I was born in California, grew up in Hawaii. My parents, mother-Jewish and father-Christian, of blessed memory, had a teacher from India. We moved to Hawaii and I grew up there. As a young man I was searching for my identity in Hawaii and found a Jew who invited me to his Bar Mitzvah, that started a journey to have my own Bar Mitzvah, then get involved in Young Judaea Zionist youth group that brought me to Israel.
I lived in Israel for a year at age 18, then went to live and study Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. As I started to become more observant with Judaism, as I studied with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and with Chabad in New York, I also become an activist for Arab-Jewish and interfaith relations, first in Berkeley, CA and then when I made Aliyah with the intention to become a Jewish peacemaker.
I eventually co-founded Jerusalem Peacemakers together with the late Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari and Haj Ibrahim Abuelhawa from the Mount of Olives.
I was initiated as, and have the title 'Rodef Shalom', 'Peace Pursuer' by Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi.
I'm married with an Israeli wife, and two little daughters.
Why I want peace:
To have a hopeful future for my family in the Holy Land. To wounds and trauma of the family of Abraham- Arabs and Jews, so we can get on with living together in respect, dignity and equality.
Interests and activities:
I run a twice weekly dual narrative tour of Hebron, run out of Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem. Please join us to hear two stories, Israeli and Palestinian, in our shared sacred city, the burial place of Abraham: http://abrahamtours.com/tours/hebron-tour/
I am also the director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers, a network of religious leaders and grassroots peacebuilders in the Holy Land. Jerusalem Peacemakers host events such as:
- the Abrahamic Reunion, a group of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Druze religious leaders working together to re-claim religion as a voice for peace
- the annual 'Jerusalem Hug' event that brings together hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians and internationals to pray for peace around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem
- monthly cross-border events bringing Palestinians from Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah together with Israelis at events in Israel and the West Bank.
My work with Palestinian Sufis is written about in the book "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with the Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land" by Yossi Klein Halevi
Lots more about our network of religious peacemakers and projects at: www.jerusalempeacemakers.org
Something you didn't know about me:
I have Scottish roots on my fathers side, as I am a proud member of the McLean clan.
Hope to network and collaborate with other people passionate about creating a better future for those of destined to live together in the Holy Land- Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians.
I want to let the mepeace community know about some of our great work bringing the religious communities and leaders, Jewish, Muslim and Christian into peacemaking.
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Waleed M. Hammad
Inspire area's leader, a moderator in the website and