Preparing now for Seneca County Fair

firecracker 2Yeah for robust and excited gatherings as will be gathering tomorrow night at Hedges and which will also gather at Seneca County Fairgrounds from July 24-30.  Every year that Project Peace and Pax Christi have had a booth there in the same space, it has been really fun to deal with all the kids and folks who stop to try to understand the way we are presenting the possibilities of a nonviolent life to them.  I LOVE IT!  Last year there were over 1100 people who somehow learned from our booth.

This year our theme will be “Light a Candle for Peace” in honor of Lindsay Kagy who recently passed away from cancer.  Lindsay supported the work of Project Peace so beautifully.  She was on our second last delegation to Palestine also.  She will be with us at the Fair I’m sure.

Please plan to stop on over at the Old Merchant Building…we’re about 100 feet in on the right aisle.  I’d love to be introduced to you.

Also if you’d like to volunteer a shift at the booth (3-4 hours) one day, that would be most helpful.  There are tips given to each volunteer to help the person know how to present what the display is to visitors.

much peace ALWAYS.

sr. Paulette Schroeder


Our Journey to Palestine 2017

Livia (from Caritas Hospital in Bethlehem), Jeff Abood, Josie Setzler, Ashley Jackson, Susan Dicken, (front) sr. Paulette, Eissa (from the Hospital), Pam Braden, Annette Braden, and Tess Laubacher—-all say thank you for this amazing journey.  (Livia and Eissa not in delegation.)



e Pope Francis by the WALL in Bethlehem
>> Hi everyone!
>> Today through the scads and scads of people passing through the street of the Old City of Jerusalem, we just inched along, bunched together so tightly our footing was most precarious!  But we made it!
>> Then off to view the city from the different hills of the city and see how the Wall has strangled so many of the Palestinian villages so they can’t travel any distance without being stopped by the Wall.  It’s horrible how they have so many restrictions on any movement of theirs.  We here just wouldn’t stand for it.  Here the Israelis have all the say what is to be and not to be.  This sense of power disparity in its most extreme form was then explained further by the UN agency who showed us just how desperate the Gazan people are becoming. If things don’t change the land will become uninhabitable by 2020.
>> Then respite! when we visited the Bethlehem University where we met the Brothers and three of the students who were so delightful–one studying to be a doctor, one wanting to be a teacher, one wanting to work with the youth to give hope. They admit the reality of the situation there and all the troubles they go through to get to the University each day but they’re full of energy–like the 15 or so high school students who performed the Dabka dance for us in the refugee camp in Bethlehem.  What young promising young men and women and for them not to be able to go forward with no promise of jobs,etc and few opportunities to really explore life like our young people–I choked up a number of times seeing their promise and goodness and sensing the difficulties of a promising future….
>> Later we visited Caritas Hospital where again this Sister-sponsored hospital excludes no one from service.  They have 80 beds for little children and babies who come. To them.  Some of them go into intensive care, but it is really a Modern hospital that treats all with dignity. I saw one such tiny skinny baby…I don’ know about that baby, but then I saw others who probably needed help with breathing…Here again, the care was so exemplary.  Here the mother stays with the child if possible overnight…such a beautiful aspect to educate the mother, to  overcome her transportation challenges too.
>> Then we went to our overnight hosts and had a delicious supper of hummus and falafel and pita bread, etc. For breakfast we’ll have American pancakes.  Sound yummy?
>> Now it’s bedtime–time to go to bed!  Keep praying that all goes well each day will you? We’re learning a lot.  Thanks for all.
>> My love, Paulette

