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This month we are excited to announce that our work has been published in REflection, the professional journal of the National Association for Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE). The article is entitled “Dialogue with difference in primary schools” and is found in the middle section of REtoday. We are thrilled that our work will become more accessible to teachers across the country and look forward to exploring new ways of developing the principles to match the changing needs of schools. 

This week we see the last of our series on "How can we be peacemakers."  It comes from the Jewish tradition and explores the power of meditation in restoring broken down friendships. Next week we will be starting a new series on "It's not fair."

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How can we be peacemakers? – Judaism
This is a story about Aaron, the brother of Moses. We don’t hear very much about his personality in the Torah, but we are told that after he died, the whole community cried for thirty days. He must have been very loved!
Jewish legends tell us more about how he was a peacemaker, with some very inspiring stories. Aaron used to pursue peace between friends, families, and communities. When Aaron would sense that someone was behaving badly, he would go in private to them and connect with them. Aaron would help them to return to the right behaviour through love and peace. This story describes the method Aaron used to bring about peace.

Aaron the Peacemaker

One day Aaron the peacemaker heard of two people who were disagreeing with each other. Aaron hated to hear of broken friendships, and immediately went to see one of the two quarrellers. “Peace be upon you!” he said when they met. Now Aaron knew that every Jew was taught to reply with “Peace be upon you my master and my teacher. How can I help you?”
Aaron responded, “Your friend has sent me to say sorry because he knows he has upset you.” The first friend reflected “A righteous person has come to ask me to forgive them.” Then, realising that their former friend was sorry immediately exclaimed “Master, I was the one in the wrong!” His heart had been changed.
After leaving the first friend, Aaron travelled to see the second friend. Again he said “Peace be upon you!” Again, the traditional response was returned. “Peace be upon you my master and my teacher. How can I help you?” And again, Aaron replied “Your friend has sent me to say sorry to you because he knows he has upset you.” The second friend also reflected “A righteous person has come to ask me to forgive them.” And, as before, realising that his friend was sorry he exclaimed “Master, I was the one in the wrong!” His heart had been changed.
When the friends next met each other, each said to the other “I’m so sorry for upsetting you.” By this means peace was be restored.

Another Aaron legend says that Aaron would stay with someone who was angry with a friend “…until they removed all the jealous rage from their heart”. He was a passionate peacemaker. 
Follow up questions:
  1. What did Aaron do to bring about peace between friends?
  2. So often today, we are encouraged to put our own physical and emotional safety first and not get involved in other people’s fights. This is good advice, but have we taken the advice “don’t get involved” too far? Can you think of any examples of when you saw someone help to heal a fight between two friends?
  3. In the story, Aaron told a “white lie” to make peace between two people. What do you think of this? Is it okay to get to peace in this way?
To access this story in pdf format please click on the link below:
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