Summary of Ariel Gold’s presentation at 2022 WWFOR Fall Retreat

By David Lambert

Summary of National Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Executive Director, Ariel Gold’s presentation at the 2022 WWFOR Fall Retreat. Like most of us at the retreat, I had not seen Ariel Gold speak until she shared with us her activism experiences and plans for National FOR that day. When she mentioned taking her children to peace and justice events years ago, I understood immediately, having shared with my wife Marti, in years past, taking our two girls to similar events when they were young. When she, Ariel, shared how her Jewish faith has motivated her to work toward peace and justice between Palestinians and Jews, I felt the emotional intensity and commitment she has brought toward seeking reconciliation in this area of the world. And yet when Ariel assertively stated that she is “optimistic” overall, I pondered this perspective and found it intriguing she would use this word, given all she has experienced. And, as I contemplate her comments how she has been banned from Israel and has faced placed herself directly in challenging situations so many times, standing up to unjust policies and in solidarity with Palestinians, perhaps her optimism represents a major focus of strength and persistence for her, as does her faith. As for her visions and plans for leading our national organization, Ariel discussed a current project she is involved in: bringing a Christmas Truce to Ukraine; fashioned in part on the WWI Christmas Truce on Christmas, 1914, between both sides of that tragically devastating war. Another aim of hers is to work with other organizations in coalition work to create a bulwark of strength countering extreme right wing Christian Nationalism. In discussing this issue, her comments of witnessing confederate flags just recently in northern states was sobering and deeply concerning at a minimum. I can only imagine that being of the Jewish faith has significantly personalized this issue of Christian Nationalism for her. My overall impression of Ariel Gold was one consistent with what I have read about her: compassionate, highly dedicated and committed, personable, courageous, and a true activist