In May, Sabeel Nazareth held a visioning meeting with over 70 women in the women’s group. In addition, the group gave 5 sessions at St. Joseph’s Seminary High School called “Building Bridges” in order to decrease the generational gap and preserve memories as a people. In the June monthly meeting of women, author Fida Jyries read from her book, Al-Khawaja, as part of a book launch. The theme was the importance of keeping our memory and documenting it.The women’s group held a book study during its July monthly meeting; the women started reading Naji Farah’s book.
The young adult group had two meetings on different spiritual ecumenical issues at the Sabeel Nazareth office. In July, they had also 2 meetings on human development issues, and received a group of Americans and Australians. They shared a day of archeological excavations in BethSaida for the third year.
In May, Sabeel Nazareth organized a prayer service at the Mary of Nazareth International Center in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit. More than 250 people and clergy from all the denominations of Nazareth came, including a group from France and others from abroad. During this 2-hour event, we prayed with those in Grenoble, France, through a Skype connection. All around the country prayer meetings were held to pray for peace in Palestine-Israel prior to the Pope’s visit. The soloist singer, Vida Tabar, performed and led songs during this powerful ecumenical meeting of unity.
In June, Sabeel Nazareth held a community program to visit the unrecognized Bedouin villages of the Negev.
A group of 55 people, guided by Rev.Kamal Farah, visited Beer El Sabe ( BerSheva), the archeological sites of Tel Sheva, including the remains of the Palestinian city. They went to a site overlooking the area of 2 Bedouin villages. The group attended a Sunday mass at the Dominican Chapel in BerSheva, celebrated by Rev.Farah, and then ate lunch at one of the villages. A Bedouin guide gave the group a tour to show them the injustices this population faces. They also witnessed a demonstration at the Araqeeb.
In July, an ecumenical prayer for Gaza was held in the Anglican Church of Nazareth. The Rev. Nael Abu Rahmoun gave the homily. There were also prayers for Iraqi Christians during this time.
The interfaith women’s meeting was held in Haifa with the Jewish Machsom Watch groupto prepare for a study day gathering.
Twelve international groups, totaling over 330 people, visited the Sabeel Nazareth office during the month of May. They came from France, Italy, Sweden, Holland, the United Kingdom, USA and Canada. In June, around 60 internationals from Australia, USA, and France visited Sabeel Nazareth. Despite the Gaza war in July and group visit cancellations, Sabeel Nazareth received about 120 people (6 groups) from France and Italy.