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Rejecting Violence and Seeking Enclaves of Beauty

Conference Start Date: 
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 to Friday, March 20, 2015

Please consider joining our next Tree of Life Journey to Israel/Palestine and learning about artistic expression as a way of resisting violence. On this interfaith trip we will have the honor of visiting our respective sacred sites and learning from a variety of voices of conscience, Israeli and Palestinian–Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. While Palestinians and Israelis experience many dehumanizing consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, they also find ways to withstand and challenge a culture of violence by creating enclaves of beauty.Practicing instruments, writing poetry, taking photographs, creating dance ensembles, and performing theatrical pieces generate an aesthetics of resistance, holding fast to beauty, free expression, spirituality, and cooperation as alternatives to violence and separation. From the Jenin Freedom Theatre to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Palestinians render their hopes and suffering visible and audible. Beholding their art, we may better understand their experiences of injustice and desires for a more just world.

This March 10-20, the Tree of Life Educational Fund (ToLEF) will sponsor an interfaith trip to Israel/Palestine, led by Rev. Dr. Steve Jungkeit, Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (Connecticut), and Rev. Nancy Boldt McLaren, Minister for Faith Formation and Discipleship at Storrs Congregational Church (Connecticut), with artistic support from violinist Michael Dabroski, MM. We welcome musicians, writers, visual artists, and photographers to join us in learning more about aesthetic efforts for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine and in sharing your own artistic gifts. The journey will include opportunities to perform together and engage in cultural sharing, as well as to document the gifts of Palestinian performers and artists through journalistic writing, photography, and videography. If you are not an artist, you are welcome to participate as an enthusiastic audience member–and we suspect we will discover everyone has a gift or story of some kind to share.

The cost for the journey will be $2,500, which includes ground transportation, lodging, breakfasts, dinners, speaker fees, and most tips. Participants can expect to spend approximately $1,000 on round-trip airfare to Tel Aviv.

For those interested, there will also be an opportunity for an extension in Turkey for a few days, from March 20-24, to experience the rich Sufi tradition and also to learn about the role that Turkey plays in the tumultuous landscape of the Middle East.

For further information and to apply for this journey, please contact Tree of Life Chairperson David Good at or Nancy McLaren at

Click here to find out more!