Roche Miette Newsletter
Quarterly of the Roche Miette Association,
No. 19, August 2008
ISSN 1710-4025



Editorial - by Piotr Rajski

2008 Roche Miette Expedition in 25 Pictures - by Piotr Rajski

Roche Miette perhaps? - by Janusz and Jola Wójcik

Patience, Perseverance, Passion - by Randy Iwanciwski.

Between Athos and Roche Miette - by Piotr Rajski

Annual Report of the Interfaith Encounter Association - by Yehuda Stolov

2009 Interfaith Calendars - by Netta Philett

One God Notes

What is Roche Miette Association

Call for Papers


by Piotr Rajski.

The 2008 Roche Miette Expedition is now behind us. This was another memorable experience. Close to 20 persons joined us this time. Fourteen of them summitted Roche Miette while two persons went to Sulphur Skyline. The rest enjoyed the famous heat of Miette Hot Springs.  As we were faced with a bit of criticism that we somehow minimize the challenges of this hike, I decided to give in my report more pictures illustrating the struggles involved. Let us also set the record straight - we have always identified this endeavour as a "moderate to difficult scramble." We were never hiding the fact that the hike is strenuous, with 8 to 10 hours of challenging mountain activity involved. Every year we ask people to come prepared - both in terms of their physical fitness and equipment. Our calls sometime fall on deaf ears. For instance, people ignore our recommendations as to the amount of water that needs to be taken and sometime finish dehydrated. Or they come in poor shoes and experience blisters. This seems to be a part of our human condition - we often think we know better.

Regardless these difficulties, and scares experienced by novices, we consider the whole experience to be relatively safe. Although we have started recommending that people wear helmets through the scree, it has never happened yet that anyone attending our expeditions got hurt. And we have likely taken more than 100 persons to the top! It does not mean however that it may not happen in the future. God and the Mountain has been quite gracious to us so far. But God also expects - I believe - that we take natural responsibility for our actions. So, don't get discouraged guys - just come prepared!

Randy was also kind to share his thoughts from the trip (as usual) as well as some of our novices (Jola and Yanek). Thanks.

In this newsletter you will also find my impressions from the Holy Mountain of Athos. Athos represents a similar value to Orthodox Christians as Kailash for Hindu and Sinai for Jews. It is a bedrock of their theological and mystical thought. It is one of the holiest places on earth.

Traditionally, we also give some information about interfaith activities.


2008 Roche Miette Expedition in 25 Pictures

By Piotr Rajski

The members of the 2008 Roche Miette Expedition: Oleg Guintchitski, Roman Frolov, Rita Guintchitski, Olga Guintchitski, Oleg Aristarkhov, Anastasia Aristarkhov, Vladimir Evtouh, Rod Sedgwick, Max Boubnov, Alex Khair Mokhammad, Igor Boubnov, Jola Wójcik, Randy Iwanciwski, Piotr Rajski. "Genuflecting": Janusz "Yanek" Wójcik. Missing: Danuta Rajska and Elena Boubnov who hiked Sulphur Skyline that day.


