The Holy Land: “Dare to Care” in Nes Ammim

The Holy Land: “Dare to Care” in Nes Ammim 558 381 admin

Sept. 2022 – In Hebrew, Nes Ammim means the ‘miracle of the peoples’. This place was created to foster dialogue and understanding between Christians, Jews and Muslims. From 16 to 18 September, “Dare to Care for a Better Future” was held here, a meeting organised by the Focolare Movement in the Holy Land and open to people of every generation, nationality, religious faith or non-religious beliefs. It was an opportunity to share a few days together and discover each other as partners, through mutual understanding, in building a better future together. For testimonies of friendship between believers of different religions, see also Holy Land: stories of dialogue ( ).

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The challenge of caring

The challenge of caring 962 541 admin


Sept. 2022 – Its name means “miracle of the peoples” or “sign for the peoples” as we read in the prophet Isaiah (Is 11:10). In Nes Ammim, a village of Christian origin in northern Israel, dialogue and coexistence among people of different peoples, faiths, religions and cultures is the norm.

An ideal location to host the Focolare Movement’s initiative that brought together around 150 people of different faiths and cultures from September 16 to 18 last year to reflect and experience “caring.”

CLAUDIO MAINA Focolare Movement

“With the pandemic and after the pandemic, the theme of caring is present in the Focolare Movement. A real awareness campaign on this issue is emerging.”

The guiding theme these days is “Dare to care”. Not just a title:

CLAUDIO MAINA Focolare Movement

“We are deeply convinced that it is a way of life to care for others. It takes courage! It takes daring, because it’s about stepping out of one’s box, stepping out of one’s comfort zone, to look beyond.”

Moments of reflection, but also spaces for conviviality and sharing, workshops, games, activities for children, time for a little relaxation, a chance to learn about and participate in different religious traditions. The beginning of Shabbat was experienced with particular intensity.


“It is important to get to know each other: what others believe, who they are, what their culture is. That way all our barriers can crumble down and we can live as brothers and sisters.”

Among the most anticipated moments was a panel discussion with three speakers from different religions-Christians, Jews and Muslims-on building authentic relationships, with oneself, with others, but also in the society in which we live and towards the environment.

The need for every human being to be in relationship with the other, the importance of knowing one’s own identity, education for dialogue, starting with religious leaders, the push to get out of one’s own schemes: these are all topics addressed by the speakers and explored in the assembly and in the various workshops.

Prof KHALED FURANI Tel Aviv University

“Why am I here? What am I living for? If we keep asking ourselves these questions, perhaps we can challenge what makes us feel comfortable and go out and explore new ways in which we can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.”

SHIRA LEVINE Rabbi – Kibbutz Hanaton

“Many of my friends chose not to be religious at all. It’s ok, everyone believes in whatever they believe – in the mankind and in themselves, ok. But I believe, I believe in God and I believe in people, and I found that I have a lot in common with people who believe. Sometimes we understand each other’s better than people who choose not to believe”.

The various proposals and free moments were an opportunity to touch upon this possibility of taking an interest in others and being enriched by their presence.


“The theme of these days gives me energy to be a person who can help and do something good for their community.”


“It was a good experience, of living together, of friendship, of meeting: meaningful for life!”

Spaces and moments like this Focolare Movement event are a testimony that the desired unity is possible if everyone takes the risk of “daring to care.”

SHIRA LEVINE Rabbi – Kibbutz Hanaton

“I am very happy. It’s really a miracle that all these people come together, it’s a miracle that all the ‘ammim’ (peoples) come together.”

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Searching for Jerusalem’s Vocation Together

Searching for Jerusalem’s Vocation Together 1123 632 admin

Mar. 2020 – “Together for Jerusalem” was a seminar sponsored by the Focolare in the Holy Land together with the Sophia University Institute (Italy).The seminar gathered Jewish and Christian biblical experts to focus on the vocation of Jerusalem as seen in the Bible, thus setting a biblical foundation to the goals of the Focolare’s future International Center for Unity and Peace in Jerusalem.

From different countries in Europe, from USA and Israel, scholars in biblical and related studies participated in the seminar held this past March 12, 2020 at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. Professor Yair Zakovitch of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem delivered the keynote speech entitled: “’In the Days to Come, the Mount of the Lord’s House Shall Stand Firm above the  Mountains and Tower above the Hills’ (Isaiah 2:2): The Peace of Jerusalem in Prophetic Literature”, with responses moderated by Dr. Marcie Lenk,  a Jewish scholar of Jewish and Christian texts.

