Shadi Abu Awwad and Hanan Schlesinger to Speak on Nov. 7

Will present “Painful Hope: An Israeli Settler and a Palestinian Activist in Dialogue”

October 29, 2019   /  

WOOSTER, Ohio — Shadi Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger will present “Painful Hope: An Israeli Settler and a Palestinian Activist in Dialogue,” on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.).

Abu Awwad and Schlesinger will discuss their own personal, interconnected stories and share the groundbreaking and challenging grassroots work of Roots, a unique collaboration of local Palestinians and Israelis building a grassroots model for coexistence. They have a deep conviction that understanding and trust are the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom, and peace on the tiny sliver of land they both call home.

Abu Awwad, the Roots youth director, was born into a family of proud Palestinian leaders who were at the helm of the first Palestinian uprising. Imbued with a deep hatred for Israelis as a child, his family underwent a major transformation and were among the pioneers who reached across the divide to their Jewish neighbors to work together to create a shared vision for their future. He now builds a new generation of Palestinians and Israelis who can confront problems between their communities while acknowledging each other’s shared humanity.

Schlesinger, one of the founders of Roots, is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher and passionate Zionist settler who was profoundly transformed by his friendship and exchanges with local Palestinians. His understanding and perceptions of the Middle East conflicts, and of Zionism, have been utterly complicated by his introduction to the parallel universe they share.

The lecture is sponsored by Middle Eastern and North African Studies, History, Global and International Studies, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and made possible by the Kornfeld Fund.

Additional information is available by phone at 330-263-2129 or by email at