In the ruthless wilderness of the Mountain there is nothing like a gentle touch of your loving wife - naturally if she has courage to come with you! Jola and Yanek. See their story below.
Very cool Alex (on a very cool Mountain?)! Guess what - he also speaks Russian!
Every year Igor comes to the Mountain he is an ever more confident hiker and happy person. Canada (and the Mountain) is obviously good for him! And thank you, Igor, for the wonderful film from the 2006 Expedition.
Our "sweeper" - Rod Sedgwick. We are lucky that he makes the Roche Miette Expedition his annual event. And what a sweeper he is - he seems to have unlimited patience to all those who stay behind.
Our guides - Randy and Rod. This year they introduced helmets (to some of Rod's dismay?). We hope to make them a standard equipment in the future hikes. As Randy puts it: "Summiting is optional, getting down is obligatory."
The jokes are over. It's time to scramble, ladies and gentlemen!
To avoid injuries from falling rocks, we try to keep people together. And what it is that Yanek and Alex are trying to communicate to me?
Rita was a true star on the Mountain - Hollywood style! Whenever she got too frightened, I was taking a picture of her. She smiled to each and every one of them - her terror disappearing immediately!
Everybody was happy reaching the summit, including Jola. Here she starts what she called "a slow, long process of ... forgiveness!" She also threatened to divorce Yanek when he came with the idea of taking their children to RM next year.
For me coming to the top of Roche Miette was a sweet moment. After my accident in 2002 I did not believe I would ever be able to do this. I think God really loves me! (Compare to a similar photo from the 2001 Expedition)
And who is saying that Roche Miette Association does not exist?
Happy summiteers: Piotr, Jola, Oleg, Max, Igor, Vlad, Randy and Rod. First row: Yanek, Anastasia, Rita, Olga and Alex. Taking picture: Roman. Did I lose a front tooth?
Thinking about the way down, Jola lost her appetite. Later she and Rita agreed: they would rather give birth again then to go to Roche Miette again! And yet, similarly to the time after giving birth, they experienced a "strange joy"!
Going down is not a small matter!
Yanek relaxes on the saddle and reflects on the horrors left behind. He looks cool now, but there were moments, he later reported, he felt "absolutely wasted" (or drained of mental energy).
So does Oleg. He still comes to terms with the fact ... that he is still alive!!!
Igor and Max have their Father-Son Moment! There is more Love on the Mountain than Fear.
On the way down Rita is now being "swept" by two gentlemen! Is she lucky or what? Are THEY lucky or what?
She made it down to safety. There is even no doubt how!!! Rita becomes our 2008 Brown Bum Queen!
On the way up Roman (in the middle) was somehow belittling the Mountain by comparing Her to the mountains of Afghanistan. "Here," he was saying, "at least none is shooting at you." After making through the scramble he concluded that "Afghanistan was not that bad after all!" (I am just inventing this story :-))
All this excitement calls for celebrations. After a round of vodka ordered by Oleg Guintchitski, and the delicious meals served by the Miette Restaurant, there is no end to exchanging impressions and telling "tall tales" (pity we did not have Miette's fiddle). Rod and Randy, burnt by the sun, are obviously happy. They gave the "experience of Roche Miette" to a new group of fantastic people. I seem to be following Oleg's recommendation expressed in the Russian saying: "Vodka without beer is a thrown away money!" Oleg on the other hand decided to "change his life-style!!" He will "eat less and exercise more" so he could make it to the top of Roche Miette... in 2009!!!

Roche Miette perhaps?

By Jola and Janusz (Yanek) Wójcik

So, we are set to go for a little hike. Roche Miette perhaps? It is going to be a long and demanding hike with some scrambling as explained to us by our Guides and Technical Directors Randy and Rod during a late briefing the night before. Very comforting was Randy’s quote: “Summiting is optional, coming down is mandatory”. That is Ok for us. We can do it!

Piotr - President of the Roche Miette Association is a morning bird, so he wakes us up about 4 AM (remember, this is a weekend). About 5:30 AM all 15 people are in the vehicles, and off we go. The short ride to the trailhead is quick and pleasant since the route between Miette Hot Springs and Pocahontas is quite pleasurable.  A few minutes after 6 AM we take a group picture, and with big smiles we start walking up the log road. Right after crossing a dry creek we start gaining elevation very fast. Randy and “the kids” lead the pack, with Rod securing our backs.

Frequent, but short stops are enough to catch a breath, but surely we are gaining elevation and distance very rapidly. We had a chance to see how steep it was only on the way back, when we were almost sliding down.

The hike goes on. Going over the rib is hard, but from that elevation the face of the mountain is almost touchable. After about 3 hrs we are at the saddle. We ascended to that point in quite good time. This is a great rest place in preparation for the final assault. The wall is now overwhelming, so when we look at what is ahead of us we start thinking.  How are we going to get there? However the weather is good, even though it is quite windy. And now we are ready to summit.

