The purpose of the entire Torah is to establish peace, as it is written, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”

What is Sia’h Shalom (Talking Peace)?

We are a non-political organization dedicated to constructive engagement with, and inclusion of, religious communities and individuals in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

We are dedicated to an inclusive approach to Middle East Peace that finds a place in the conversation about peace for everyone whether they are religious or secular, right wing or left, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

Sia’h Shalom envisions the journey toward peace as one that requires spiritual growth, the ability to listen deeply to others and deepened self -understanding all of which enable people with radically opposing visions for the future to come together as one.

We don’t need to be

the same to be at peace

Some of Sia’h Shalom’s staff and participants take personal and professional risks to be involved in our work. We have intentionally obscured the faces and refrained from listing the names of participants and of some staff in order to protect them. 

We are Sia’h Shalom. Peace is in our name and it is the heart of our vision.

We’re a group of people who think that peace should be looked at in a different way – one that celebrates not only differences but even the opposition – between people.We create a space where people who are in profound disagreement can meet and grow together. It is only when we come together that we are in the image of God.

We’re not political.

We’re neither left wing nor right wing. The community we are building includes religious and secular Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We believe that when you listen deeply you enable others to talk sincerely. When people listen and speak this way the exchange becomes an event that creates peace.

Peace needs a special space.

We believe that creating this special space for people is so much more than a social interaction or a negotiation. Being together in peace is like a prayer.

The space we create is a vessel of peace and the sounds that resonate within it are the voices of the people whose hearts yearn for peace even where it seems impossible to agree.

We invite people to come together to listen to the inner voice of their spiritual yearning for peace – without changing their beliefs or opinions people can change how they feel about each other.

We can all listen.

We believe that from listening comes speaking. From speaking comes understanding. And from understanding comes peace.

Sia’h Shalom believes that reaching a lasting peace requires both Israeli and Palestinian societies to understand what peace means within their own communities.

We facilitate dialogue and foster spiritual growth within groups on both sides of the conflict, first internally and then between groups because we believe that peace is an outer expression of an inner reality.

But we can’t do this alone.

We need your help.

We have been blessed with amazing partners that include leaders from all the communities in Israel as well as Palestinians, and diplomats from around the world. We really appreciate help from people like you. People who share our belief that speaking and listening can help God’s creatures share the world peacefully together.

Work with us.

Work for peace.

Our vision

Sia’h Shalom’s vision is inspired by the biblical image of a wolf lying with a lamb which is also our logo. The colors capture the contrast of Yin and Yang that represents the idea, so central to the teachings of Judaism, that Shalom is a unity of opposites. In a unity of opposites, people who cannot reconcile their differences and who even blame each other for their suffering discover that each one is a custodian of a different piece of truth. Each one is a piece in a puzzle that cannot be whole without them. This wholeness is Shalom.

Our Founders

We are the founders and directors of Sia’h Shalom

Prof. Avinoam Rosenak

Welcome. My name is Avinoam, and I am one of the three founders of Sia’h Shalom. I am also a professor of Jewish thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I draw a lot of my inspiration for the work we do together in Sia’h Shalom from the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Kook who was the first Chief Rabbi in modern Israeli history. I wrote my PhD about him and discovered the concept the “Unity of Opposites” at the heart of his thought. This concept, which draws richly on the Jewish tradition, opened a new world for me that was so different from the Western ideas I had been used to. The “Unity of Opposites” goes beyond tolerance, pluralism, and diversity to celebrate paradox and contradiction. Ultimately it is a vision that is rooted in the idea that every aspect of the world has a purpose, a place, and a role in the overall balance that peace embodies. With this idea in mind, I set out on this incredible journey with my colleagues to discover the wisdom of the body and the spirit and to experience, in the midst of conflict, the underlying unity that gives importance to voices, pains, hopes and prayers of people who yearn to be heard. I learnt to feel the pain of so many people who pray without words for the chance to be in unity despite their differences and opposites and to find peace together in this land.

