and Zionism. Each Tuesday in February we will present another facet of the conversation in the hopes of a deeper understanding of the dynamics, values and policies that ripple through our lives in the media, in government and in our faith communities.
On February 5. Larry and I will discuss our faith traditions' views of the land. Each of us will try to articulate from a Scriptural, theological and philosophical perspective the role of the Holy Land.
On February 12, Noam Katz of the Embassy of Israel will discuss modem Zionism and the State of Israel.
On February 19, two Presbyterian activists will discuss the Presbyterian Church's efforts in the Middle East. Bill Plitt will present the perspective of the Church's Israel Palestine Mission Network that is critical of Israel and Rev. John Wimberly of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace will present the perspective of Presbyterian support for Israel.
Finally, on February 26, Larry and I will lead a discussion among our participants on what we learned, where we go with the information and what impact it all has on our perspectives.
These sessions will take place at Agudas Achim and each will begin at 7:15. We will take a break for minyan at 7:50 and reconvene at 8:05 until 8:45.
Please plan to join us with an open heart and willingness to learn and share.