If it was steep before, it is even steeper now. Very soon we start using our hands, and we are hanging to any piece of rock we possibly could. Guess what? There is no dignity in scrambling. It was an hour and a half of constant rise. For some of us the comfort zone got seriously dented, especially that we were starting to think about the return. How are we going to get down from that mountain? No, it is not fun we had in mind.

At last, we reach the plateau. “The kids” are already playing with the snow. But we want to reach the summit which is about a kilometer away. Good thing, that now even walking on the upland is a rest.

For a moment we could forget about the return. This is it; the summit - 2316 m above the sea level. We take some pictures, sign our entries in the capsule, and now there is time for one more little hike to the “nose”. From the highway it looks like the summit of Roche Miette, the official summit is farther south-west and we already conquered it. This is Janusz’s birthday, and he is not going to forget that one! However we forgot very fast that it was supposed to be a spiritual moment. The reality of being high and far gets back to our heads. Very soon we are back at the “chimney”. This is a place where we “dive” back to start our descent.

An hour and a half later we are back at the saddle. How did we do it? One step at the time, and with a lot of help from our Technical Directors. At this moment we knew that we were safe. There was only one little thing, we have to go back over the rib, and it will be steep down. It is very fast in writing, but it was long hike. Just after 5 PM we were safely back in our vehicles, and just before 6 we were in the Miette Hot Springs. Felt like a winner before? What a feeling!

Now, a month after the event we are almost willing to forgive Piotr for his idea. At the same time we are grateful to Randy, Rod and even Piotr (we might still hurt him) for the unforgettable experience. Their professionalism allowed that pilgrimage to be relatively safe and enjoyable one. We are still not sure, however, if we will do it again, but we are sure glad we did it.  And God? Undoubtedly, God was looking over our shoulders on that journey, and for that and every step in our lives we are grateful.

It was simply an exceptional experience.

There is something about Piotr’s persuasion; he got us to scramble Pyramid Mountain (2766 m above the sea level) just a month later. We must be crazy, to enjoy a 14 hr long hike. We must be hooked.

And Roche Miette - sleep well, until next time.


Patience, Perseverance, Passion.

By Randy Iwanciwski

To share this year’s account of the expedition is again quite a trying task.  There is so much to tell, words cannot express the emotion and joy that I wish to recount.  I will try as it must be told!  The Mountain Welcomes Piotr Back!

It is my joy and with complete exultation to welcome Piotr, my spiritual brother back to the summit of the beloved mountain.  It has been many years of healing and trials since his last push to the top. To see him very steadily ascend and descend was and always will be a symbol of strength, courage and patience.  That “is” Piotr.  I managed as technical director to keep the past expeditions in motion in his absence, but I knew his prayers were with us always!  Prayers are important as many people were praying for us on this climb.  I had the pleasure of taking a group up on the previous week-end, some for their first time.  They were praying for our safety and successful trip up and down.  Thanks to all and God bless you.

This year we had families join us; fathers, mothers, daughters and sons.  It is good to see a wide range of ages of people that share this joy and excitement of climbing.  Once again this expedition pushes people’s boundaries and allows each of us to explore a part of us we may not always encounter.  The strong and courageous are challenged, relationships are challenged, and “you” are against the rock.  This allows oneself to dig deep inside and pull every resource out to complete the task. 

I must say not all that started this year made the summit.  One participant decided after the first two hours it was time to stop.  One might think to give up is weak and certainly not a popular decision in our “modern society”.  I feel differently.  I believe it takes a person with a big heart and a great amount of courage to say I am done.  I congratulate anyone that has the strength to do this; it is not failure but a deep knowing of one’s inner self. 

One of my climbing partners told me a long time ago; “To summit is optional, getting down is mandatory!”  I live by that creed.  To persevere and summit is a great joy.  To persevere with one’s shortcomings and someday overcome them, I believe is greater.  Thanks to all that persevered.

I must thank Rod who has been with our group for some time now as assistant technical director.  His coaching skills, experience and expertise is a great asset to this expedition.

