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Rank and File / South African Community in Ra’anana Meets Young S. African Leaders

Brandeis scholars tour Israel as part of studies, and more than 160 Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together for a multi-faith breaking-fast event.

Steve Klein
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Steve Klein

OUT OF (SOUTH) AFRICA: The South African community in Ra’anana this week had a rare opportunity to meet with young leaders from South Africa,  on a tour organized by the South Africa Israel Forum, and gain insights into each other. “They really came with an open mind,” observed Telfed’s Dorron Kline of the 18 delegation members. Dan Brotman, SAIF’s director, said some of the participants, who will be future leaders in South Africa, were under enormous pressure not to come or received threats over being kicked out of their political parties. Some of the paricipants, who told Haaretz they are in Israel on a personal capacity, said they supported the “boycott Israel” movement because they were getting one-sided information, according to Brotman, who stressed, “The goal is not to make them pro-Israel, but to expose them to a narrative they really don’t hear in South Africa.”

FAST TALK : More than 160 Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together for a multi-faith breaking-fast event at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem last Sunday, under the auspices of the Abrahamic Reunion – Center for Religious Tolerance. Sheikh Ghassan Manasra and Fr. Russ McDougall, rector of Tantur, welcomed the attendees. “I explained the meaning of the fast of the 17th of Tamuz,” said Eliyahu McLean, one of the event’s organizers. Sheikhs Jamal al-Din from Beit Hanina and Abdel Salaam Manasra spoke about the meaning of fasting during Ramadan for Muslims. The Muslims waited 20 minutes to break the fast together with the Jews. “Well into the night, we shared food, stories ... an experience of mutual respect, sharing and unity,” added McLean, who is originally from Northern California.

HANDS-ON ISRAEL STUDIES: A group of 25 scholars from universities around the world just completed an intensive seminar in Israel that started with them arriving on El Al’s inaugural nonstop flight from Boston. Participants on Brandeis’ Summer Institute for Israel Studies engaged in a hands-on journey through the country to meet government officials, writers and artists,” a Brandeis official told Haaretz. “The group spent an afternoon with [educator, author, community activist and former Yesh Atid MK] Dov Lipman in Beit Shemesh, getting a full explanation on tensions within the ultra-Orthodox community, and between the ultra-Orthodox community and the rest of the city,” explained Ilan Troen, director of Brandeis’ Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. “It’s exciting and informative when you have people talking about the same subject, and get a multiplicity of viewpoints,” added Troen, a Boston native who will return to Omer after an eight-year emissarial stint at Brandeis.

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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