Amidst the global health crisis, several scholars from other countries presented their contributions through teleconferencing. Dr. Giovanna Porrino (Italy): “God Gathers His people and the Peoples of Every Tongue” (Isaiah 2 and 66); Prof. Franz Sedlmeier (Germany): “Psalm 87: Jerusalem, Mother of the Peoples”; Dr. Giovana Czander (USA): “The Witness of Two or More in the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible”; Dr. Margareta Gruber (Germany): “Urban Living Spaces for all Peoples. The Vision of the New Jerusalem in the New Testament Book of Revelation” (Rev. 21:1-22:5).

There were also two presenters from Israel: Rabbi David Goodman who presented his contribution entitled: “The Ancient History of Jerusalem in Jewish Oral Tradition”; and Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish: “How Do We Bring the Heavenly Jerusalem Closer to the Earthly Jerusalem?”

Rabbi Ron Kronish:
“We did a little bit of dreaming… (about) the Jerusalem that we would like to see, the Jerusalem of the future, the Jerusalem of our hopes and dreams. We also talked towards the end of the day about how we must share and work together in bringing the heavenly Jerusalem closer to the earthly Jerusalem. It was a day of dialogue, of inspiration, and it gave all of us a hope for the future in a very real and tangible sense.”

László Berényi, Hungary’s cultural attaché in Israel:
“… Jerusalem, specifically in Dormito, where we are now, became a small world-wide workshop searching to find the vocation of Jerusalem. And if Jerusalem has a vocation, it is exactly this one: to gather people of different nationalities, of different religions with different perspectives and visions but all searching the way of unity.…”

The event falls on the centennial celebration of the Focolare’s foundress, Chiara Lubich. An exhibit on her life and contribution to the Church and to humanity was simultaneously on display at the Franciscan’s Curia in Jerusalem. One of Chiara’s dream was to have, in Jerusalem, a Center which would focus on four areas:  spirituality, study, dialogue and formation. Among the goals of the planned International Center for Unity and Peace is the gathering and hosting of events on inter-religious studies and research.

All the presentations are now freely accessible in the online journal: Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture, Vol. 9, No. 2 (2020) Together for Jerusalem . Some contributions in the form of videos can be found on Youtube.

The seminar, also part of the academic outreach of Sophia University Institute, heralds the launch of a shared journey in scriptural research, cause of hope for fruitful exchange well into the future.

Contributions from around the World

Contributions from around the World 1134 624 admin

Regno Unito – 17-03-2020

“Abbiamo appena mandato £250 (circa 268 euro) per il Centro a Gerusalemme. E’ una donazione dalle volontarie del Galles”

Italy – 29-11-2019 – “Together …Seeds of Peace”

The invitation card contains a meaningful design: “The tree of peace” which was done by Francesca Di Pietro, of Colgna Spiaggia (Italy), 12 years old.

More than 170 people from the province of Teramo, Pescara and from nearby territories gathered together for a dinner for a cause entitled “Insieme.. Semi di Pace” (Together… Seeds of Peace) last November 29, 2019.
The event was organised and promoted by the Focolare movement with the collaboration of Associazione “Città Aperta” (Open City Association) which aims to collect funds for the International Center for Unity and Peace Jerusalem.
“The nigh was sealed by mutual hospitality and of benevolence among the adherents of this initiative, because already here, and not only in the Holy Land, a model of a united society in the spirit of universal fraternity: ‘Together… Seeds of Peace’ and hope.”

Repubblica Ceca – 19-11-2019

“La notizia del Collegamento CH del 23 febbraio 2019 sul Centro del dialogo e pace a Gerusalemme ci ha portato tanta gioia e si è iscritta nei nostri cuori. In seguito, fra alcuni membri dell’Opera che quest´anno hanno un giubileo, (cioè compiono gli anni “rotondi”, come si dice qui, di 40, 50, 60, 70…), è nata la proposta di approfittare di quest’occasione per vivificare la vita della comunità e festeggiare il totale dei 19 giubilati insieme, in due gruppi: a Praga nella Cittadella Il Patto ed a Brno presso il focolare. E poi l’idea: invece dei regalini, offrire a tutti la possibilità di contribuire, anche con piccole somme, alla costruzione del Centro a Gerusalemme. L’idea è stata accettata con grande gioia. In quei giorni, ci è capitato fra le mani un segnalibro di Gerusalemme, con il disegno della località del Centro ed una citazione delle parole di Chiara del 1960, a proposito della scaletta. Ancora in tempo siamo riusciti a farlo stampare in ceco, aggiungendo anche il numero di un conto bancario per raccogliere i contributi. Nel programma della festa è stato inserito un momento di presentazione del progetto e sottolineato la sua importanza. Un ospite, che ci conosce poco, ebrea di origine, prendeva delle note e faceva le foto con tanto entusiasmo…
Ispirati dall’evento, alcune persone volevano parlarne anche nelle prossime Mariapoli. E così, finora abbiamo raccolto 1.586,- Euro che il 15 Novembre 2019 abbiamo mandato sul conto bancario riportato sul vostro web. È una goccia, sí, ma crediamo e preghiamo che i cerchi intorno alla pietra buttata nell’acqua si allarghino al piú lontano possibile.”