With the larger number of participants each year God has always blessed me with experienced hiker/climbers.  Rod is no exception.  He and I had a chance to take time to plan this trip, discuss logistics, safety issues and even post climb celebrations!  Recounting the “collective memory” as Rod says is very important to the group.  The discussion of experiences of the day is quite spirited and joyful, not to say the celebration after!   Thanks again Rod!

To say that I have passion for this climb is an understatement.  I plan, pray, pack and away I go.  At the writing of this report I have completed three trips this year.  I cannot wait to return.  To share this experience with others is my passion.  To see their faces, their joys their concern, to assist them and to rejoice with them is awesome.  Again I do have difficulty expressing in words how I feel about the expedition.  It is something that Piotr and I share and have had the great fortune to help others experience also.  Stories, pictures and even a documentary video, thanks to Igor, are accounts of this trip.  I still believe one must experience it for themselves.  God has granted me many returns to His Mountain and I pray for many more.  This year was a personal best for me and with that my God has definitely shown me “abundance”! 

I will continue to see more and more on each journey to this place.  It is very spiritual and sacred.  It must be preserved and respected for future generations to enjoy and explore.  Its sheer size reminds me of my own insignificance, yet it overwhelms me with a love from some greater entity.  I recognise this as “God”.  It seems that I cannot get enough of this type of God experience.  Each of us must find our own God experience and pursue it.  I have said before to be physically exhausted and pushed to the limit allowed God to speak to my heart.  At this time in my life this works for me.  I am sure that God will reveal more to me as I journey through life.  I am most certainly enjoying this part of it!!

In closing I would like to thank all that participated in this year’s expedition.  I hope and pray that you take something back with you in all of your hearts.  God bless you all, hope to see you next year.  I am already planning!

Yours in the Ascent/Descent,

Randy Iwanciwski, Technical Director, RMA.

Between Athos and Roche Miette.

By Piotr Rajski

This year I feel especially blessed. I have set my foot on three beautiful mountains - Roche Miette, Pyramid and Athos. And where is Athos? Athos is a mountain and a peninsula about a 2 hour drive south-east from Thessaloniki in Greece. And what is Athos? What Kailash is for the Hindu, Ararat for the Muslim, Sinai for the Jews, so is Athos for the Orthodox Christians. The legend says that when Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, travelled with John over the sea, a storm threw their ship to the Eastern slopes of Mount Athos. According to the legend, the Holy Mother was so struck by the beauty of this place that in her heart she requested it to be reserved just for her. Apparently this legend survived almost 1000 years. When the first monks arrived and established the monastery of Lawra in 960 C.E., they claimed this land for the sole use of the Holy Mother to the exclusion of all other women. Whether this was Mary's original wish we don't know. The fact is however that for over 1000 years no woman was allowed to visit the place. In the meantime 19 new monasteries and a number of smaller settlements were established. Over the centuries this self-proclaimed "monastic republic" survived many challenges: pirates attacks, crusades, 500 years of dominance by the Ottoman Empire, not too mention two world wars and some smaller conflicts. (For more information about history of Mount Athos, please, see:

Many saints lived on Mount Athos, including St. Athanasios and St. Gregory Palamas, who protected hesychasm - the way of life of the monks of Athos. Hesychasm, in principle, is a life in silence and contemplation, also involving the Prayer of the Heart - "Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me." This way of life is still very much present on Mount Athos today. Also one of the compilators of Philokalia, St. Nikodemus, lived and died on Mount Athos. Taking all of this into account one could conclude that Mount Athos is the bedrock of Orthodox Christianity. It is a proof of its mystical depth, vitality and spirit of survival. It is one of the holiest places on earth.

I discovered Athos a bit by chance. While planning my vacation in Poland in 2007, I also wanted to visit Meteora, the famous monasteries in central Greece, built on pinnacles of rock. Eventually I did not go, but by studying Meteora I discovered the importance of Athos. Desire to visit this place grew up in my heart for many months. It is also a logistic challenge - preparations, such as reserving a permit to visit the mountain, have to be made many months ahead of time. As a general rule, only one hundred orthodox and 10 non-orthodox pilgrims are allowed to enter Athos every day. By definition, all visitors are pilgrims - they do not allow any tourists. Another rule says that you can stay on Athos for only 5 days and you have to spend each night in a different monastery.

