The “F Word” Exhibition is now up at Ramat Shalom. It features stories of forgiveness that will challenge and inspire you to explore your own forgiveness journey. Remember, we’re in the Jewish month of Elul – the month during which we’re urged to prepare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It’s a time to reflect on many things, including who we need to apologize to and who we need to forgive. The “F Word” Exhibition is the perfect way to do this important spiritual work.

While the exhibition will be closed during tonight’s Luau, it will be open during and after Kabbalat Shabbat which begins at 7:30pm. In addition, the exhibition will be open on Sunday from 9:30-NOON. I’ll be doing a workshop on the exhibition at that time and again on Wednesday from 6:30pm-8:00pm. If these times don’t work for you, the exhibition is open by appointment – just give the office a call at 954-472-3600 or email diane@ramatshalom.org.

Below, please find one of the stories that makes up The “F Word” Exhibition which has been created by The Forgiveness Project.

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Mariane Pearl, pictured here with her son Adam, aged 18 months, was five months pregnant when her husband, the American journalist Daniel Pearl, was brutally murdered by a militant Islamic fundamentalist group in February 2002.

When I heard that Omar Sheikh had been found guilty of Danny’s murder, I wrote to President Musharraf of Pakistan to ask for the death penalty. The death penalty is not a solution, and asking for it isn’t about revenge, but I believe that in this particular case the death penalty is justice; it is society punishing someone for murder. For Pakistan it is also a strong political statement against terrorism. However, Omar Sheikh won’t pay for Danny’s life with his life, and the death penalty doesn’t make me feel any better.

I have no reason to forgive Omar Sheikh. I was told he wanted to apologise to me, but I refused to meet him. The man is a psychopath and I don’t believe his apology would be genuine. Maybe he felt a flicker of remorse because he, too, has a wife and a little boy, but there would be no value in our meeting.

Personally, I could easily kill Omar Sheikh, but I prefer to leave it up to Pakistan’s justice system. There is a huge difference between taking revenge into your own hands and leaving it up to the law. I was totally against the Iraq war. People think they’ll feel better if a bit more of the enemy is destroyed. But in fact, so often it is only innocent people who die, and eventually you forget why you started fighting in the first place. Revenge is a basic human instinct, the animal part of man, and it gets us nowhere.

“Not to retaliate doesn’t mean you’re weak.”

In fact, being able to rise above your instincts is a sign of strength – far more heroic than bombing another country or planning a suicide mission. Dialogue is the ultimate act of courage, far more courageous than killing someone.

But forgiveness is too lame as an answer to extreme situations…TO READ THE REST OF MARIANE’S STORY, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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