Community Contact Information:
Temple Beth Emeth
Ann Arbor, MI
- Advocate for a coexistence initiative in Israel.
- Raise funds to support the initiative.
- Strengthen local interfaith and cross-cultural relations through social justice efforts.
Gate to Humanity--Shaar La'Adam/Bawabal 'Ilensan--is a grassroots initiative in Israel, founded by members of Kibbutz Harduf and residents of the neighboring Arab villages of Saway'ed and Ka'abiya in 2001. Gate to Humanity promotes coexistence and positive cross-cultural interactions. The initiative creates spaces for Arab and Jewish youth to study together, become skilled community leaders, and celebrate holidays with their families and with each other.
A member of the congregation heard about the great work being done at Gates to Humanity, and suggested to the social action committee that the congregation could work with a local Arab-American group to raise money to support the initiative. The committee recruited local Arab-American leaders to collaborate on local interfaith efforts and fundraising for Gate to Humanity. They set a fundraising goal of $10,000 to build a youth center for Gate to Humanity.
The interfaith committee coordinated varied fundraising efforts, including:
- Ongoing: Artists and graphic designers on the committee designed buttons with the words "Shalom", "Salaam," and an olive branch, which were sold at community events for $1 each.
- Rosh Hashanah fundraiser: the rabbi spoke about Gate to Humanity in his evening sermon, and volunteers stationed a donation table near the entrance to the synagogue. Enamel pins were offered for a suggested donation of $10.
- Erev Thanksgiving Service: In the annual joint service with a local Episcopal church, both the rabbi and the pastor spoke about Gate to Humanity and the congregations dedicated the Thanksgiving donations to the fundraising goal.
- Interfaith Seder: The synagogue, Episcopal church, and members of the local Arab-American community co-sponsored an interfaith seder. Information about Gate to Humanity was presented to all attendees.
The committee was extremely successful in meeting their fundraising goal. The Thanksgiving service alone raised over $3,000. The synagogue, church and local Arab-American community have been able to come together around the goal of co-existence.