Haver Hosts Shorashim/ Judur/ Roots Founders: Rabbi Schlesinger

head shot of me, from Oct 2010
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger

Please join Haver, the Boulder Rabbinical Fellowship, for an evening with Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Khaled Abu Awwad of Shorashim / Judur / Roots

Introducing Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger:

Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher, and a passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship with Ali Abu Awwad. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe that Ali has introduced him to.

Originally hailing from New York, Rav Hanan made aliya on his own at the age of 20 and has lived over the green line, in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, for over 30 years. His family background is Reform, but already at the end of high school he began delving into observant Judaism. He has spent over 10 years learning in Israeli Talmudic seminaries and also studied towards a MA in Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University. His professional career has been dedicated to teaching Jewish studies in various colleges and seminaries in the Jerusalem area, and well as in different frameworks in Florida and Texas.

It was in Dallas about seven years ago that he began to become involved in interfaith work, first with Christians and then with Muslims. There he founded Faiths in Conversation, a framework for Jewish – Christian – Muslim theological dialogue. The mind-expanding experience of these trialogues inspired him to attempt to meet Muslims and Christians back in the Holy Land.

Although always drawn to pluralism and deeply empathic for the other, and sporadically involved in the religious peace movement over the course of the past three decades, Rav Hanan never ever met a Palestinian as an equal until he returned from Dallas about a year ago. The meetings that began then have become far more meaningful than he could ever have imagined.

Ali and an Israeli partner Shaul Judelman, together with Hanan and other Israelis and Palestinians, have been involved for the past fifteen months in creating Roots/Judur/Shorashim, the Palestinian Israeli Grassroots Initiative for Understanding, Non-violence, and Transformation on a piece of land owned by the Awaad family in the heart of Gush Etzion and abutting the Palestinian town of Beit Umar. This location is one of the rare places that both Palestinians and Israelis can access without special government permits, thus facilitating grassroots, unmediated get-togethers and deep conversations between people from the two sides.

The Palestinians and Israelis involved in this initiative do not hide the many deep disagreements between them. They are deeply aware of the complexities of the conflict and of the lack of equality between the two sides. What unites them is their honest search for human understanding and non-violent resolution of the conflict.

NEXT WEEK: An Introduction to Ali Abu Awwad and Khaled Abu Awwad

SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, October 15, 2015 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm at Congregation Bonai Shalom, 1527 Cherryvale, Boulder.

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