Hanukkah Lights Day One- Michael Schwamm on His Work as an Advisor to Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding

Screenshot 2014-12-17 09.23.59As a long-standing member of the TSTI community, I have listened to and participated in many discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I believe, however, that I am the first to bring a Palestinian to a TSTI Shabbat service.

The Palestinian was a young man named Alaa Handam, who lives in Acco – a beautiful walled city on the sea near Haifa. Alaa is an alum of the Israeli – Palestinian Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative sponsored by an organization called Outward Bound Peacebuilding that I have been involved with and supported since 2007. He came to TSTI in May of 2013, along with one of the Israeli Jewish participants, Liat Hadad,and together they shared their story of their experience with the Outward Bound Peacebuilding program.

In his own words Alaa stated, “In the Emerging Leaders Program, Israelis and Palestinians meet for the first time in the wilderness, in the middle …

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U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill Declaring Israel a ‘major strategic partner’


A bill declaring Israel a “major strategic partner” of the U.S. passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously on Wednesday and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The bill enhances Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing; increases cooperation on energy, water engineering, research and development; and expands authority for forward-deployed U.S. weapons stockpiles in the Jewish state. “Israel is a bright light in a very, very dark region,” Democrat Eliot Engel said in the House shortly before the vote on Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post reported. He said the bill aimed in part at helping Israel maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its adversaries. “We must always be working to ensure that our support for Israel keeps pace with the threats proliferating against the country—from Iran to Hamas,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said in a statement.

The declaration of Israel as a …

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An Interesting Interview Of Richard Cohen by Charlie Rose


Charlie Rose interviews columnist Richard Cohen in this video clip. Cohen wrote an Op Ed in the Washington Post a few years ago that  drew a great deal of criticism. That column prompted him to begin doing more reading no research. That resulted in a new book

The video is worth reading….


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Horror In Jerusalem

The news to which many of us awoke was nothing short of horrifying. Jews who came to the synagogue to worship in Jerusalem were murdered in cold blood as they prayed. All four men were killed simply because they were Jews.

Ours is a tradition that teaches the value of each and every life. Because of that, each death- particularly of an innocent person- is tragic. When the innocent murdered are members of our extended Jewish family, it becomes personal.

Our tradition teaches, “all members of the community of Israel are responsible for one another.” No matter how we may differ in our political views or religious observance, we are connected. And when one of us suffers, we all suffer. Today we all suffer. Today we all grieve.

Let us be clear. This was cold-blooded murder. It was not a crime perpetrated by crazed killers, but was an intentional act …

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