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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 ( https://youtu.be/Cp9MOx5xKvA ).

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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.

The exhibition on Chiara Lubich opened in Jerusalem

The exhibition on Chiara Lubich opened in Jerusalem 1002 340 admin


Feb.- Mar. 2020 – The “Chiara Lubich City World” exhibition has been inaugurated in the Holy City, the first of the exhibitions outside Italy to be opened. It includes a section dedicated to Chiara Lubich’s visit to the Holy Land in 1956.

“I didn’t think Jerusalem and its Holy Sites would affect my soul like that (…) every stone said a word, much more than a word, so that, in the end, my soul was all bathed and entirely filled with the presence of Jesus” .

Chiara Lubich’s diary expressed her profound experience during the only journey she made to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, in 1956. Several black and white photographs and a video journal recall that journey, but the greatest testimony is the active presence of the community of the Focolare Movement in this city, which on February 29th, 2020, inaugurated the “Chiara Lubich City World” exhibition housed in the Curia of the Custody of the Holy Land. The exhibition is open until March 14th, 2020.

The exhibition reproduces the one currently open to the public at The Tunnels Gallery at Piedicastello in Trent (Italy), curated by the Chiara Lubich Centre in collaboration with the Trentino Historical Museum Foundation.

It is the first of the international sections of the Chiara Lubich City World exhibition, which will also be held in Mexico City, Sydney, Mumbai, San Paolo, Algiers and Nairobi in the year dedicated to the centenary of Chiara Lubich’s birth. Jerusalem’s primacy is symbolic as the city-cradle of the three great monotheistic religions, and home to many peoples. The community of the Focolare Movement has been here since 1977 with the mandate to contribute to the fulfilment of the unity for which, in this very land, Jesus prayed to the Father.

The Jerusalem exhibition reflects the original while being someone reduced and adapted. It conveys significant moments in the life of the founder of the Focolare Movement, her thought and work, through documents, handwritten texts and photographic material. But this edition has its own specific characteristics, available only to those who visit it here: a section dedicated to the relationship between the founder of the Focolare Movement and Jerusalem, as Claudio Maina, jointly responsible for the Focolare Movement in the Holy Land, explained. “We wanted to bring this exhibition to Jerusalem to make Chiara’s life, spirituality and work better known, but also to bear witness to her relationship with this city. Actually, Chiara only came to Jerusalem once, just for a few days. But from that visit a story began that continues today. Indeed, here in the Holy Land, there are people who have welcomed Chiara’s spirituality and are living it”.

Part of the exhibition is dedicated to Chiara’s great dream for this city so deeply marked by divisions and historical wounds: to create a centre of spirituality, study, dialogue and formation to unity. “It’s a dream, an intuition that gradually took shape – said Terese Soudah – in the project for the International Centre for Unity and Peace, a project that we have been working on for years and that, despite many difficulties, is progressing and we hope to be able to conclude soon”.

Dignitaries attending the inauguration included the Nuncio and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the representative of the Latin Patriarchate, Father Stéphane Milovitch, director of the Cultural Heritage Office of the Custody of the Holy Land, as well as Christian, Jewish and Muslim friends, who make up the Focolare family in the Holy Land.

Due to the Coronavirus emergency, the Italian delegation was unable to attend, but sent video contributions. In this way, the President of the Autonomous Province of Trent, Maurizio Fugatti, wished every success to the exhibition; to bring to the world the message that Chiara Lubich gave to the Trentino Region and to Italy. The Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, expressed his hope that, through this exhibition, Chiara’s spirituality would remind this troubled land of the value of unity, the fruit of Jesus’ prayer, which is still so relevant today.

In a video-message, Anna Maria Rossi and Giuliano Ruzzier, curators of the exhibition in Trent, along with Maurizio Gentilini, presented the exhibition itinerary: “We created a project that isn’t limited to the city of Trent, but, as happened in Chiara’s life, can reach the ends of the earth, encompassing all five continents”.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Nuncio, Archbishop Girelli, recalled the extreme relevance of Chiara’s message: “Here in Jerusalem, we could invert the words of the exhibition’s title and call it: “Chiara Lubich World City”, because this exhibition has come from the world to the city par excellence, the Holy City, the city of unity, of fraternity, of dialogue among religions and among peoples”.

By Stefania Tanesini
Original post published in www.focolare.org


Jerusalem: a city for all

Jerusalem: a city for all 1600 900 admin

Feb. 2019 – Hearing from those who live there gives hope for the most contested city on earth; a different vision from the one in the news.


The Holy Land: stories of dialogue

The Holy Land: stories of dialogue 1121 631 admin

Feb. 2019 – Anna Maria, Jessica and Talat: testimony to friendship among people from the three monotheistic religions. When the walls of distrust and prejudice fall down, you experience that it’s possible to look to the future with courage and hope.