From Enemy to Friend blends ancient Jewish sacred texts on peacebuilding, real-life descriptions of conflict engagement interpersonal, interreligious, intra-communal, and international and contemporary conflict theory. The interweaving of personal story, sacred text, and theory demonstrates how relationships can move from estrangement and wounding, entrenched bigotry and fear, to positive, engaged encounter. What emerges is a portrait of peacemaking as a spiritual practice that can guide the lives of faithful people seeking peace in their lives and in the world. The primary focus of the book is on the inner work of conflict transformation: what happens to the human heart and mind under threat, and what it takes to pry open the heart and mind to meet the other and to see him or her as ourselves. After exploring this theme in the contexts of interreligious dialogue, intra-communal conflict in the Jewish community itself, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, the book concludes with reflections on the pursuit of peace as an everyday spiritual practice, focusing on the cultivation of qualities of soul that are essential to the art of pursuing peace, from whatever our religious starting point.
Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After many years of work in pastoral care, hospice and spiritual direction, Rabbi Eilberg now directs interfaith dialog programs in the Twin Cities at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, and is adjunct faculty at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and St. Catherine University.