Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Pair of forums on Israel/Palestine peace: Bethlehem Christian, varied Jewish voices

The Israel/Palestine conflict will be explored in successive forums this fall sponsored by the Joint Peace with Justice Committee of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area synods, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

On Sunday, September 18, a Palestinian Christian will share his experience of living with military occupation. Michel and Carmen Zoughbi have raised six children under extremely difficult circumstances. Michel will discuss the challenges of keeping a family together when one partner has legal residence in Bethlehem, the other in East Jerusalem, and Israeli government regulations prevent their living together.

Zoughbi will discuss the efforts of Palestinians in their situation to build constructive lives, despite severe restrictions on residency and movement. His presentation is titled “Life Under Occupation: Beyond Victimhood.”

The Zoughbis in front of the Bethlehem home which is Michel’s legal residence. If Carmen were to move there, Israeli regulations would take away her legal right to reside in East Jerusalem, along with related social benefits for her and their children.

On Sunday, October 16, the peace/justice forum will bring together four local Jewish groups with a diverse range of perspectives on resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict. On the subject “Seeking Israeli/Palestinian Peace: Varied Voices from the Jewish Community,” distinctive viewpoints will be offered by Jordan Ash, Jewish Voice for Peace—Minnesota; Steve Lear, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota/Dakotas; Andy Luger, J Street Minnesota; and Sylvia Schwarz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network—Twin Cities.

“We’re told it’s the first time ever that these diverse Jewish voices will be heard from the same platform,” says Dick Hilden, who chairs the sponsoring ELCA Peace with Justice Committee. “We urge all having concern for Middle East Peace to join us for both forums.”

The forums will meet in Fellowship Hall, Central Lutheran Church, 333 S. 12th St., Minneapolis. An optional light lunch is served at 12:30 p.m., with a $7 charge (no charge to non-lunch attendees). Programs follow at 1:00 p.m.

Charles Lutz serves on the Joint Peace with Justice Committee of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area synods, ELCA.

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