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Chicago and San Diego Benefits 2023

Hands of Peace Celebrates Changemakers and Power of Purple

Hands of Peace held its Power of Purple Benefits on April 30, 2023 at The Secret Garden in Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego and May 7, 2023 at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, Il, raising more than $230,000 to bring American, Israeli and Palestinian teens together this July for Summer Program 2023, a three-week transformative journey that empowers youth to become agents of change in their communities and around the world.

The Power of Purple Benefits featured remarks by Hands of Peace alumni who have become accomplished changemakers, including Stav Friedman, who was only 13 when she participated in the first Hands of Peace Summer Program in 2003. Now an environmental scientist who is passionate about policy, plastic pollution and climate change, Friedman is currently leading research projects at Imperial College London and is the founder of Plastic Free Israel, considered one of Israel’s most active and proactive organizations combating plastic pollution.

“Environmental issues transcend boundaries, traverse borders and affect us all. Stronger storms, drier droughts, rising waters, waves of plastic pollution – these things will impact us, whether we call our home Palestine, Israel or America,” Friedman told the crowd in Chicago. “When you get to the heart of the matter, nature isn’t held back by borders, but neither is love, neither is compassion, and neither were the participants in a Hands of Peace Summer Program.”

The Summer Program will transform attitudes and beliefs in new Hands this July, just as it impacted alumna Roxanne Corbeil in 2014, the first year of the San Diego Summer Program. Now with a double major undergraduate degree and two master’s degrees, Roxanne is pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at UCLA, devoting her research and teaching to better understand “the many sides of truth” in the Middle East. 

“If we believe in youth, that they are our future and that they are worthy and worth it, then we need to invest in them and their belief that a better world is possible,” said Roxanne. “To me, that is the role and purpose of Hands of Peace. To quote the Talmud, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

 Go to the Hands of Peace Flickr Feed to enjoy photos of both events.