Sharon Leshem Zinger

Hello, my name is Sharon. Welcome to our website. I am a facilitator whose work is all about peace. I want to share with you that for me, facilitation for peace is like a prayer, a birth and a well in the desert. When I facilitate, I must have faith in the process. I hold on to my belief that when people make space in their hearts for each other the spirit of God ‘Shechinah’ descends upon them. When I facilitate, I understand that peace is something that must be born. A pregnant woman must make space inside herself for new life to grow, but she must also take care of herself. In the same way, peace can only be born when we are able to maintain our own identities and nurture those of others. When I facilitate, I am not trying to negotiate or make a deal. I am looking for water in the desert. Peace, like water in the desert, needs to be discovered and the only way to do that is to dig deep. It sometimes takes time until you find water in a well that is fresh enough to drink. But when you find it, it has the taste of life itself. Especially in Israel, this is very hard work. Our society is divided, and our hearts are wounded by decades of conflict. All the same, the groups that I like to facilitate are extremely challenging and the topics we discuss are the most difficult and painful ones. It is here – in the eye of the storm – that peace is found.

Dr. Alick Isaacs

Welcome to the Sia’h Shalom website. I am so pleased to meet you. I am Alick and I am originally from Scotland. I have been living in Jerusalem for over 30 years.  Along with my colleagues, I have been on a journey to discover the meaning of peace for more than a decade. One of the things that I have learned is that the English word “peace” and the Hebrew word “Shalom” do not have the same meaning. While peace is from the Latin word “Pax” meaning a pact or a deal, Shalom (and the same is true of the Arabic word Salaam) is from the root “shalem” which means wholeness and unity. It is for this reason that Shalom is also a name of God.  Obviously, peace has a lot to do with politics, pacts, and deals. But it is also about so much more. The Shalom I am searching for, leaves no voice unheard, no person out. To pursue that Shalom, we must desire all life (Chafetz Chayim), and believe in the powerful transformations that can take place, when people truly listen to one another.

What if Peace were to return to the center of discourse not as a sharp dividing line, but as a broad ocean of aspiration?

Leadership Core Groups

Our leadership core groups bring together the most influential leaders of the most radically opposing factions inside Israeli society.

We run one of these groups per year with an average of 14 participants. During the past 10 years over 100 highly influential leaders in Israel have taken part in this process. These workshops have yielded multiple results based on collaborations and partnerships formed between participants.

Facilitator Training Programs

Facilitator training courses and further in-service training to develop for Israeli, Israeli Arab and Palestinian facilitators. The graduates of these programs go on to facilitate “Sia’h Shalom community groups” with leaders of their own communities with our support and supervision.

Some of Sia’h Shalom’s staff and participants take personal and professional risks to be involved in our work. We have intentionally obscured the faces and refrained from listing the names of participants and of some staff in order to protect them. 

Community Groups

These groups build as inclusive a network as possible of influential men and women who are local community leaders from conflicting backgrounds building their commitment to work together toward achieving peace inside their shared society. Sia’h Shalom also runs cross-border community groups that bring together our Israeli and Palestinian participants.

Scholarships and publications

This aspect of Sia’h Shalom works to cultivate and develop new innovative thinking about peace drawing especially on ideas inspired by Jewish spiritualism. We work with scholars and thinkers as well and give scholarships to students and religious leaders to publish fresh ideas. Through these publications we seek to introduce Sia’h Shalom’s ideas to the academic community and deepen the conversation about peace in Israeli society.

Work with the International Community

Sia'h Shalom engages extensively with the international community. We maintain contact with Foreign Ambassadors and diplomats serving in Israel, many of whom have participated in Sia'h Shalom workshop processes. We have paid  a number of visits to foreign countries and have had the opportunity to present our work at the White House, the State Department, the Parliaments of the UK, Canada and the Netherlands as well as the Swiss and Norwegian Foreign Offices. We have also presented our work at International Conferences and Universities.