/ First Hand Experience
2019 TOLEF March Journey

Tree of Life Journey: March 12 – 23, 2019

Mothers of a New Creation


Tree of Life Educational Fund will offer its next journey in March of 2019. This journey will have a special focus on the role of women, past and present, in their struggle to give birth to a New Creation. The Land of Canaan, sometimes called the “Holy Land” or the “Land of Promise”, is a place replete with the sacred stories of women who by their love, courage, resilience and determination endeavor to make their communities a place where all God’s children could learn to live together in peace.

The voice of Rachel weeping for her children can be heard in the lamentations of Palestinian and Israeli mothers who have lost their children in the violence. By visiting with organizations such as Women in Black, Israeli women who despite sometimes being ostracized by members of their own families courageously keep vigil at checkpoints in solidarity with Palestinians and their quest for human rights, we will be reminded of how Naomi said to Ruth, “Your people shall be my people.” The dignity of Hagar can be seen in Bedouin women who in weaving beautiful carpets also weave a new and better future for their children. There is school that has been opened in Hagar’s name where Palestinian and Israeli children learn together.

We will see the face of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in those who everyday “magnify” God’s love in the love and compassion shown to refugees. In Nabi Saleh, in the homes of the extended Tamimi family, we will be reminded of a young woman from Magdala who refused to be intimidated by those in power.  In Nablus we will be reminded of a Samaritan woman who offered a cool drink to Jesus, a Jew, and in that hospitality reminded us of how crossing boundaries and comfort zones and transcending stereotypes can help to build a new and better future for us all.

By having the honor to enjoy traditional Palestinian Dabke Dances and singers using ancient instruments such as the oud, we will remember the spirit of Miriam who with her tambourine and dance helped to keep alive the hopes and dreams of her people.

This journey will be led by, Ghoufran Allababidi, President of Tree of Life Educational Fund, and Ann Perry, Executive Director.  Serving as chaplains will be Colleen Keyes, former Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Zaytuna College and Muslim leader in the interfaith community and Laura Fitzpatrick Nager, Senior Associate Minister of The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, CT. Although this journey will have a special focus on the role of women from biblical times to the present; all — men and women — are welcome!


For more information, contact Ann Perry at

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