This presented me with a challenge - which monasteries to visit in such a short time? As I also wanted to hike Mount Athos I decided to stay on the Western shore of the peninsula. I was very much drawn to the Holy Monastery of Simonopetra, which carries my own name and looked on pictures as one of the wonders of the world.

The Holy Monastery of Simonopetra (which translates as the"rock of Simon"). Mount Athos in the background. The view from the balcony is breath-taking.

More, Simonopetra has the opinion of one of the most "open" monasteries on Mount Athos. Among others, they allowed a Catholic monk, Basil Pennington, to live there for many months in the 1970s, when this kind of closeness between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches was unheard of. Pennington, himself a proponent of Christian meditation known as Contemplative (or Centering) Prayer, later wrote a book about this visit, entitled "O, Holy Mountain." Although I left Simonopetra for the desert (my last day), I had a chance to pass through it on my way to the monastery of Grigoriou. I took a lot of water (it was a hot, sunny day) by the cave of Saint Simon, whose vision of the star on the rock was the beginning of Simonopetra. I later had a chance to visit the cave of Saint Gierasimov, near the Skete of Saint Anne. Although this is hard to believe monks lived in these tiny cages on Athos for centuries, and in some cases they still do!

In front of the cave of Saint Simon. The Holy Monastery of Simonopetra in the background. The cave and the vision of Saint Simon.
St. Gierasimov's cave is so small that it would be almost impossible to sleep there with your legs out-stretched. Serene evening at Skete's Saint Anne.

In the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou I had the first opportunity to experience monastic hospitality - a simple, but delicious supper, consisting of feta cheese, bread, olives, tomato, cucumber, peach, pudding and wine. In general, though having only one meal a day, I was never hungry on Athos. This was also my first contact with the Orthodox service. Although I have not understood all the particulars involved in it, the service was definitely helping me to attune to God. The same could have been said about the land of Athos.

On my second day, I hiked from Grigoriou to the Skete of St. Anne, a more loose community of monks, living alone or in small groups, and gathering once a day for a mass. Thomas Merton, who once visited this place, was of the opinion that if one was supposed to reach transcendental awareness, Skete St. Anne was the place to do so. In fact, the evening at Skete Saint Anne was so beautiful and serene that for a while I had the feeling I was in heaven on earth.

Skete Saint Anne is typically the starting point to hiking Mount Athos. After realizing that I won't be able to overcome the altitude difference of 1700 meters and reach my next monastery on the same day, I abandoned the project. To my surprise it was an easy thing to do (as Yanek and Jola would likely to concur, I have a tendency to push myself to reach my goals in the mountains)! Perhaps the serene atmosphere of the skete helped me to realize that it is more important to worship God "in spirit and truth" than "on the mountain."

In Skete Saint Anne I was fortunate to meet some Bulgarian pilgrims. One of them, Spiridon, spoke both Greek and English. He was of great assistance to me in communicating and getting around on Athos. On the third day we visited together the Holy Monastery of Dionisiou, where we were greeted with some Greek sweets and a shot of Ouzu. After this, looking down from their balcony did not seem so scary any more. My Bulgarian friends were moving from one monastery to another using boats and ferries, which is a typical way. I preferred hiking, which gave me an opportunity to be alone and to almost osmotically assimilate the surroundings through all me senses.

My Bulgarian friends enjoy shots of ouzu - only one per person fortunately! The great pleasure of hiking on Mount Athos is the the sea is never far away.
With Fr. Maximos in Simonopetra.  