It is morning and with a good hot cup of Arabic coffee and home baked bread we’ll be off to Hebron from this little village of courageous resistance Bi’lin. We’ve been entertained by a little guy Muljadine. He’s such a cutie full of life. 
Yesterday we met the Quaker community in Ramallah who gather to pray once a week and do not believe in any violence at all. We met just one young woman, but we had time to sing a couple peace songs together and pray a little in silence.
We also got to go to Arafat’s tomb and hear something of his story…It’s amazing to me to see how little we have understood about the struggles in this part of the world; yet their struggles are as real as any of ours to gain their rights and freedom.
Then we spent some time with a representative of Addameer, an agency which works to defend the rights of Palestinians who have become prisoners. Having seen so many young men whisked away in their homes in the middle of the night especially in Hebron and taken off to jail and having heard the stories of many families, I know the prisoners’ rights here get very little international attention. Even the big  hunger strike right before Ramadam didn’t get shared through the media like so many other things.
Today we begin our last stint here in Palestine with our travels to Hebron…hopefully it shall  be very good for all on this journey. 
The first picture is our little. Friend here in Bi’lin ….then behind Arafat’s tomb and then the ovens which still gather the lambs and foods to be served at the end of the Ramadam fast of the day.

DAY 6  

OH my, where do I start on this memorable day?  It was full of so much goodness and adventure.  
First of all I am so humbled–it feels so good to be here, but I know I belong in the U.S. Because  the real cause for so much of this oppression is our country back home. There have been some incredible bonds built up. Yesterday I had little Achmad with me so much of the day, but today we first met with Hamed who works so independently to bring education to the Palestinian girls. We went a long distance, through a checkpoint, past lots of country and finally arrived. Since the Palestinians are not allowed to build, they have moved caravans in and connected them to construct a school. Hamed’s persistence is just so remarkable–he will not stop working  for the sake of the children. Hamed agreed that the big picture is just toooooooo big so he’s decided that through education he will change the small picture. Hamed bunji  jumps, runs marathons, EVEN swims with the Sharks to raise money for his schools.  He says his motto is not to just “bla,bla, bla, but to do,do, do.”
Next we went to a group of young people who take it seriously about working to derail the Israeli settlements which are the root of so many problems. Mahanan the young man was full of energy even though he feels that the Palestinians are zooming downwards.  He is so wise in his youth.  …and so courageous to stand by his convictions…  Mahanan said that when Sharon came to visit back when Clinton was president, Clinton was very happy because he had put Sharon in a big hotel    Later the local people said that it was good he did because otherwise Camp David would have  become another settlement for Sharon!
Finally we visited a family I know very well. Hani and his wife Reema and their children Jamil, Jadawid, Yara, ShuSu, and little Zeid entertained us so thoroughly.
I had so much joy today with some messages of hope. I’m leaving Palestine this time just really resolved to work with all my heart for the sake of the people.
My love for this day…do stay most beautifully human.
Love, Paulette

DAY 7     Here we are into our 8th. day in Hebron now and this is a picture of Jeff–the co-leader and me on the Hill of Tel Rumeida.  This is the famous area of Hebron where Abraham once pointed out where he wanted  his wife Sarah to be buried.  David had his reign here for 7 years also.  Now the settlers have colonized onto this land and the Palestinians are not in peace anymore with the harassment of the settlers.  They’re being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas of Palestine.

