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Monday, April 4, 2022,  6 pm – 7pm CT
Deerfield Public Library (Meeting Room A/B)
920 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, IL 60015

An in-person Hands of Peace Community Circle on Monday, April 4, 2022, Standing Together is the largest Jewish-Arab grassroots movement mobilizing people from all over Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, social and climate justice.

Guest speakers include Sally Abed, an elected national leader at Standing Together. In recent years, she has become a prominent progressive Palestinian voice in Israel.  Alon-Lee, the National Director and a founder of Standing Together, will also be joining us. Alon-Lee emerged as a prominent leader of Israel’s social protest movement in the summer of 2011and served as a political adviser in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Both will discuss the current state of cross-cultural movements in Israel-Palestine following the events in May as well as the ways in which the international community can contribute to peacebuilding.


Live Stream: Friday, March 25, 2022 at 9:30 pm CT/ 7:30 pm PT

Who is Mary/Maryam in 21st century Bethlehem, Palestine? What role does she play in this occupied, politicized land? Mary is the Christian mother of Jesus and Maryam, the Islamic mother of Isa. Two Palestinian actresses play 22 characters, both Christians and Muslims. Through their stories, the everyday lives of Palestinian men and women, particularly women, are revealed. Watch a live stream of the play and then a live Q & A with these guests:

– Dalia Shakhtour and Rufaida Farraj, Palestinian actresses of “Maryam”
– Dr. Mahjabeen Dhala, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies Director of Madrasa-Midrasha Program at the  Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley
– V. Rev. Fr. Samer Youssef, Doctor of Ministry, M.Div., Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Redeemer, Los Altos
– Dr. Arthur Zarate, Assistant Professor of Global Humanities at SJSU
– Dr. Victoria Rue, M.Div., director of “Maryam,” Emerita Lecturer in Comparative Religious Studies


America is in conflict. Ideological, political, cultural, and spiritual divides seem clearer and stronger than ever. Is it possible to cross those barriers and find common ground? Let’s talk about it. Thank you for joining us for Dialogue Lab: America on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 after watching the film.


Thank you for joining us for Breaking Bread with Hands of Peace Regional Managers Rana Haddad (Palestinian Citizens of Israel delegation), and Ayala Shalev (Jewish-Israeli delegation) and Emily Kenward, Chicago Site Director, and Melanie Stanek, San Diego Site Director on January 16.

To watch this virtual conversation, moderated by Rana, a 2003 Hand and long-time Regional Manager, go here:


Thank you for joining us for the first National Day of Dialogue, a series of virtual events on January 5, 2022, including the premiere for Ideos Institute’s documentary film, “Dialogue Lab: America”.  For National Day of Dialogue Hands of Peace joined a coalition of bridge-building organizations led by Ideos Institute.

Together, we promoted the simple idea that common ground is possible. We collaborated with this group of organizations to promote dialogue as one of our most powerful tools in the fight against the current state of division and polarization in our nation.

To watch the replay go here. 


If you didn’t make the concert, watch it here on Youtube or Facebook. 

The Simple Gifts Concert Series of the Glenview Community Church hosted a concert exploring the theme of peace on Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 3:00 pm.

Violinist Katherine Hughes, saxophonist Kevin Kizer, organist Gary Wendt, vocalist Tricia Melzer Swaydrak, the Artistrings String Quartet, jazz vocalist Jade Maze, and the rhythm section of Kent Wehman, Ken Haebich, and Neal Wehman, and singer/songwriter/multimedia artist Linda Marie Smith performed songs about peace in a variety of styles, from traditional to contemporary, including original compositions.

Collaborating with these musicians were representatives of different faith communities including Dr. Koray Aydin, Dr. Ali Yilmaz and Hakan Barberson of Group Yakamoz, the Joyful Ringers Bell Choir and Elliot Dvorin and Doreen Kane of the Key Tov Orchestra.

The concert was organized by Katherine Hughes. Ms. Hughes is a professional violinist, performing in and around the area for over 45 years. She and her husband, Kevin Kizer, are long time Glenview residents. Katherine is a member of the Glenview Community Church and for the last 9 years has organized the Concert for Peace, which benefits Hands of Peace.


August 22, 2021

Co-author and Combatants for Peace co-founder Sulaiman Khatib joined Hands of Peace executive director Scott Rasmussen for a moving and inspiring discussion about This Place Together: A Palestinian’s Journey to Collective Liberation. Khatib shared how his activism became deeply rooted in the belief that we must ground all work—from dialogue to action to healing—in recognition of the history and humanity of the other. Khatib’s story, co-written with Penina Eilberg-Schwartz, was heard by more than 160 participants on the Virtual Book Circle on Sunday, August 22, 2021. They joined from countries worldwide – France, Germany, Israel, Palestine, United Kingdom, and the U.S. 

Watch recording here. 


July 11, 2021

Hands of Peace Founder Gretchen Grad joined cultural guides Aziz Abu Sarah and Kim Passy Yoseph from Mejdi Tours as they shared Israeli and Palestinian variations of Shakshuka, a popular Middle Eastern recipe. Hands of Peace alumni also joined the 60-minute Zoom cooking session as we all discovered the cultural influences and historical background of this delicious dish.

Go here for the Mejdi Tours Shakshuka Recipe.


From Elections to Al-Aqsa: What’s Happening in Israel/Palestine and What Happens Next

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen and Board member Reem Ghunaim, Executive Director of Rotarian Action Group for Peace, were joined by Palestinian Aziz Abu Sarah, a TED Fellow, peacebuilder, and co-founder of Mejdi Tours, and Israeli Gershon Baskin, a political and social entrepreneur and a researcher of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and peace process.

This Community Circles event explored what is currently happening, how we got there, and what our Hands of Peace community can do to act for peace in building a future of self-determination and security for Israelis and Palestinians.

Watch Recording Here.


May, 2021

To  speak out against the escalating violence in Israel/Palestine, many of you joined our 5K Walk for Peace. To see the pictures gathered from many parts of the world during Walk the Talk Benefit Week go here.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

John Lyndon, ALLMEP Executive Director, and Huda Abuarquob, ALLMEP Regional Director joined Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen for a powerful and inspiring conversation about people-to-people peacebuilding and the impact of the historic passage of the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA).  A coalition of over 125 organizations – including Hands of Peace – the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) is the largest and fastest-growing network of Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilders.


Sunday, February 14, 2021 

The discussion about the film ‘Til Kingdom Come and the issues it raises included a panel with Israeli filmmakers Maya Zinshtein and Abie Troen, and Palestinian Pastor Munther Isaac, moderated by Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen.


Grassroots movements that create spaces for dialogue and action across lines of difference form an essential building block of sustainable peace. What are the unique advantages and challenges to these efforts, and how do you create ethical frameworks that pursue open opportunities for exchange while also calling participants into action that maximizes dignity, security, and freedom for all?

Those questions and more were answered by Hands of Peace alumni Stav Arnon and Elias Hawila and Executive Director Scott Rasmussen in the first of a Telos Webinar Series, “Peacemaking from Bottom to Top” on January 26. To view the entire webinar see below. If you are interested in the rest of the Telos series go here.