Exhibit Embodies Bridging Of Political, Religious Gaps

March 9, 2008

Author: Tim Funk

Source: The Charlotte Observer


They've built a Habitat for Humanity house together. They've had ritual meals together. They've even worshiped side-by-side at Thanksgiving eve religious services.

But things were different - and often difficult - when these local Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders met over the last several months to address an issue so emotional and so outside their comfort zones that they long avoided any mention of it in such mixed company.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tonight, at a time when the tide of violence is rising yet again in Israel and Gaza, this Charlotte interfaith group, its rounds of edgy negotiations over wording finally done, is bringing to town "Children of Jerusalem: Painting Pain, Dreaming Peace."

The free art exhibit at ImaginOn in uptown Charlotte will showcase 61 paintings about the pain of war and the longing for peace by Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jewish elementary school students who started out fearing each other and ended up friends.

The 50 children participated in a three-year program initiated by the Institute for the Study of Religions and Communities in Israel. The paintings, 27 by Palestinians, 27 by Israelis and seven joint efforts, includes a picture of a caged dove.

Kicking off the exhibit tonight will be a 7:30 lecture, also free, featuring two grieving victims of the conflict who are now committed to reconciliation instead of revenge: an Israeli mother whose son, a soldier, was killed by a sniper, and a Palestinian refugee from the West Bank whose father was killed by an Israeli solider while returning from a grocery store.