Participants' Perspectives

"My prayer life was in a rut, and this experience changed that. Before this trip, I had started feeling that dialogue was nice, but not transformative. Now I'm reconsidering my approach to religion and conflict." (Jewish Theological Seminary rabbinic student)

"I learned so many things about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that's the smallest thing I learned. This group has really deepened my love for God, and I've never been prouder to be a Christian. The Jewish members of the group made me a better Christian. I learned to always listen first. I also realized how proud I am to be a Korean American - this experience made me long for my Korean background." (Princeton seminarian)

"The program changed my perspective on what the best approach is toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I used to think a grassroots approach is best; now I think top-down approaches may be more effective. I also didn't think that Christians had anything to contribute to Israel or my own attitudes toward Israel. That's changed. I had never been to a church in the Old City or to a worship service there - I had never bothered to stop by." (Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinic student)

"I have new friends whom I never would have considered it possible to be friends with. I also have a new level of sadness for my parents, who were born in Ramallah, and for Israel and Palestine. I haven't lost hope, but I have a new appreciation for the complexity of the region. I also have a much better understanding of my own faith." (General Seminary student)

"I became convinced that Christians have a role in the Israel-Palestinian conflict." (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion rabbinic student)

"Visiting holy sites was anticlimactic for me. The sites are beautiful, but for me, it would have been enough to sit by the Sea of Galilee and talk all day. My theology revolves around my connection with people. My perception of self changed. I spent more time in the last ten days talking about who I am as a Black Christian woman than I have in my entire life. I've also changed how I deal with anger." (Union Seminary student)

"This program, above any other work I have done in seminary, opened my eyes to the complexity of issues of peace and reconciliation. It helped me to discover a place of integrity and faithfulness in interfaith work that I am certain I would not have discovered in any other context. (Jewish Theological Seminary rabbinic student)

This trip opened my eyes to the Jewish faith and culture and how intertwined the two are. Coming from a Christian perspective I could not understand but learned so much about my Jewish friends. This trip was invaluable to my growth as a minister, a Christian, and a human. I would say it forever changed my life." (Union Seminary student)

"I have been to Israel numerous times, but I saw Israel on this trip with new eyes. I seriously believe that this was a life-changing experience. I am already changing my life - building new relationships, actively seeking out more interdenominational and interfaith opportunities, reading new authors. Thank you for making this possible for me. I hope you can share it with many, many others!" (Yeshiva University rabbinic student)

"This trip reminded me once again of the importance of true interfaith dialogue. This was one of the most intense dialogue experiences I've had—exhausting, painful, and at times scary. Yet that meant that it was also clearly one of the most true and real experiences I've had. These issues cannot be glossed over or solved with truisms. True interfaith dialogue must move past the surface, and this trip did do that. I became more sure in my own faith while simultaneously growing in my interfaith appreciation, knowledge, and skills." (Jewish Theological Seminary rabbinic student)