Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event: Working Together: the Arab and Jewish Women of Ann Arbor's Zeitouna

This event was held on February 7, 2005 at Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

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Zeitouna is a local group composed of six Arab and six Jewish women from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. All are American citizens. They are a dialogue group and, over the past two years, have found ways to discuss the Middle East, including their own personal stories and the politics of peace. They named their group Zeitouna, Arabic for olive - both the fruit and the tree.

Zeitouna's stated mission is "to embody and promote the peaceful and just coexistence of Arab and Jewish peoples through connection, trust, empathy and actions focused on the creation of a sustainable future for Palestine and Israel.

At this special program, members Wadad Abed, Irene Butter, Huda Karaman, and Laurie White discuss their own stories as well as Zeitouna's challenges and achievements.

Come learn how this powerful local group has made inroads in dialogue and understanding of cultures.

Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

Library, University and community representatives from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have modeled the read after the previous two reads which focused on the books Abraham Lincoln's DNA (in 2003) and 'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race (in 2004).

In 2005, the program will encourage readers of all ages to explore the Cultural Treasures of the Middle East - its many shared and diverse histories, memories and traditions of creative expressions. A selection committee of community leaders, students and educators in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area chose Amin Maalouf's Leo Africanus, translated by Peter Sluglett, as the focus of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2005. This is the first time a work of fiction has been chosen for the Read. Written in the form of a memoir, Leo Africanus explores Islam and Christendom through the fictional adventures of a real-life Arab traveler and geographer.

Copies of the book are available at all Ann Arbor District Library sites and at area bookstores.

For more information about Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, check out the website at

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