2002-10-05 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Please join us to support the Interfaith Rally for Peace in Israel to be held at the Knights of Columbus at 333 Beach 90th Street at 2 PM on Sunday, October 6, 2002.  The purpose of the Rally is to show our support for an effective and lasting peace in Israel.

In todays world, the Middle East crisis is a critical situation.  It is essential that we show support for a peaceful resolution in that area.

Jack King and I are chairing the Rally.  Our elected officials - Congressman Anthony Weiner, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo.  District Leader Frank Galluscio, City Councilman James Sanders and Assemblywoman Michelle Titus are joining us in support of this crucial issue.

The rally gives our community the opportunity to stand up and speak out.  As we watch in horror the events in the Middle East, which are projected into our living rooms by the TV News Media we often wonder - what can I do?  It is intolerable to observe that people cannot go about their daily routine without a constant fear of terrorism.  Several of my colleagues at CUNY have married children who have relocated their families to Israel.  Each day I can see the worry in their faces and in their conversation.  They ponder - Will my children and grandchildren live to see another day?  Are my children, their spouses and grandchildren the victims of terrorism?  This is a terrible personal burden for their families and for us.

An article in Newsday dated Monday, September 30, 2002 in the Business and Technology Section on page A29 has the headline "Interfaith Travelers Lesson:  Safety First" written by A. J. Carter.

The article states "For the second consecutive year what is designed as a lesson in religious tolerance for a select group of Long Island High School students has added a lesson in world politics.  So when the group hits the road in February, it will be to Eastern Europe instead of Israel".  The ultimate decision for the group was made by Roger Tiles and Monsignor Thomas Hartman.  Tiles notes that while he would prefer to visit Israel, he feels that the safety of the students must be a primary concern.  This is part of Project Understanding which selects 16 students - eight Catholic and eight Jewish to take the trip.  The funds are raised through the business community.  Project Understanding has been sponsoring these trips for 12 years.  It was a direct result of a 1988 interfaith ceremony that the Tiles Center coordinated to mark the 50th Anniversary of Kristallnacht.  This project is run under the auspices of the Diocese of Rockville Center and the Reform Jewish Movement.

Most of the trips have gone to Israel where the children visit religious sites and take part in discussions about their religious faith.  An important part is that the youngsters come back more informed about their own faith and more tolerant and knowledgeable about other religions.

This year the trip will go to Prague, Krakow, Auschwitz and Rome. It is our hope that this group will be able to feel safe and be able to visit Israel soon again.

Your participation in the Rally for Peace in Israel will show support for the peace process.  Just as Project Understanding evolved from the 1988 interfaith ceremony we are looking forward to progress being made from our rally.

Please come out on Sunday, October 6th, at 2 PM to the Knights of Columbus at 333 Beach 90th Street and show your support for peace in Israel.

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