Seeking common ground
Working in three centers: the House of Silence ( Hebrew: Bet Doumia -- from Psalm 65:2; Arabic: Bet as Sakinah -- from Quran 48:4.), built as a dome on the 1980s; the Spiritual Center constructed in 2006 for meeting, prayer and study; and the Peace Museum, a living archive for the Village, housed both in the Peace Library and the Spiritual Center, the Bruno Hussar Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center brings into dynamic interaction the spiritualities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a village of many secular residents -- each bearing the spiritual imprint of their original faith.
Born into a secular Jewish family, raised in Cairo, Bruno Hussar converted to Roman Catholicism and entered the Dominican order while studying engineering in Paris. Sent by the Vatican to lead Jewish - Christian dialogues in Jerusalem, he would visit the nearby Trappist Monastery at Latrun . One day in his walking and praying, he was struck by his sense that God wanted him to bring Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs (Muslim and Christian) into community on that hill. Anne LeMeignen joined Father Bruno Hussar in the 1970s to be a helping hand in realizing his vision of this community- this Oasis of Peace (Isaiah 32;18) of Arabs and Jews on land given for this by brothers of the Latrun Monastery.
Families began coming in the late 1970s. At Fr. Bruno's urging, homes were built and the village known as the Oasis of Peace arose along with the Doumia/Sakina- the House of Silence where all could gather for wordless prayer or meditation. From the beginning, Father Bruno dreamed of having a Spiritual Center that would be the home for learning and discussions. At his passing in 1996, this was still a dream kept alive by Anne and brought into reality by the French Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. The Bruno Hussar Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center was opened for the community and the wider participation of all Israelis in 2006. Its first director -Abdessalam Najjar - was, with his wife Aishe, the husband and father of the first Arab family to take up Father Bruno's challenge to build the Oasis of Peace one family at a time!
Getting to know each other at a Spiritual Center workshop
At an event honoring Muslim Circassians who saved Jewish children from the Nazis in a southern Russian village, the Museum's Director spoke about the "human actions that unite us at the level of our common humanity. "
A "Garden of the Righteous" was created to recognize these ultimate acts of grace and righteousness, risking one's life to save another's, "and it does not matter who that human being is." Including the Peace Museum, the Spiritual Center creates a framework for encounter activities like Masa/Masar- a journey of discovery through religious and cultural sites for Jewish, Christian and Muslim young adults; programs of study and reflection rooted in faith, equality, justice, and reconciliation; and commemorative, celebratory events, like the one that brought together the Mayor of Kufr Kama, an Israeli village of Circassian Muslims, and a villager who is a descendant of one of those Jewish children saved in 1940s Russia.