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New Paradigms for Breaking the Impasse of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sunday, January 27 | 12:30-5:00 PM | Sanctuary

With the Two State solution currently at a halt, it is time to consider new paradigms to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two relatively new and unique movements will share the stage for the very first time to present their complementary work toward creating a just, peaceful, and harmonious future in Israel/Palestine. Roots/Shorashim/Judur, the Israeli Palestinian grassroots initiative for understanding, nonviolence, and transformation, brings together Israeli settlers and Palestinian activisits. A Land for All (formerly Two States One Homeland), advocates for Israeli Palestinian reconciliation based on a union of two sovereign states in one open land, with freedom of movement for all citizens.

Both movements deeply respect the profound particularity of the two peoples, while firmly believing that the way to a better future runs not through complete separation but rather through respect, acceptance, cooperation, and connection. The focus of Roots is on the grassroots, human and communal level while A Land for All is a political movement. As such, these movements are complementary, each crucial to the ultimate success of the other.

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Shadi Abu Awwad, for Roots, and Dr. Karin Loevy and Gili Re’i, for A Land for All, will present the two movements, the groundwork they each do, and the synergy between them.

After the presentations, Rabbi Roly Matalon will engage in conversation with David Halperin of the Israel Policy Forum and a representative from the Palestinian delegation to the UN, as they share their reactions, remarks and critique to the proposed vision.  There will also be an opportunity for the audience attending the symposium to voice their thoughts and questions, as they engage in small group discussions with the different presenters.

We welcome community members from synagogues, churches, and mosques, as well as members of political and community organizations and universities to attend this event.

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Suggested donation: $15 per person


12:30PM: Check-in
1:00–1:20PM: Introduction and framing
1:20–2:00PM: Presentation by Roots, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Shadi Abu Awwad
2:00–2:40PM: Presentation by A Land for All, Gili Rei and Dr. Karin Loevy
2:40–2:50PM: Break
2:50–3:50: Rabbi Roly Matalon, reactions and conversation with David Halperin of the Israel Policy Forum and a representative from the Palestinian delegation to the UN
3:50–4:00PM: Break
4:00–4:45PM: Break-out session in small groups—reactions from participants, doubts, questions, and inspiration.
4:45–5:00PM: Wrap-up

Gili Re’i is the newly appointed Director of Kehilat Zion. She has two decades of experience working in education, social change and human rights NGOs in Israel. She began her career in the Jewish education field as Regional Coordinator at MELITZ. Later she joined the New Israel Fund as Executive Assistant and a Grant Officer. In 2003, she was appointed Executive Director of the NGO Commitment to Peace and Social Justice. In 2009, she took on the job of Deputy Director of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and in 2015 she joined Sikkuy, The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, as co-director of the Department for Shared Society. For the past 5 years Gili has been involved in various initiatives looking for ways to reconcile the rifts among communities in Israel.  In this search, she has led a dialogue group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Human Rights professionals titled: “Tradition and Human Rights”, and has been a member of the Living Together Task Force.  She is a board member of Shacharit, and Co-Chair of the Parents Committee at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School in Jerusalem, where both her children are students. Gili has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Art History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She serves on the executive board of A Land for All.

Karin Loevy is the manager of the Doctoral Program at NYU School of Law, a researcher at the Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) and a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow with the Laureate Program in International Law (Melbourne Law School). Her book, Emergencies in Public Law: The Legal Politics of Containment, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Her current book project, Visions of Territory: Negotiating the Future of the Middle East (1915-1923) is a history of international law in the Middle East in the period leading to the mandate system. Before moving to academia Karin was a public law litigator associate at Adv. Avigdor Feldman Law Offices in Tel Aviv.

Shadi Abu Awwad is a 28-year-old resident of the Palestinian city of Beit Ummar in the West Bank and one of the leaders of the Roots youth group. He studied graphic design for two years at Al Ahliyya Amman University in Jordan and in the past has worked as a building contractor.  Until recently he was the recipient of a Roots scholarship which allowed to study at Bethlehem University. In his work with the youth group, Shadi facilitates shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other’s humanity.


Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi, teacher, and passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship with Ali Abu Awwad, Shadi’s uncle, and with other Palestinians.  His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe that Ali and others have introduced him to. Originally hailing from New York, Rav Hanan made aliya (ascended to the Land of Israel) on his own at the age of 20 and has lived over the green line, in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, for over 30 years. He spent 10 years learning in Israeli Talmudic seminaries and also studied towards a MA in Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University. His professional career has been dedicated to teaching Jewish studies in various colleges and seminaries in the Jerusalem area, and well as in different frameworks in Florida and Texas. Rav Hanan was one of the founders of Roots and today he serves as its Director of International Relations.

David A. Halperin is the Executive Director of the Israel Policy Forum. Previously, he was a reporter in Israel for the English edition of Ha’aretz. His opinion writings have appeared in a variety of publications including The Jerusalem Post, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, The New York Times, Ha’aretz, The New York Jewish Week, and others. He received a BA from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where he was a member of the International Fellows Program. He is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and resides with his wife and two children in New York City.