Tree of Life conference coming to Storrs
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Tue., Oct. 22, 2013
An Interfaith Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine will take place on Oct. 29, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., at the Storrs Congregational Church at 2 North Eagleville Road. The event is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the Tree of Life Educational Fund, initiated by the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in 2002 as its response to the events of 9/11, and the Israel/Palestine Peace, Education and Action Group of Northeastern Connecticut. Both organizations promote a non-violent, diplomatic resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Both are pro-peace and pro-justice and work for a resolution based on international and humanitarian law.
This year there will be four Tree of Life conferences in Connecticut. Others will take place in New York City, Vermont, Maine, Oregon and Georgia - also at Harvard University and on Cape Cod. All take place approximately within the same week and share speakers, musicians and other aspects. In addition, TOLEF sponsors annual delegations to the Holy Land where participants have witnessed the work of non-violent peacemakers in the region.
The Storrs conference opens at 6 p.m. with refreshments, a Middle Eastern bazaar and a literature table. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a concert of Middle Eastern music with Palestinian musicians from Beit Sahour in the West Bank. Tamer Al-Sahouri will perform on the oud, John Sababa on the drums and the Syrian qanan, and Cristine Awad will provide vocals.
At 7 p.m., Rev. Matthew Emery, senior minister of the Storrs church, will moderate a program of speakers. Jane Hilal will outline the challenges of a military occupation, especially the rationing of water resources. Hilal is the head of Water and Environment Research at the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem.
Miko Peled, author of “The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” will speak on hope for peace in Palestine and Israel. Peled is a peace activist. Born in Jerusalem into a well-known, Zionist family, his grandfather was a Zionist leader and a signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled, was a general in the 1967 war and later became a peace activist, himself. Peled’s 12-year-old niece was killed by a suicide bomber in 1997, propelling him into a personal journey that he describes in his book. “The General’s Son,” published in 2012, takes the reader into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, documenting the fears that haunt both peoples, as well as the courage of those who advocate for peace, justice and equality in the Holy Land.
For more information about Tree of Life, go to www.TOLEF.org.