Monday, August 01, 2005

Face To Face

Yesterday I took part in an activity of the "Panim El Panim" movement. What is Panim El Panim? I found an article by Channa Shapiro that describes the movement:
He tells us about Panim el Panim, the movement he (Rabbi Eli Adler) has started to counteract what he calls "the real disengagement, of the State of Israel from its roots, from Torah." Volunteers across the country knock on people`s doors spreading the concept of ahavat Yisrael – love for the people of Israel – as well as a spiritual message.
As one who has lived in Israel for the last twenty years, I couldn't agree with Rabbi Adler's analysis more. The disengagement from the land of Israel is only a symptom of a much larger spiritual malady.

I joined two busloads of people from my Jerusalem neighborhood that spent the evening in a city in the Tel Aviv area, going from door to door, and talking to people, face to face. The conversations dealt not only with "disengagement" but with all the other problems that Israeli society faces.

I must say that I really enjoyed the evening. It was a chance to meet people outside my usual circle of neighbors, professional colleagues and learning partners. It is also my impression that those who chose to open the doors and speak to us also valued to opportunity to see the "other" face-to-face, and not through a highly biased media report. These meetings not only open doors, they open hearts.

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