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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mount Zion Award 2013 given to two women, one from Israel and and the other from Palestine


JERUSALEM – The Mount Zion Award 2013 for Reconciliation was presented to Yisca Harani and Margaret Karram on Sunday, October 27,2013 at the Benedictine Dormition Abbey on  Mount Zion.   The award is given to men and women as a tribute to their work and contribution in advancing  interreligious dialogue for peace, especially among  Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Many guests gathered at the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem on Sunday, October 27, to congratulate  the two recipients of the Mount Zion award .  Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem;  Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land;  and several representatives of the Orthodox Churches; and an assembly of Jews, Christians and Muslims were present at the ceremony.  The award was presented by Professor Dr. Verena Lenzen, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Research; and Abbot Gregory Collins  of the Dormition Abbey.

Since its creation in 1986 by a German priest, the award has been given to thirty people who worked for interfaith dialogue for peace and for meeting of cultures. Since these are the two initiatives that lead to peace, the award was created jointly by the Dormition Abbey and the Mount Zion Foundation of the Institute of Jewish-Christian Studies at the University of Lucerne.

Traditionally, the award is presented around the 28th of October, to commemorate the declaration of Pope Paul VI’s “Nostra Aetate,” on October 28, 1965, which opened a new relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions, such as Judaism.

Two women rewarded

It is symbolic that two women received this award, one Israeli and the other, Palestinian.

Yisca Harani was born in Jerusalem in a traditionally observant  Jewish family. She pursued higher education specializing in Christianity in the Holy Land with particular interest in the Eastern Churches. She is an educator and consultant on Christian affairs in both the private and public sectors, including the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Religions and the Ministry of Tourism. Since 1989, she worked on interreligious activities to allow many Jews to study Christianity.  In 1999, she launched a unique initiative to promote exchanges and meetings between Arab children of the Old City and Jewish children from Tel Aviv, aimed at bringing together Muslims, Christians and Jews.  She seeks every opportunity to further interreligious contact based on learning, understanding, and acceptance of what people hold in common as well as what makes them different.

Margaret Karam is from a Catholic family in Haifa, whose parents are of Palestinian background. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Jewish Studies at  the University of Judaism, Lee College, in Los Angeles, USA..  Growing up, she was increasingly aware of the common humanity linking her and her Jewish friends believing that Jews and Christians are bound as children of the one Creator despite religious differences.  She has worked with the Focolare Movement for more than 30 years and is a member of the Episcopal Commission for Interreligious Dialogue  She was one of the organizers of an international Jewish-Christian symposium in 2009, as well as other significant conventions to which Jews, Arab Christians, and Muslims were invited, with whom she has long maintained enduring friendships.

These two women stress the importance of interreligious dialogue and work to seek understanding and accord among peoples. Without this understanding, peace is not possible. This award is a recognition and a reminder that all men and all women can participate and become involved.

Pierre Loup de Raucourt
Photos : Andrea Krogmann



Source: http://en.lpj.org/2013/11/01/mount-zion-award-2013-given-to-two-women-from-israel-and-palestine/

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