On Nov 10 – 12, I represented the TRUST WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) at the FoEME – Friends of the Earth Middle East Conference “Rehabilitation of the Jordan River: A Commitment of Faith” held at the Dead Sea in Jordan. Over one hundred Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and internationals gathered to learn about and support the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. It was the first time that many of the Jordanian and Palestinian clergy had met with an Israeli rabbi. Once again, environmental issues enabled clergy and religious activists to transcend the differences that divide us, and to become unified in the spiritual demand to safeguard creation that all religions aspire to.
We know about and read about the Jordan River in our Holy Books, but we heard how the Lower Jordan River is being destroyed by diverting 96% of it’s waters, and polluting what’s left. We visited the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism and watched pilgrims immersing themselves with no awareness of the pollution they in which they stood.
At the Conference we heard the good news that there are plans and possibilities to bring the Jordan River back to life – but it depends on the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian governments to take action. In their initiative to reach out to faith leaders and faith communities for support, FoEME has developed Toolkits for each of the three Abrahamic Faiths to learn and to take action. At the Conference, we met in our faith groups to go over the materials and recommend improvements. These valuable tools enable faith groups to study their own faith’s connection to the Jordan River, and to devise appropriate ways to work towards it’s rehabilitation.
We heard several talks and panels about local and interfaith efforts for the environment. I was satisfied that although there are no women clergy, there were many women speakers who added interesting perspectives to the discussions.
At the end of the Conference, all the clergy and the other participants signed the Covenant for the Jordan River
In the early mornings and evenings, many of us took dips in the Dead Sea and enjoyed the beautiful views of the sea, the mountains, and Israel across the water….
Written by Elana Rozenman, Executive DirectorTRUST-Emun