Francoforte (Germania) – 30-08-19

“Cari Amici, il 15 maggio scorso vi ho inviato 150 euro via trasferimento bancario. Essi provengono da una donazione di due amici musulmani della Germania che hanno voluto contribuire alla realizzazione del Centro per l´unità e la pace a Gerusalemme, appena ne hanno sentito parlare attraverso la notizia del Collegamento.”

Switzerland – 08-2019

28-08-2019: “Good morning! We are a group of young people (between 20-25 years old) from Switzerland and take part in the Focolare Movement. With interest we saw your project when it was broadcasted on the Collegamento CH earlier this year. As a group, we have been financially supporting the international Youth Genfest in Manila with funds that we collected by singing in different churches and collecting money. As the Genfest has ended last year. We were looking for a new project to support. Now, is it correct that you still need money for your center? What is the current situation in terms of planning/construction (this way we can also present the project adequately in the churches). Let us know. Thank you for your answer!”
21-09-2019: “Thank you very much for your information! We have therefore decided to support your project financially with the money that we receive from playing in the 3 churches. Now, tomorrow is our first singing”
29-10-2019: “Just to keep you updated: We have successfully collected money in the two churches!”

Århus (Danimarca) – 11-04-2019

Sabato 6 Aprile avevamo incontro con un gruppo che vuole vivere la spiritualità dell’unità a Århus, una città in Danimarca. Loro vogliono fare qualcosa di concreto insieme per aiutare il nostro movimento, e per questo hanno deciso di dare ogni volta che ci incontriamo soldi per il progetto del centro a Gerusalemme. Non hanno tanti soldi, ma abbiamo detto che tutto, anche le cose piccole, possono aiutare. Hanno pensato di dare questi soldi 3-4 volte all’anno, da incominciare da maggio.

“Last Saturday, 6th of April we had a meeting in a group that lives the spirituality of unity in Århus, a town in Denmark. They want to do something concrete together to help our movement, and therefore they have decided to give money each time they meet for the project in Jerusalem, the Dialogue and Unity Center. They don’t have much money, but we think that also the little things can help. They want to give the money 3-4 times a year, and will begin in May 2019.”


“Chiara Lubich, City – World”

“Chiara Lubich, City – World” 1600 900 admin


Feb.-Mar. 2020 – The call to unity launched by Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Movimento dei Focolari, reaches as far as the city that most of all embodies the encounter between different peoples, cultures, and religions. In Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land hosts the re-adapted exhibition dedicated to the centenary of its birth which is set in Trento, Italy, curated by the Chiara Lubich Centre in collaboration with the Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino.

LUIS RIERA – Holy Land Custody Technical Office

“An exhibition that has an area of about 200 square meters. The original exhibition – the one in Trento – is about 1000 square meters. We, as the Technical Office, acted as a bridge between the Custody – which hosted the exhibition – and the curators in Italy.”

A reference to Chiara Lubich’s spirituality is the passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus prays to the Father “that all may be one”: a message – also addressed to people who do not have a religious belief – addressed to the different types of visitors who will participate in the exhibition, which is open for two weeks.


“I want to bring a Jewish audience here because I want them to know that these things exist. Usually, the media is only focused on the conflicts, the contrasts between people. It’s so reassuring, so revitalizing, to see that there’s collaboration, that there are people who act with courage. Without being “naive”, but remaining very realistic: we live in a place full of conflicts, and even in the midst of these conflicts we have to find common paths to cooperate.”

Divided into four parts, between images and video material, the exhibition “Chiara Lubich World City” also reveals the connection that Chiara Lubich had with the Holy Land, despite having visited it only once in 1956: the Movimento dei Focolari has been spreading here since the 1970s.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm – Holy Land Custos

“Throughout my life, I had the opportunity to meet and greet Chiara Lubich very briefly during one of her visits to Trento. I am happy that the Custody of the Holy Land can host this exhibition, and I am even happier that she reminds both a time like ours and a land like ours of the value of unity.”

CLAUDIO MAINA – Co-responsible Movimento dei Focolari in the Holy Land

“Linked to Chiara’s visit in 1956 there is also the idea of having a physical place in Jerusalem that would testify that unity is possible. With time, this intuition became clearer in the project of an International Centre for Unity and Peace: it is a project that we are carrying out and that we hope to be able to realize soon. If there is a place where it makes sense to be a presence of unity, it is Jerusalem.”

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