Saturday, 12 September 2015

Happy New Year 5776: Meeting the strangers in our lives

I thought that everyone should know that whilst the ANC distances itself from Israel, other parties are actually going there and seeing for themselves what's going on.

As we approach the Jewish New Year tomorrow (Sunday) night and Monday, we must remember that we are all strangers to each other. We are even strangers to ourselves, hence Buddhist Bodhisattva training and introspection and meditation.

It is time for us to understand the strangers in our midst, be they ourselves, in our families, our cousins and uncles and aunts, our neighbours, the people with whom we work, and even our "enemies." Many of our enemies are simply those that we just don't know or don't care about or don't understand.

I heard a beautiful message by someone who wrote to John Matham on 567 Cape Talk last night where this someone said that after 9/11 he went to his local Mosque and said to the Imam that he would like to join in Friday lunch time prayers. He is an American person and he didn't feel that terror and violence and war would solve our problems (it hasn't!). He wanted to interact with his local Mosque in Bokaap. The Mosque people welcomed him and told him that whilst they prayed in their way, he should pray in his way.

That night they invited him to prayers and then for supper. He spent most of the evening speaking to them.

We have Interfaith in South Africa. Between all our religions and faiths and way so life. Have you taken part in it or have you sought to distance yourself and be more like strangers?

Our major and fundamental problem in South Africa is that we don't trust each other and we don't believe in each other and we aren't charitable to each other. Charity in this instance is about giving the stranger the benefit of the doubt.

One of the reasons we don't trust each other is because of the massive corruption in South Africa. We have corrupted our minds and our children and ourselves. For example by the way we drive; by the way we allow minibus taxis to drive; by speeding or speaking on the cell phone in our cars; by the lies we tell ourselves; by allowing monetary corruption either ourselves or by our politicians. And pollution in our world is at an all time high, and this pollution mirrors the corruption that we have allowed into our lives and our minds.

I've said a lot about trust: see https://youtu.be/I7W6kn9M8pI

I wish all my friends and family and people I with whom I work (who I am lucky enough to also call my friends) and my neighbours and all the NGO's with whom I work and all my enemies a Happy Shanah Tova, be they Jewish or Not. We are all in this together. God had given us an incredible world and He just wants us to work together, and then the Messianic Age will dawn and we will meet our neighbours, who wait for us, who are peaceful, even though Hollywood makes them out to be violent. If they were violent they would already have invaded Earth. They haven't. They sit, and wait. How long will we wait?

And here is the message about the political trip to Israel:

From: SA Friends of Israel
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 9:28 AM
Subject: Multi-party SA political leadership tour of Israel
The South African Friends of Israel welcomes multi-party political leadership tour

The South African Friends of Israel welcomes the positive conclusion of a fact finding mission which included the leaders of five key political parties including Hon Mr  Mosiuoa ‘Terror” Lekota of COPE, Hon Rev Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP, Hon Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the  IFP, Hon General Banthu Holomisa of the UDM and Hon Dr Pieter Mulder of the FF+.

The multi-party delegation’s itinerary included visits to representatives in Israel as well as the Palestinian territories. The group engaged deeply in the issues surrounding the conflict and ways in which South Africa can make an active and positive impact.

They also toured centres of excellence in Israel. This included engagements in health care, medicine, agriculture, technology, water and food security. Here they had a chance to see the benefits to South Africa of strengthened engagement between the two nations.

In addition it was observed how all three of the worlds Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam exist in considerable harmony. Special note was made of how minorities such as Druze, Bahai, Muslim and Christian communities in Israel live in freedom.

The South African Friends of Israel further supports the perspective of the group which sees South Africa needing to play a constructive role in the region, by being a fair and balanced mediator in order to bring the various players to the negotiating table.

The South African Friends of Israel encourages all South Africans to find the opportunity to travel to Israel and to educate themselves on the complexities of the region. We hope that the goodwill engendered by this tour will create increased prospects for the promotion of peace in the Middle East and will provide for greater opportunity for development in South Africa.

For further comment please contact: Ben Swartz, Chairman South African Zionist Federation

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