Day 8

We are back in Jerusalem, and I just woke from an afternoon nap”……ah it felt so good after our last moments in Hebron. The morning was kind of difficult for me, seeing Atta and going to maybe 10 shopkeepers to say goodbye to them. Yesterday we had spent most of the day outside of Hebron far out in the country south of Hebron to feel a bit the critical need for education which our friend Hamed is working on.  Today when Atta was visiting us, I thought of his children who have to walk across the hills to get to heir school. They are truly children of their determined parents who have had to go through two demolitions of their home and have yet decided to persist in not only staying in Palestine but also in working for human rights for the people.
The group has been so open to information and to all the people lined up for us to meet:  Sami Yousif working with the Catholic Near East Association, 2) Rabbi Arik Ascherman working for justice for the Palestinians and also to inspire his fellow Jews to be true to their faith’s requirements. 3) a UN agency OCHA to help us understand the whole picture 4) Mohammed Barakat our guide who then took us to some high points to see the “facts on the ground” around East Jerusalem to understand the strategy of Israel in cutting off and dividing the Palestinians villages and services therefore without going through checkpoints 5) some students at the University of Bethlehem 6) EECP environmental school near Bethlehem, 6) Caritas Hospital, the hospital for children in the West Bank—how beautiful Livia Leykauf was in all her explanations! 7) the Palestinian Christian family Clare and Johnny Anastas who have gone through hell and back in trying to manage with their house surrounded on 3 sides by the huge wall,8) Bishop Michael Fitzgerald who met us to have evening meal with us.  He works for good relationships between Christians and Muslims.
9) Arij  where we met a seasoned professor digging into deeper layers of the effects of the Occupation upon the Palestinians.  10) Qumsiyeh a magnificent professor, author, activist, who has set up a natural museum in order to show all the priceless wonders of Palestinian hillsides, etc. 11) Aida refugee camp  and the national dance of the Palestinians called the Dabka– quite a few young people put a great show of the dance on for us 12) the Nativity Church and the part it played in the Intifada of 2000. 13) the Nassar family at the Tent of Nations who are Chrisitian and who are trying to hold onto their land. I just love their simple way of life and their “refusal to be enemies.” 14) Ardi Geldman, a settler originally from New York who welcomed us graciously but was definitely assured that he was right in his assessments of the situation and we were all terribly misinformed 15) a Bedouin attorney living far south in the Negev desert who showed us the clever adaptations  they have to live with when very restricted by the Israeli government.  They are citizens after all of Israel. 16) the “Friends” or  known also as Quakers  in Ramallah—we did not get quite the satisfaction I was hoping for there. The leader was not there. 17) Addameer, the organization monitoring and advocating for prisoners who were imprisoned under unjust conditions. 18) Iyad Burnat and family in Bi’lin, a village struggling to take back the land confiscated from them by the wall Israel built. 19) Zleikha Mutaseb, my friend in Hebron who works vigorously to educate children. 20) Hamed Qawasmeh, a genuinely compassionate genius who is creatively working to bring educational opportunities to children in Palestine 21) Muhanan, a member of the Youth against the Settlements, who’s bright, creative, feisty, really believes in the rights of the Palestinians and the need to keep working for them, 22) Hani Abuhakel and family who live in possibly the most contentious area of Hebron and are harassed by settlers very frequently. 23) Atta Jaber, a farmer who persists and persists no matter if they tear down his house and take away his land and tear up his water pipes for irrigation.
Folks, what a lineup of courageous and wonderful people who continue to teach me and who have important messages for our world. With all the oppression upon them, they continue to offer generous hospitality and real friendship.  There are hundreds more People I wish I could have meet you and introduce to you….thanks God for sharing them with us.

Much peace to each of you from this land that yearns for peace.
sr. Paulette

Day 9

The journey has taken us FINALLY to Tel Aviv airport, and to once again head toward our homes in Canton, Toledo, Cleveland, Fremont ,Perrysburg, and Tiffin.
What an incredible journey. The 7 other people in the group have been for me an ideal group–so flexible, patient, thoughtful,observant.  I have been blessed tremendously.
So I include an airport picture in this last blog.  Many thanks to all of you for reading the blogs and for your support along the way.  Every year–if there is still not peace and justice here in Palestine, I will be coming back with another delegation. It shall probably be in mid May again. If you have any interest in going, would you contact me by just replying to this article mail? It puts no responsibility on you at this time if you show an interest in possibly going on the next delegation.
Blessings always.   sr. Paulette……..with great thanks to each of you for all your prayer support for us.  I am humbled and so thankful.





off to Palestine……….

Dear friends,

I’m here to announce that tomorrow morning is finally the day when we shall take off for Palestine.  It seems we’ve been waiting for so long.  There are 8 of us and we will truly get around during these days….until June 9.  Please pray for us and hold us all close to your heart.  I shall be writing a blog every couple days so if you want to be on that blog, please email me at

much love and hope,

sr. Paulette

A Responsibility to Light…

A Responsibility to Light: An Illustrated Manifesto for Creative Resilience and the Artist’s Duty in Dark Times

“Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption… Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.”

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work,” Toni Morrison wrote in her electrifying case for the artist’s task in troubled times. “There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. That is how civilizations heal.”

But in such times of civilizational trauma, when the book of life itself seems to have come unbound, where are artists — who are not only human but perhaps the most human among us — to find the fortitude of spirit necessary for rising to their healing task?

Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney E. Martin offer a heartening answer in a collaboration that stands as a mighty manifesto for our time and a testament to the only mechanism by which the creative spirit has ever pulled humanity out of every abyss of its own making.

This is your assignment.

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

Perhaps inspired in part by Sol LeWitt’s famous “DO” letter, and reminiscent in spirit of the Holstee manifesto and Neil Gaiman’s iconic Make Good Art speech, this vitalizing call for creative resilience began in response to the political turmoil of 2016, which left so many so dispirited. Hungry for a counterpoint to the despair and apathy of the cultural climate, Martin and MacNaughton created one themselves. Written shortly after Leonard Cohen’s death, the manifesto ends with a tender homage to his famous clarion call for democracy.

Martin, who has advocated beautifully for reimagining our cultural ethos of successand who wrote most of the “FOCUS” piece while walking in the desert of New Mexico with a newborn strapped to her chest, explains:

While creating it, we imagined people hanging this poster on their office and studio wall as a reminder that they are not alone in their sadness and fear, and that they must must must keep doing the work. It matters.

Freedom and Dignity…25th. day of Palestinian Hunger Fast

Salt of the earth
Lead me to the water

Noble sons and daughters
Of this
Free earth
That spreads through
Your mother’s land
All the birds
And olive trees
At your feet
At the hills
Of resistance

Salt of the earth
Lead me to the water

Heroic fathers and mothers
Of the torch bearers
Between the links
Of your shackles
I see the light
From the Galilee
Baptizing wounded doves

Salt of the earth
Lead me to the water

Valiant Strugglers
For liberation and self determination

Freedom and Dignity

Over the horizon

Salt of the earth
Lead me to the water

About Aida Qasim

Aida Qasim is a Palestinian American social worker.

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Our own Tiffin Science/Climate March this Saturday April 22 from 11:00-12:00

Dear friends,
Please join us on this Saturday  April 22 from 11:00-12:00 in front of the New Courthouse building going up—  to be in solidarity with the thousands of people who are traveling to  D.C. to be in the Scientists’  march……..Below, I copied some rulings of our new director of the EPA…scarey.
I have signs, but feel free to make your own signs also.
See you, I hope.
sr. Paulette
In March, Pruitt told CNBC that he “would not agree that it’s (Co2) a primary contributor to the global warming that we see”. The EPA’s scientific integrity policy demands that staff accurately represent scientific findings. The agency’s own website, in common with almost all climate scientists, states that CO2 is the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”.
The EPA has been targeted by the Trump administration for stringent budget cuts. The agency has drawn up a plan that would lay off 25% of its employees and scrap 56 programs, including pesticide safety, lead toxicity and environmental justice. There would be new funding, however, for a 24-hour security detail for Pruitt.   (I HAVE COPIED MOST OF THIS LAST PARAGRAPH FROM A LONG ARTICLE DESCRIBING PRUITT’S HOPES AND THOUGHTS.)
Hope to see you at the corner.

Palestinian-American teacher brutally attacked by Jewish Defense League outside AIPAC conference – Mondoweiss

A 55-year old Palestinian-American instructor at a community college in North Carolina was “brutally beaten” by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) while walking by the AIPAC conference in Washington DC on Sunday, according to a video and statement released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) today. The man was identified as Kamal Nayfeh.

The JDL affiliates “punched and kicked him and hit him in the face with flag poles, leaving him with cuts and bruises all over his face and body,” said the IMEU in the statement. Photos were taken of Nayfeh after the and beatings show his face bloodied and bruised.

The video picks up as the violent encounter is in progress. It is unknown what occurred in the moments before filming began.

After the assault, Nayfeh was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital and police arrested two of the JDL members. “One was charged with a misdemeanor and another with felony assault. They have not been charged with a hate crime,” IMEU said.

Nayfeh’s daughter Danya released a statement on the incident where she questioned why those arrested were not charged with the enhancement of a hate crime:

“When I heard the screams and found out my father was being beaten nearby, I was horrified. I ran to him as quickly as I could. He appeared stunned and his eye looked awful, all swollen and cut up. They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian. He was not threatening at all, it’s perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is.

The police, who were already present, took a long time to make an arrest, despite the fact that my father was assaulted in front of plenty of witnesses. The perpetrators were left to freely walk around for a while before being detained. I had to ask the police to take action. I know they could have done more to keep everyone safe from this group, and I don’t know why this wasn’t treated as a hate crime. Our entire family is shaken by this incident. Communities can’t feel safe and secure when the JDL and other hate groups are emboldened by this new hateful atmosphere we’re living in.”

The JDL was founded in New York in 1968. According to the Southern Poverty Center the group was designated “a right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI in a 2000/2001 report. Its members are responsible for attempted bombings of congressional offices and a mosque, planting a smoke bomb in New York, and a number of assaults including beating the staff of Jewish organizations and a holocaust survivor.

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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Peacemaking in Bethlehem

by Lorin Peters

Peacemaking in Bethlehem
Rick, my roommate in Hebron, and the commander of the Israeli occupying force were both honest men.  They grew to trust each other.
In April 2002 Israel invaded Bethlehem.  About 200 residents, along with 30 security officers, ran into the Church of the Nativity for sanctuary.  The IDF (Israeli “Defense” Force) surrounded the Church and imposed a curfew, 24 hours a day, on all homes within four blocks. 
A few days later, Rick encountered the Israeli commander outside Bethlehem.  Rick asked, “Why are you not in Hebron?”  The commander responded, “Let’s go for a walk.”  When they were alone, he continued.  “In three days, the IDF plans to invade the Church.  I refuse to be part of it.  So I requested to be transferred.”  The situation was more desperate than Rick had realized. 
Rick struggled to know what to do.  Finally he went to a place of solitude, lit a candle, and prayed earnestly, asking God for guidance.  Then he waited…  After a long stillness, a vision formed – a small group walking, in silence, towards the Church.  As they approached, soldiers parted and allowed them to pass.
Rick gathered four Christian Peacemaker Teammates (CPT) and four priests, with years of experience.  A plan formed.  They would be ‘transparent’.  When their preparations were complete, they prayed.  Monsignor Moran offered them a whimsical yet serious “blessing of invisibility.” 
They carried food and medicine in transparent bags.  They walked in complete silence.  They avoided the media.  Once they approached soldiers, Rick would make all decisions, without consultation.  The soldiers would see only eight silent spirits. 
When they reached the first squad, above the Fountain of Peace, soldiers blocked their way.  Rick stated, quietly, “It’s OK.”  The soldiers stepped aside.  At the entrance to Manger Square, in front of the Church, the same thing happened.  The second squad just watched them pass.
As they crossed the Square, two jeeps roared up.  Ten excited soldiers intercepted them, with rifles pointed, just in front of the Church.  They knelt, prayed, and began to sing “Ubi Caritas”.  The soldiers grew silent.
Rick spoke, “This food is for the people trapped in the Church.”   The commanding officer replied, “No, we can not allow that.”  Because the soldiers were standing in the crosshairs of security guns inside the Courtyard of the Church, Rick moved to the back of the Square, where the soldiers would be safer.
He asked, “We are getting phone calls about babies starving in the curfew.  May we deliver food to them?”  Several soldiers responded, “Yes, we hear babies crying.”  Twelve volunteered to lead the CPTs and priests to families with babies.
Afterwards, for the first time in 12 days, the IDF lifted the curfew on the homes near the Church.  Two days later, negotiations began between the IDF and the Palestinians inside the Church.  The imminent invasion of the Church was never carried out.  Apparently, Rick’s vision and their action created a space for the Israelis to negotiate.  Yet Rick and his companions thought they were just taking food and medicine to those trapped inside the Church.  God’s ways are beyond ours.




Scientists are now considering a march on Washington……….


A huge outcry was made by the scientists across the United States who are decrying President Trump’s actions against the EPA—–nothing seems to be getting into his head so far from the scientific proofs , researching, articles, journals, etc. etc. about climate change and the effect that we humans have on it…..Pray God the scientists, with our support will carry this effort forward.   sr. Paulette