TEMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING
Seeking Peace And Justice
In A World Full Of Wars
ADIA BILCHIK, a CNN producer, was
happy serving as emcee at the 12th annual Juliet
Hollister Awards ceremony at Tribeca Rooftop in New York. At CNN we
are immersed in bombings and wars," she said, "so itís a pleasure to
be here for peace and understanding."
The late Juliet Hollister founded the
organization in 1960 in Manhattan with a mission to promote peaceful
coexistence through cultural and religious education and advocacy.
Naomi Tutu, daughter of the Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, presented an award to the Rev. Dr. James A.
Forbes Jr. He accepted graciously while remarking with a broad
smile, "When you receive a lifetime achievement award it means you
are almost the sunset."
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp was
another honoree. He is the founding president of the Jacob
Soetendorp Foundation Institute for Human Values in The Hague. He
described a time in 1943 when he was newly born and his parents were
hidden in a hole in the ground on a farm to escape being killed.
"There is such madness of oppression,"
Soetendorp said. "But I am so grateful that in every part of the
world there are people who are able to stand for justice even if it
means prison or worse.
"We in the religious world, who have not
often done what we preached, can be the champions of true
cooperation. I cannot be Jewish fully without my Palestinian and
Christian brothers. Together we can unite in peace and justice."
May Rihani, a native of Lebanon,
received an award for advocating in behalf of girls' education and
womenís empowerment. She cited a Unesco figure that in 2009 about 67
million children, mostly girls, remained out of school.
"My life has been enriched," she said, by
working to ensure that girls, in more than 40 countries, such as in
the remote mountains of Yemen, in drought-stricken areas of Mali, in
the war-torn communities of the Congo, ands in the religiously
conservative rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, to make sure
girls are able to go to school to benefit their families and society
Rihani concluded, "I believe the waves of
extremism will recede as everyone is educated, especially the girls,
who are the future mothers of society, and who are the first
teachers who shape our minds and hearts."