Building on the success of a multifaith trip to Israel in 2011, a group of Jews, Christians and Muslims will travel to the Holy Land next March to gain new perspectives on the three major monotheistic religions, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The Path of Abraham,” so-called because Abraham is seen as a central figure in the texts of all three religions, is a nine-day tour meant to provide opportunities for participants to see each religion through another lens, said Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, spiritual leader of Beth Tzedec Congregation and a co-leader of the trip.
“Because we are seeing it through other people’s eyes, or with other people, it opens us up to their experience as well,” he said.
Ontario Multifaith Council president Iman Abdul Hai Patel – who is leading the trip along with Rabbi Frydman-Kohl and fellow co-leaders Father Damian MacPherson, director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs for the archdiocese of Toronto; Rev. Karen Hamilton, secretary general of the Canadian Council of Churches, and interfaith and diversity advocate Judy Csillag – said this trip will focus on the commonalities in the three Abrahamic faiths, and promote messages of peace.
“There is not just history there, there is spirituality. For people to visit Israel, it’s spiritually uplifting… From the Jewish community, many people go to Israel, but going on this trip is a unique experience,” Iman Patel said.
“We also hope to bring a message of peace to Israel and Palestine and show how we in Canada are living together... that we are in harmony with each other.”
The itinerary includes visits to Bethlehem, Hebron, Nazareth, the Galilee, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Golden Mosque and Haram al-Sharif, Yad Vashem, the Church of Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Participants will also meet with religious leaders, Holocaust survivors and political figures, including a representative from the Palestine Liberation Organization’s negotiations department.
“In this itinerary, we will be going to a [Jewish] settlement and to a Palestinian refugee camp,” Rev. Hamilton said...One can only gasp at such pathological cluelessness.