The Words of the Wilson Family
December 2, 2003
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday evening some of us participated in a conference call with Rev. Schanker to discuss Jewish outreach for the upcoming peace rally in Israel. I apologize for the short notice in sending out the message about the conference call; many of you missed it. We plan to have a second conference call on Thursday evening at 10:00 pm Eastern Time. More information about that call will be forthcoming.
Some of the participants in last night's call included Bruce Sutchar, Sheri Reuter, Barry Geller, Dan Fefferman, Mel Haft, Eric Erstling and Bruce Grodner. Many others were no doubt lurking on the line, which became very congested and full of static. Despite that, we still covered a number of points.
Rev. Schanker opened by describing the significance of the event (in True Father's words, it will determine the success or failure of Jesus' mission) and the value of inviting Jewish participants from America. I pointed out that in our outreach we do not need to limit ourselves to rabbis, as there are Jewish leaders in all aspects of society who might have a spiritual perspective and desire to work for peace.
Dan expressed concern that the rally might be perceived as a leftist, Peace Now-type event, and encouraged us to find a way to broaden its appeal to Jews on the right. This led to a broader discussion of the various discomforts that Jews have faced at past events, including:
a.. submersion into a Christian tour group
b.. lack of sensitivity to Jewish spirituality
c.. leftist, even pro-Palestinian political leanings among some of the leadership
d.. lack of suitable invitation material All of us felt the need to take these concerns into account and create an experience that could feel heartistically comfortable to new Jewish guests. Once they arrive in Israel, we want to provide opportunities for them to meet with peace groups, interfaith groups, and even participate in outreach. We spoke about the need for Jewish musicians and performers at the rally, in order to counterbalance the Gospel orientation of our ACLC clergy with some Jewish cultural feeling.
As we briefly touched on outreach itself, several people spoke about the importance of networking, to first identify "warm" Jewish contacts--ex-members, participants in conferences of years gone by--and connect them wherever they live with local outreach efforts.
A number of action steps came out of the meeting:
1.. Rev. Schanker and I will work with a core group on strategy prior to the next conference call
2.. I have started work on an invitation letter and am now circulating it for review.
3.. I have a draft IIPC approach book that may be suitable for outreach; it is a 4MB PowerPoint file. Anyone who wishes to download it and has enough capacity to handle such a large file can contact me.
4.. Rev. Schanker is contacting Rev. Jenkins and the organizers in Israel about designing a program that is Jew-friendly. I can be in touch with everyone by e-mail, so you are welcome to send suggestions by me.
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