One of the greatest pleasures of my visit was to meet Fr. Maximos in Simonopetra. Father Maximos happened to be an American, born of Greek Orthodox parents, educated in the West and naturally fluent in English. I understand he achieved a professorship in theology at one the most prominent American universities. However, gradually he developed certain sense of dissatisfaction with his academic career, visited Simonopetra during a sabbatical ... and never went back! Athos seemed to better satisfy the deepest yearnings of his soul than anything else. He was most kind to respond to many of my questions about monastic life. I received from him the most generous gift: a book of writings of Archimandrite Aimilianos and a CD with the chanting of the monks of Simonopetra.

In summary, I feel enchanted by my visit to Mount Athos and I surely want to go there again, possibly in 2010. If you would like to go with me (and are a man), let me know. I am also considering doing El Camino (famous pilgrimage) in Spain and Athos during the same trip to Europe. Let me know if you are interested.


2007 ANNUAL REPORT of Interfaith Encounter Association

A Letter from the Executive Director

During 2007, IEA grew more than at any other point in our history. In this year alone we launched 9 new groups and developed additional new and innovative models for cross-cultural encounters. We continued as well to initiate partnerships across the Holy Land, the Middle East and the world.

During 2007, we successfully organized 130 programs that included more than 3,500 participants, from all social sectors. We established and maintained the following new ongoing groups (from north to south): Acre, Lana women's group in M'ghar, Bridging group in M'ghar, Haifa University, Wadi Ara, Healthcare Professionals at Hadassah Ein Karem, Jewish-Christian group for joint study of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew, Mothers and Daughters, and our first Israeli-Palestinian group of young adults from Jerusalem and HebronWe also started the process for the creation or renewal of additional groups that have been launched in 2008. By the end of 2007 we had 26 on-going groups across the country, most of them maintaining regular activities that contribute to building real and sustainable coexistence.

In addition to these ongoing groups, we also managed to organize four Israeli-Palestinian interfaith encounter retreats, two special retreats that included meeting and training for coordinators, and a series of “Meeting the Religious Communities of Jerusalem” encounters.

Our programs are growing islands of respectful and friendly inter-communal relations between the various communities of the Holy Land, bringing together a very wide spectrum of participants, most of whom encounter 'the other' for the first time through our programs.

Two very special moments were when the IEA was awarded the "2007 INTRA Award for Complementarity of Religions" by Institute of Interreligious Studies in Germany, and when two of its coordinators won the Women’s Peace Initiative Award of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in the United States.

We now feel ready to shift IEA to the next gear and move faster in the process of becoming a significant social and civil movement for change in the pattern of inter-communal relations in the Holy Land. And we invite you to join the many individuals and institutions that partner with us to make this a reality. Together, we expect accelerated growth in the quantity and quality of our programs, and in the diversity of the processes we employ to create sustainable dialog and trust across religious and cultural boundaries.

An important development in the U.S. based Friends of IEA was the confirmation of its tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3), by the IRS on 13 September 2007. Any donations sent to Friends of Interfaith Encounter Association, 7 Lancaster Court, Ramsey, NJ 07446; or made online (see the top of are fully tax deductible.

We also plan to hold major fundraising events whenever possible. If you are willing to help you are welcome, with our gratitude, to contact the point person of this wonderful group, Bob Halim Johnson, at:

You are welcome to maintain ongoing contact with us as we continue these activities in the coming year. You will find our contact information on the end page. We look forward to your feedback and ideas. Yours, Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Executive Director

Activity Report:

Intra-Israeli Activities

During the year 2007, our intra-Israeli activities continued to flourish. We held a total of 120 programs comprised of 96 inter-religious study sessions in the general program, 20 in the Women’s Program, and 4 in the Young Adults program.

General Program

Ten of the inter-religious encounters were organized by an ongoing group in Jerusalem called “ReutSadaqa–Friendship, which focused on themes such as “Vows and Promises,” “Communication,” and “Miracles.”

30 more encounters were organized by the KarmielMajd el-Krum Interfaith Encounter group in the Galilee. Centered on the two main schools, this group brings together educators, children and parents of the two neighboring towns, who would otherwise have very little interaction. Throughout the year there were joint celebrations of the religious holidays, field trips, art workshops, study days and performances of the Hebrew-Arabic choir.

