Hakimah: A pilgrimage into the heart

Author: Eamon Ormseth

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For two weeks in January 2019, seventeen women and men experienced Hakimah, a new and innovative program created by the Tantur Ecumenical Institute that explores the role of women in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts and traditions. Hakimah, created for women and by women, is the brainchild of Marcie Lenk, Huda Abu Arqoub, and Stephanie Saldana. Through text study, excursions, encounters with local women, and group discussion, this group of seventeen discovered how women in the Holy Land continue to contribute to the cultural, political and spiritual realities they live in. As participant Caroline Coggins puts it, “Hakimah is a pilgrimage into the heart.”

Over the course of the program, participants visited sites holy to the three Abrahamic religions in and around Jerusalem, as well as other areas like the Galilee and the Jordan Valley. They engaged with these sites while studying the strength and resilience of the feminine in the sacred texts of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

“Hakimah was a journey of encounter - of exploring, learning together and sharing stories of women past and present from the different faith traditions,” says Mary Deane, program participant. “A journey which gave voice and hope to the longing within each of us for deeper connections and relationships based on mutual respect, acceptance and love.”


Founded in 1972, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute brings people together from diverse walks of life for interfaith dialogue and fellowship. Indeed, the interfaith context of the Hakimah pilgrimage prompted its participants to grapple with their own identities.

“I questioned my own purpose, faith and beliefs as I toured one holy place after another,” reflects Wendy Donnell, program participant. “There were unexpected joys and heart-piercing, illuminating realities at every turn. The stark differences between the ‘other’ depended only on what ‘grounds’ you stood on at that moment.”

For more information about Hakimah, including registration instructions for the 2020 program, please go to the Tantur website.

Hakimah Group