Sue Penn’s Blog

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Nothing is as it seems to be………….

2016 July 25 by

Deep within the West Bank sits the City of Rawabi. Rawabi is a planned community funded in large part by the Country of Qatar. It is a new city, gloriously overlooking spectacular valleys. A state of the art outdoor stadium sits at the center of the town and the first school to open will be a private school which will teach according to the British system. Many of the beautiful apartments are owned by Israel Arabs, or Palestinians (depending on how they choose to self identify), as weekend homes. It’s a little far to drive to work and cross check points on a daily basis. The hope is that Rawabi will grow into a thriving economy, eventually providing sufficient lucrative work opportunities for its population – the Irvine of the West Bank. Continue reading »

Building Relationships

2016 July 19 by

According to local lore, Jonah left from the Port of Jaffa when he began his whale adventure. Jaffa is known to be one of the world’s oldest ports, through which many people living in the region entered and left. Over the years, tensions rose between Israelis and Arabs competing for space in Jaffa and as Tel Aviv grew as a city, Jaffa began to wane. Most of the Jewish population moved to Tel Aviv, while the Arabs remained in Jaffa.  More recently, Jaffa was incorporated into Tel Aviv as a suburb – Tel Aviv – Jaffa, and substantial development and redevelopment is now taking place.  This area is yet another microcosm of what is happening in the region. Continue reading »

Good Morning From Tel Aviv!

2016 July 16 by

As I sit writing this blog post, the unbelievable story about the terror attack in Nice is unfolding.  My heart is breaking for the people of Nice. Unfortunately terror has become part of the world we live in. There is a growing number of people, so desperate to bring attention to their causes, that they commit acts of violence often in the name of God.

Yesterday, I ate lunch in the Max Brenner Cafe in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. Only a few weeks ago there was a vicious attack by two men who shot people eating at the cafe with an automatic weapon.  Innocent people were once again the victim of those fighting for their causes. Continue reading »

Love Thy Neighbor…

2016 July 11 by

Deep in the Old City of Jerusalem sits the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A magnificent ancient building which houses three different denominations – Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian. Within the walls of what is largely regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites in the world, the three denominations continually struggle for space and control. So deep seated is their struggle, that they have given the key to the Church to two Muslim families, one opens the Church every morning and the other locks it at night. Continue reading »

Contemplating Peace

2016 July 7 by

This week I have been privileged to accompany a group of Orange County College student leaders traveling through Israel, meeting officials, visiting holy and geographical sites, trying to make sense of a very complicated and complex political situation. The hope is that this trip will help drive change to the political rhetoric on campus, allowing students to enter into dialogue from a more knowledgeable perspective. I am honored to be here with Lisa Armony, the Director of both Orange County Hillel and The Rose Project, educating students and letting them experience first-hand the realities of the political situation in Israel. Continue reading »