Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 Host Corinne Frugoni speaks with Waded Abed and Laurie White about Zeitouna, a group dedicated to just and peaceful coexistence among Arab and Jewish peoples.

Zeitouna is Arabic for “olive tree”or “olive”.  In the summer of 2002, a unique sisterhood comprised of six Arab and six Jewish women was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Naming themselves Zeitouna, they unknowingly embarked on a life-changing journey, both personal and socio-political.  Committing to learn to hear each voice in the group has permanently joined them across the divide of their ancestral communities.

Their mission is to embody and promote the peaceful and just coexistence of the Arab and Jewish peoples through connection, trust, empathy and actions focused on supporting a sustainable future for Palestine and Israel.

Their work consists of personal transformation through sharing personal narratives, reading articles and books together, traveling as a group to Israel/Palestine and providing education to others through presentations, dialogue demonstrations, seminars, panel discussions and reading circles. They also sponsor and participate in political activities consistent with the above stated mission and grounded in the principles of dialogue.

This group has been meeting every two weeks for 10 years.

Laurie White, born in Flint, Michigan, granddaughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, directed and produced the film “Refusing to be Enemies, the Zeitouna Story”.  She discovered film as a forger of social change and community building when she co-produced “Roger and Me’ with fellow Flint resident Michael Moore in 1986.  “Refusing to be Enemies” is her thirteenth film.

Wadad Abed is a Palestinian born in Nablus who immigrated to the US in 1968.  She is a community organizer active in efforts that focus on crossing divides and building bridges, co-founder of the Foundation for Arab Arts in America and strategic and operational marketing specialist.  She co-produced the film “Refusing to be Enemies, the Zeitouna Story”.

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