Couple works toward political, cultural,religious reconciliation

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

Jerry and Lucille "Sis" Levin preach the role of forgiveness in conflict resolution - particularly in the resolution of conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The couple spent most of August in Palestine where they were part of a Christian Peacemaker Team, attempting to intervene in the ongoing acts of violence against and dispossession of Palestinians. For their efforts, they came under Israeli fire more than once and a high-ranking Israeli defense official called them "provocateurs."

The couple is flying to Juneau to speak to various groups, including the Juneau World Affairs Council and the congregation of Resurrection Lutheran Church, said The Rev. Paul Beran of the church. They arrive on Dec. 8, will speak to the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary at noon on Dec. 12 in the Aurora Room at the Juneau Airport, and fly out early on Dec. 13, Beran said.

Their talk to the World Affairs Council is scheduled for 6 p.m., Dec. 12, on the first floor of the Dimond Court Building. It is titled "Palestine, Israel, Bush and bin Laden, and the Dysfunctional Family of Abraham." Prior to the free talk, from 5:30 to 6, they will sell and autograph Sis' book, "Beirut Diary."

For two decades, Jerry and Sis Levin have been involved with a variety of non-violent interventions and other activities in connection with peace and justice issues, in particular the Palestinian struggle for parity in the Holy Land.

On March 7, 1984, while serving as CNN/s Middle East bureau chief covering the civil war in Lebanon, Jerry Levin was kidnapped by Hezbollah. Sis worked tirelessly for his release. Jerry was able to escape on Valentine's Day, 1985.

While waiting for Jerry, Sis worked in a rehabilitation hospital for children wounded in Middle East Hostilities. She later related the story of her efforts to free her husband in her "Beirut Diary," which became the basis for the ABC-TV movie, "Held Hostage," starring Marlo Thomas.

Working from their home in Alabama, the couple spreads their message of the need for forgiveness and restoration in a world fractured by hostility. They have appeared before more than 1,000 audiences and written many articles. From 1990 to 1995, Jerry served as director of news and information services for World Vision, an international Christian relief agency. Sis has served as associate professor of education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Levins' lecture tour to Alaska is funded by the Juneau World Affairs Council, Alaskans for Understanding and the Alaska World Affairs Council.

For details, see the Juneau World Affairs Council's Web site at www.jwac.org.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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