Beit Jala, West Bank
A new centre specifically built for dialogue between the world’s three monotheistic faiths ? Christianity, Judaism and Islam ? has opened in the West Bank.
Known as Abraham’s Herberge, or Abraham’s House, the building is a project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan. It looks to the biblical hospitality of Abraham as a model for Jews, Christians and Muslims in coming to know and understand each other and achieve reconciliation.
The inter-religious centre is housed in the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem.
“We want to help people to see God in the other religion, not only in one’s own religion,” the Evangelical Lutheran bishop in Jerusalem, Munib Younan, told ENI. “Once you see God in the other religion, then you can accept the humanity of the other ? and then you can mutually recognize each other’s human, civil and religious and political rights.”
Abraham’s Herberge is described by its supporters as a guest house where youth and adults from the three Abrahamic faiths can meet to build understanding and reconciliation between the three religions.
Supporters of the project say completion of the building after more than seven years was difficult, particularly during the last three years, when the area was hit by Israeli-Palestinian violence, and construction was delayed by, among other things, curfews and closures imposed by Israeli military authorities.
Made of natural stone and decorated with Palestinian tiles and paintings, the house can hold about 50 people, while another 40 can be housed in a separate youth area. The project included a renovation of the Church of the Reformation on the same grounds.
A stained glass window showing Abraham welcoming the heavenly visitors described in Genesis 18 towers above the altar area.