Eight more inter-religious encounters were organized by IEA’s ongoing group in the southern city of Eilat, focusing on such themes as: “Religious Leadership,” “Anti-Semitism,” and “Food.”

The “Sawa Rabina” group in M’ghar had seven encounters, where issues such as “Technological Advancement and its Influence on Religions” were discussed. The group also met to plan many social events for the whole community in M’ghar, such as the International Children’s Day, the Day of Spring, and the Festival of Festivals. 2007 also saw the birth of the new M’ghar Bridging group, which held three encounters, bringing together community leaders from the Druze, Muslim and Christian neighborhoods.

Many other new groups were formed around the country in 2007. A newly established group called “The Future – Mothers and Daughters” held three encounters, where the young girls gave presentations on the meaning of Hanukkah and Eid el-Adha. The mothers then engaged in further discussions while the girls played games together.

Dozens more encounters took place across the other groups: in Carmel City, Acre, and Ein Karem, and within the framework of the Arabic-speaking group, the “Study and Dialogue” group, and the “Religions of Jerusalem” group. We also held a special encounter with all our Jerusalem groups on the International Day of Peace, a training meeting for the groups’ coordinators, and a meeting to explore a new method of facilitating group reconciliation called “Circlework.” In December, members from all the IEA’s groups in Jerusalem gathered for a Hanukkah feast: the perfect way to end a year of success. 

Womens Interfaith Encounter (WIE)

In 2007, IEA’s women program organized 10 inter-religious programs in Jerusalem and 10 programs in M’ghar: 6 of the “Shibolot” group and 4 of the new “Lana” group for health advancement. Themes ranged from “Seasonal Holidays” to “Abraham/Ibrahim” to “Carnival and Fasting Traditions” in the three religions. There were also film screenings, joint meals – such as a traditional Shabbat supper and at Iftar during Ramadan – and a celebration of Mother and Family Day.

Youth Interfaith Encounter (YIE)

In 2007, the YIE saw the birth of an encounter group at the University of Haifa and a revival of activity in the Jerusalem group. At the start of 2008, the Mount Scopus Students group is also seeing renewed activity.

Israeli-Palestinian Activities

The IEA held four Israeli-Palestinian retreats in 2007; two in conjunction with the Hope Flowers School, one with the Israeli branch of Focusing, and one with the Palestinian Peace Society. The 2007 retreats focused on the meaning of “Food”, “The Woman”, “Forgiveness” and “The Binding of Isaac/Ishmael” in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. 2007 also saw the launch of the IEA’s Jerusalem-Hebron Youth group – the first on-going Israeli-Palestinian group of interfaith encounter. At the first encounter, the Jewish members read aloud passages from the Koran in Hebrew translation, and the Muslim members read aloud passages from the Torah in Arabic, thus highlighting the similarities between the two languages. 

Middle East Region Activities

The IEA co-organized a Regional Conference on the theme of “Religious Traditions”, which took place at Petra. More than 40 participants – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and Taoist, from six Middle Eastern countries (Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Morocco) – attended the conference. Presentations were given on topics such as the role of food in Islam, the Sacraments of Christianity, and wedding rituals in Judaism. These were followed by discussion groups which focused on the similarities and differences among the participants’ religious traditions. The cultural exchange was consolidated through more informal discussions, social activities and workshops on conflict management and cross-cultural communication.

The Secret of Our Success

Unlike most other dialogue organizations, we work with, rather than around, the deep cultural roots, beliefs, and traditions of the peoples of the Middle East. Each encounter is centered on a religious theme and features a carefully planned program of joint study and dialogue, designed to help the group coalesce into a single community that respects the unique identity of each of its “sub-communities” and participants, and to create a long-term process of apolitical, grassroots peace-building. By constructively engaging with core religious and cultural values, while explicitly avoiding political issues that might close off dialogue, our approach successfully involves social and political groups that may feel very uncomfortable with other approaches.


