To increase dialogue and understanding among and between local faith communities, we are proud to present these three programs— supported by multiple religious organizations across the North Bay. Each program tells the story of people who have worked to overcome barriers created by religious and other differences to forge an alliance of good will, peace and prosperity. These inspiring stories illuminate how the path to peace is often paved by those who had the courage to reach across the aisle to someone they once considered a stranger or enemy—to listen and attempt to understand the world from another point of view.
In July 2002, a group of Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls came to the US to participate in a women’s leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace. While some had lost friends and family, all bore the psychological and emotional scars of living in a war zone. Part expose on the humanity and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, part coming of age story, "My So-Called Enemy" follows the life of six of the girls and how their transformative experience in the program, of knowing their "enemies" as human beings, meets with the realities of their lives at home in the Middle East over the next seven years. View this timely and timeless film about the power of individual narratives to open hearts and minds, build multi-faith and multi-cultural understanding, challenge long-held pre-conceptions, and create the space for dialogue, with the goal of creating more just societies here and abroad. After the film, join us for a discussion with director Lisa Gossels.
"The spectacular young women in "My So-Called Enemy" remind me each and every day of the countless Palestinians and Israelis working on and hoping for a pathway to peaceful co-existence through non-violent means. The young women's shining voices are a testament to our shared humanity, the values of inclusion, tolerance and respect, and the idea that starting with our families, schools and communities, a first step in resolving conflict is empathy and listening to each other's stories." – Lisa Gossels, Director
About the Movie:
Filmed over a seven-year period, "My So Called Enemy " follows six Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls committed to mutual understanding and a just solution to the conflict that continues to rage in their homeland, after participating in a U.S. women's leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace  where they got to know their "enemies" as human beings. Lisa Gossels' highly acclaimed documentary presents the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict though a human lens - and the possibility and hope that come from listening to each other's stories. Through the coming-of-age narratives of Building Bridges participants Adi, Gal, Hanin, Inas, Rawan and Rezan, we see how creating relationships across personal, political and physical borders is a first step towards resolving conflict. This illuminating and transformative film documents the young women’s attempts to nurture their budding friendships and hopes for peace in the context of increasing violence. As entrenched ideologies and political interests tighten their grip, we learn once again that it will be left to the young to build bridges instead of walls. A post-9/11 film about building bridges of understanding in our own communities, "My So-Called Enemy" offers profound messages about tolerance, respect and inclusion, peacemaking, conflict prevention and resolution and girls'/women's/youth empowerment.