Summer 2012 - ”Sharing Dreams

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Message from Professor Ariela Lowenstein, Acting President of YVC
Yezreel Valley College (YVC) is delighted to be spearheading the first Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations (CSJCR) at an Israeli academic institution. The field of JewishChristian relations is a vibrant area of study and activity at leading academic institutions in North America and in Europe. It is long overdue that we engage this subject in Israel, and YVC is the perfect home for it. Yezreel Valley College has already established a distinctive culture that will nurture the Galilee CSJCR. Our pluralistic student body, our teaching and community focus, and our dedication to encouraging a vibrant diversity of voices and perspectives in Israel, are perfect matches with the Center’s goals. The College is committed to supporting this project, offering its many resources, including its top-class library, communication and media center, study halls and dormitories. As we begin to actualize the potential and promise in this project, we thank you for helping to make this happen, and invite you to partner with us in this important venture. Jews and Christians together share much history. The time has come for us to also share dreams.

Message from Dr. Faydra Shapiro, Director of the Galilee CSJCR
When given the opportunity to explain our goals, I find myself seeking the right metaphors to guide us. In the book of Proverbs I found an image that struck me as especially apt: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). It is through engaging each other, through encountering and wrestling with our own and others’ ideas, histories, theologies and fears that we can become better people, and better Jews and Christians. I want to thank our supporters, those pioneers who have discerned wisely and sacrificed to help build up this innovative and important project. The path of the pioneer is undoubtedly challenging, but those who innovate drive the future. By our work, we can encourage the creation of a world that reflects Truth and inspires Good. Thank you for being a part of this journey of creation. In this report you can read highlights of the activities that your support has allowed us to undertake.

Christianity in Nazareth
More than 25 Israeli students from YVC (in Afula) and Beit Berl College (in Kfar Saba) came to learn more about a part of Israel they rarely encounter – Christians in Nazareth. We enjoyed a guided tour in Hebrew of some of the major churches in the city, and then listened to speakers from Nazareth teach about Christianity and their experiences as Christians in Israel. Several of the students had never been inside a church before! It was an eye-opening day for everyone.

Learning about the Jesus-era house excavated at the International Mary Center

Reactions from Students:
“I would totally recommend this program to others! The experience can open you to accepting people different from yourself, and it teaches you about multiculturalism and how to live together in peace.” “It’s always good to learn about others and to engage one another rather than be scared and ignorant.” “I learned more about multiculturalism in Israel and the Christian perspective as a minority in this country.” “This day helped me to understand Christianity, and I learned many things and about streams of Christianity that I didn’t know about before.” “The meeting between Christianity and Judaism is important and it adds a perspective to the complicated life in Israel.” “As a Jew who didn’t know Christians or Christianity in any detail, this day helped me to understand a lot.”

Corrie Remembers
Corrie Remembers is a powerful one-woman dramatization by Susie Sandager that has been performed hundreds of times around the globe. In partnership with the City of Afula, the Galilee CSJCR brought inspiration to a diverse and vibrant audience, some of whom had never heard of Corrie ten Boom before. We were joined by Jews and Christians from Afula, Jerusalem, Karmiel, Nazareth, and from many nearby kibbutzim and small communities. In the audience were students in their twenties, retirees in their seventies, and everything in between. There were Catholics, Evangelicals, Brethren of Early Christianity, secular Jews and Orthodox Jews. There were Americans and Europeans, Arabs and Jews – and together, everyone was inspired by the unassuming courage and love that Corrie ten Boom embodied.

Sagi Melamed (VP, External Relations & Development, YVC), Susie Sandager (as Corrie ten Boom) and Dr. Faydra Shapiro (Director, Galilee CSJCR)

The Hebrew-language poster for the event

Reactions from the Audience:
“I thoroughly enjoyed Corrie Remembers. I vaguely knew the story, but the play brought it alive so well. I cried almost the whole way through. I left wondering if I had lived then, would I have found the courage to help Jews rather than "mind my own business" as I do so often in today's conflicted times.” “Susie Sandager’s portrayal of an old Dutch lady was amazing! Her message of support for Israel at the end of the evening was very powerful. Would that all our co-religionists in the Diaspora were as passionate in their support of Israel as this Christian woman.” “We were so happy to meet all these people gathered around Corrie ten Boom who saved so many children. It was great to hear how she heard God telling her to save His People. We hope together God wants to save all of us from evil and we pray to receive peace from Him.” “Tonight I had my eyes washed out, good. I think everyone here did!”

Visitors to Israel
A special privilege of being part of the Galilee CSJCR is enriching the experiences of Christian visitors to Israel, by teaching them more about the Jewish life and culture that they encounter during their time here. Have a look!

Eagles’ Wings Israel Experience College Scholars in small group discussions with Jewish students at Yezreel Valley College

A pastor and his group of Christians from Orebro, Sweden, in Dr. Faydra Shapiro’s class on the Jewish sabbath, at Yezreel Valley College

About the Galilee Center for Studies in JewishChristian Relations
At the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations (CSJCR) we strive for excellence in three core areas:    Encouraging academic research in Jewish-Christian relations Teaching about Jewish-Christian relations Supporting Jewish-Christian engagement in Israel

Our dynamic learning and enrichment opportunities are open to everyone: Jews and Christians, students and academics, clergy and laypeople, local Israelis and overseas visitors. At the Galilee CSJCR, we recognize that Jewish-Christian relations are about far more than just theological differences. Drawing on many fields of study, including theology, scripture, language, history and sociology, we aim to empower and equip Jews and Christians with the tools to engage each other and the complex world we face. Our vision for the Galilee CSJCR is to be a premier institute of research, teaching and encounter, an institute that, while academic in orientation, is also committed to building better relationships between communities on the ground.

What else have we been up to?
In addition to the above, we have also been:  Building relationships with local Jews and Christians  Planning academic courses for 2012-2013  Establishing a Center fellows program for Jewish and Christian students in Israel  Developing additional programming for groups visiting Israel  Cataloguing and expanding our library collection

How to join us for partnerships and support
There are many ways you can help us to sustain and further this inspiring new initiative. We would welcome your one-time or ongoing financial support. You may also explore a strategic partnership between your institution and the Galilee CSJCR. Please contact Sagi Melamed, VP of External Relations & Development at sagim@yvc.ac.il, or Dr. Faydra Shapiro at jcrelations@yvc.ac.il, to discuss how you can become involved.

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