The IEA would not have been able to achieve such progress in 2007 were it not for the generous financial support and gifts-in-kind of many friends around the world. We are deeply grateful to those friends for their contributions, no matter how large or small. It is this ongoing support which enables us to build upon and expand our activities as we dedicate ourselves and our work to peace, justice, and harmony in the Holy Land and the Middle East. We hope to widen this circle of friends and supporters and thereby expand the scope and reach of our programs and efforts. Every donation makes a difference and we wish to thank every single one of our friends and supporters past, present and future – around the world. In particular we wish to thank:

Our Donors ($500+)

Our Sponsors ($150 - $499)



Interfaith Encounter Association, 12/34 Ha’arazim Street, P.O. Box 3814, Jerusalem 91037, Israel. Phone: 972-2-6510520. Fax: 972-2-6510557 

Email: Website:

2009 Multifaith Calendar

By Netta Philett

Hello to all our members and friends, hope you are having a wonderful relaxing summer. It seems early to be thinking of it, but the 2009 Multifaith Calendar is here! And it is beautiful, every year I think it is even more gorgeous than the one before. It is a truly stunning mix of original artwork and photography. The theme is "Reflections of Joy", as always it has the major and minor feasts and fasts of 13 religions, complete with explanations, as well as general information about each faith. I know that I have already had to begin recording upcoming events for the new year, so it is here just in time for me. Still $16.00, no GST, I'm here several days a week for the summer so please call and then drop by if you want one. Postage for 1 or 2 is an additional $2.70. Best wishes to you all, Netta


Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education & Action
#113, 11148 - 84 Ave.
Edmonton T6G 0V8
780 - 413 - 6159

One God Notes

"One God Notes" consist of quotations from spiritual writings of many religious traditions. The purpose is to inspire, to open hearts, so people perceive God's Presence in and around them. In this way I hope to create a sense of human and religious unity.

To see the previous "One God Notes" visit To learn more about the philosophy behind these notes, please, visit  If you would like to go further and add "One God Notes" to your web site, please, copy and paste the button below and use it to create a link to

In Truth, Simplicity and Love, Pritam.

What is Roche Miette Association?

Roche Miette Association is an informal group of people who try to achieve the ideals of human unity as expressed in the Roche Miette Rule. One of the characteristics of this group of enthusiasts is love of Nature and willingness to love God through His Creation.  In particular, we are drawn by the beauty of Roche Miette Mountain, near Hinton, Alberta, and organize once a year a non-denominational hike/pilgrimage to this mountain. People of all religious and cultural backgrounds are invited to participate with us in this auspicious event. The officers of the Roche Miette Associations are:

Piotr Rajski, Spiritual Director

Randy Iwanciwski, Technical Director

Rod Sedgwick, Assistant Technical Director

If these ideals appeal to you, you may want to support them through a financial donation. Please, send checks for "Roche Miette Association" to:

Piotr Rajski
Roche Miette Association
576, Lessard Drive
Edmonton, AB, T6M 1B2

Call for Papers

Would you like to contribute to the Roche Miette Newsletter? Please, send your text in Microsoft Word or HTML format to Of special interests are stories, reflections on the following subjects:

Human and religious unity.
Harmony between different religions, cooperation between religious groups.
Examples of interfaith dialogue, tolerance, forgiveness.
Love of Nature (especially mountains).
Meditation, Contemplative Prayer.
Religious life, especially Practice of the Presence of God, pilgrimage.
Mysticism, especially in the context of the mountains.
Poetry, art, music, photographs related to the mountains.

Manuscripts to be considered should be original articles (not published elsewhere). Some previously published materials may also be considered if submitted with the info and consent of the publisher. Some promotional materials, such excerpts from books, can also be considered if related to the above topics. Announcements of interest for wider audiences are also occasionally accepted.

The Roche Miette Newsletter has a circulation of approximately 400 recipients. Copies of the newsletter are sent to National Library of Canada for research purposes. To see the previous issues you can visit

Presently there is no remuneration for the submitted materials.

The deadline for the next issue is: March 30, 2009.

Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and acquaintances. They may subscribe to the newsletter at: