October Newletter

Author: Sr. Marie-Farouza Maximos

Tantur Ecumenical Institute Tower Website

Since our last newsletter, quite a bit has been happening at Tantur even though we do not have our usual program participants.  Here are a few items that will give you an idea that Tantur is still alive, growing, and seeking to expand our mission.


Tantur’s New Program Director: Mr. Nizar Halloun !!!

Mr. Nizar Halloun, one of Tantur’s local tour guides and presenters, has been selected as our new Program Director. He succeeds Fr. Jonas (Frederic) Masson, who will become pastor of the Syriac Catholic Church in Bethlehem in the near future.

Although Nizar was born and raised in Jerusalem, his extended family is rooted in Galilee’s Greek-Catholic community where many still live.

With a Bachelor's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Masters degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris, Nizar spent several years working with the (Franciscan) Custody of the Holy Land’s media departments. In addition, Nizar is a licensed tour guide, speaking fluent English, French, Arabic and Hebrew. He is experienced in Christian Palestinian affairs, alternative tourism, and journalism. Nizar and his wife Aida have a month-old son, Carmel.
Welcome to Tantur’s staff, Nizar!!


Tourism Is Re-Opening!

We are elated that the Israeli Ministry of Tourism is reopening Israel’s borders for individual tourism after almost two years!  What does this mean for Tantur? While Tantur has been “reopened” for hosting local group meetings and events on our grounds these past months, we will now be able to welcome our first program participants in almost 2 years this coming January to our Hakima Program, in February to our 6-Weeks Program, and then our Easter, June and July programs!!     Let us continue to keep in our prayers that another covid variant does not interfere!


Hakima* Program

Our January Hakima program explores the role of women in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural texts and traditions. Participants discover how women in the Holy Land continue to contribute to the cultural, political, and spiritual realities in which they live.

This two-week program is open to any and all, from abroad or locally, who wish to deeply engage with women's realities in the Holy Land regardless of gender or religious affiliation. It combines a mixture of text study, excursions, encounters with local women, and group discussion.

Hakima is directed by a team of 3 women from the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith traditions. Please encourage your friends or colleagues to seriously consider participating!
More information is on our website.  Note:  registration is open to local participants as well!

*In Arabic, Hakimah means a wise woman. In Hebrew, Hokhmah means wisdom. In both Arabic and Hebrew, the word for wisdom is feminine.



Tantur’s Virtual Programs Continue

 Tantur’s “Virtual Programs” are continuing with two programs—one presently taking place and another scheduled for Advent.

 1.  From Jesus the Rabbi to Christ the Savior

One of our more popular tour guides, Mr. Jared Goldfarb, is in the midst of presenting a 4-part series on Sundays (October 17, 24, 31, and Nov 7). This Series is a journey through the early rabbinic communities and traditions at the time of Jesus, how these rabbinic communities interacted with each other as well as Roman Domination. Jared traces this radical transformation of Jewish rabbinical practices in order to show how it gives rise to the birth of early Christianity. An additional “virtual” focus is on the key sites and structures that serve as an historical backdrop to this period—the mixed Jewish- Roman cities of Caesarea Maritima and Tsippori, the first synagogues, the fishing villages along the Sea of Galilee, Qumran, and the complexity of politics, religion and identity of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus.


2.  Advent: Peace on Earth and Good Will to All:  Jesus, Incarnate Messenger of Hope, Faith, Love, and Peace.

 This series, on the 4 Sundays of Advent, will focus on how these themes are presented in the scriptural readings of Advent as well as their connection to particular biblical locales.

Each Sunday’s presentation will include a virtual tour according to each Sunday’s focus as well as guided spiritual reflections for prayer throughout the week.

Please consider registering and participating in these Zoom Presentations—and spread the word to encourage others as well!

This series is offered in collaboration with the ICS Geneva.



Tantur “50th” Anniversary

Tantur Ecumenical Institute officially opened its doors in September of 1972. Since then, we have had over 5000 participants in our onsite programs.   Please keep on your radar screen the various events and programs that will mark this special anniversary year for us. If you have special photos you’d like to share, special stories of your time at Tantur, or other ways that you can share how Tantur’s mission has made an impact, please feel free to share them with us! Not only do we want to celebrate our past 50 years, our focus and intent is to live out our mission with vibrant effectiveness in the next 50!  

Taize Presence at Tantur

Br. Emile of the Taize Community in France has recently joined our Tantur’ community for the next few weeks to assist in the detail-planning and implementation of a World Young Adult Conference in Jerusalem-Bethlehem in May of 2022. This event is being co-sponsored by Tantur, the Taize Community in France, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and the Latin Patriarchate.    The dates for this gathering are May 6-12.

In addition to this groundwork planning, Br. Emile is in popular demand for presiding at Taize Prayer Services in various places in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem municipalities—including Friday Evening Taize Prayer Services at Tantur!

Please spread the word about this Youth event and encourage young adults (18-35) to seriously consider participation in this Holy Land Encounter.

New Entry into Tantur

The Municipality of Jerusalem is widening the street in front of Tantur in order to put in a light rail train from Gilo into Jerusalem. As a result, about 30 meters of Tantur’s property along that street is being used in this project. In exchange for this strip of land, the municipality is compensating Tantur by relocating and reconstructing our entrance to Hebron Road—on the east side of our property at the bottom of the hill. Completion date? Hopefully within the next few months. Also involved in this project has been the relocation of over 50 Olive trees (each coated in a white protective powder!)  to an area by the Library.