Peacemaker Fridays: June 3, 2016

Israeli Jewish and Arab women wage peace at a hair salon; clowns bring hope to refugees in Jordan; and Philadelphia gives Muslim students an extra reason to celebrate.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

Waging peace in Israel...with shampoo 
Jewish filmmaker Iris Zaki grew up in the Israeli port city of Haifa, a town that is "proud of its legacy of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs." But as she grew up, she wondered if Haifa wasn’t more divided than it seemed. "As a Jew," she wrote, "I don’t remember ever chatting with my Arab neighbors." While making a documentary about Israeli Arabs, she got a job as a shampooer in a hair salon run by two Christian Arab women. What she found was an incredible place that "inspires friendship, acceptance and respect between Arabs and Jews... a little island of sanity." Read more... 


Clowns bring hope to refugees
A troupe of clowns bounced around the tent. A smile spread across the face of a small Syrian girl who'd lost her parents. It was the first time she'd smiled since arriving in the camp. The Irish chapter of Clowns Without Borders (CWB) recently spent a month visiting Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. "[These children] have been through a very traumatic experience,” says founder, Colm O’Grady. Children live in the crowded, makeshift camps for months—or even years—with few opportunities for worry-free play and entertainment. The group's performances give them "a chance to be children again." In addition, CWB offer workshops for children, providing a creative outlet for dealing with fears, frustrations, and trauma. They also use their performances as an opportunity to wage peace between host countries and refugees, work with partner organizations to create a space for the two communities to laugh and play together. Read more... 


Philadelphia adds two Muslim holidays to public school calendar
As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, nearly 135,000 Muslim students in Philadelphia have extra reason to celebrate: their city council voted unanimously to recognize two Islamic holy days, allowing Muslim students the days off from school. Local Muslims feel their city government should be "commended for not being intimidated by the fear-mongering voices of hate and division." Philadelphia now joins New York City, which voted to recognize the holy days last year, in honoring the diversity of their communities and extending a hand of solidarity in a time of fear, violence, and hatred. Read more...  

Do you have a story to share? We would love to hear how you and your community are waging peace right where you are. And stay tuned for more hope-filled peacemaker stories next Friday!

About Kristin Giuliani

Storyteller and program developer at PLC; wife to a would-be farmer; mom to three crazy girls, including one with a mended heart; lover of quiet, camping, and the Great Reconciler.

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Peacemaker Fridays: June 3, 2016
Peacemaker Fridays: June 3, 2016
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