Henry Abramovitch – Interreligious Dialogue and Encounter

by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V. – A very important interview with Dr. Henry Abramovitch, Israeli anthropologist and president of the Israel Institute for Jungian Psychology. We asked him questions about interfaith dialogue and about how to promote peace and understanding in such a difficult and oppressive situation, and open conflict reality in Palestine. As we are, Henry is optimistic at a micro-level, and pessimistic at a macro-level. But we are convinced that the interfaith dialogue and empathy we can create by interpersonal relation is the key to peace and understanding. That this micro-success will not directly influence violent politics is clear. But this does not mean that we will give up.
To know more about Henry, also visit this page: Therapy in the Shadow of Terror
Henry is also part of the Interfaith Encounter Association (we have already interview Dr. Yehuda Stolov and Karen Feuer) where he coordinates a group.  
Milena Rampoldi: What does interfaith dialogue mean to you?
Henry Abramovitch: Chance to learn about the other in a personal, intimate way. To see how each of us holds tension between our collective and individual identities. To understand different worldview eg forgiveness. 
MR: How can we promote peace by interfaith dialogue?
HA: Interfaith leadership can be a potent force toward peace initiatives. Encounter groups like ours help preserve humanity and work against dangerous group morality. 
MR: ProMosaik e.V. thinks that by interfaith dialogue in the interpersonal relation you can promote empathy which is the fundamental step to peace. What do you think about it?
HA: I agree. But prejudiced individuals will also attend encounters and if theycome only to have prejudices reinforced, sometimes they are able to leave them. So on macro level, I am pessimistic that interpersonal relations make wide impact. But on micro level, knowing some one in another faith makes intense personal impact.
MR: Which are the biggest obstacles to peace between Israelis and Palestinians? How do you think interfaith dialogue can help?
HA: Biggest obstacle is lack of a shared vision of peace with justice. If vision arose, then interfaith would give support and energy. For now, it only has symbolic aspect that muslims, jews and christians can speak together. 
MR: Which are the best strategies for a successful interfaith dialogue between Judaism and Islam?
HA: Understand many similarities and differences. Affirm them both in attitude of respect.
MR: How can interreligious dialogue show us the way to live our religion without manipulations and wrong political interpretations?
HA: Interfaith dialogue is based on acceptance of diversity. Learning how other religions deal with common human issues helps us reexamine and revitalize our our tradition.