Couple plan interfaith visit to Israel in May
|Jeff and Julie Morris will lead a trip to visit Hadassah Hospitals in Israel|
Julie and Jeff Morris involve members of the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in their commitment to support the Hadassah Hospitals in Israel.
From May 18 to June 1 this year, Julie, who is on the national Hadassah Board, and Jeff will lead an interfaith visit to Israel. It will be Julie’s 30th trip and Jeff’s seventh.
For them, the highlight is for both the Jewish and non-Jewish travelers to observe how different religions respect each other.
On the tour, they will visit the hospital in Ein Karem, a suburb of Jerusalem, and one in East Jerusalem, which serves many of the Arab population. Hadassah also has a community college and youth villages.
“Hadassah also does humanitarian work, sending medical teams after earthquakes and other disasters, and providing outreach in Africa and other areas,” she said.
Julie added that Hadassah is on the forefront in medical research.
Recently there were breakthroughs in stem cell research for ALS and in macular degeneration.
“I take pride in taking people to the Hadassah hospitals to see Arab Muslims, Jews and foreigners all treated in the same place,” she said. “Doctors may be treating a terrorist who set off a bomb next to a victim of the bomb attack. There are no politics in that connection.
“Often Arab and Israeli parents of children with the same disease and in the same room become close friends,” Julie said. “As they discuss their children’s progress, they break down barriers.”
Similarly, interfaith tour groups build relationships as they visit different religious sites. By traveling together, they find similarities in their faith and respect for sites important to each other’s faiths.
“I always have hope when I go and see that people just want to live and enjoy life,” said Julie, frustrated that news focuses on violence and does not help people understand the problems. “We meet Palestinian and Israeli families. All want good lives. They don’t want war any more.
“Few know that Israelis provide humanitarian aid to Gaza every day,” she said. “The media show the violence of both sides, but do not show how people help each other.”
Julie said Hadassah formed 102 years ago, well before the modern State of Israel, which came into existence in 1948.
“All who go hope for peace,” she said.
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