Too hot for a picnic? Not for about 50 members of Hands of Peace. On Thursday night, July 21, about 50 teens from Israel and Palestine and the Chicago suburbs were hosted by Tom and Irene Smith of Winnetka for their third annual Hands of Peace picnic. Hands of Peace is an interfaith organization founded in 2002. Each summer, Hands of Peace brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and American teens for an 18-day experience of multiculturalism and coexistence. The young people develop peace-building and leadership skills.
After a day of dialogue and work on independent peace films, the “Hands” arrived at Elder Park for an old-fashioned American picnic. The temperature and humidity were very high, but the enthusiasm was higher. The picnic included kosher hot dogs, veggie burgers, hamburgers, and lots of salads and desserts. Music was provided by Bud Nichols of Glenview and Mario Paguirigan of Chicago. The Hands also learned to play softball. The “Cubs” and the “Sox” were coached by Tom Nathan of Wilmette and Matt Waskerwitz of Chicago. New Trier High School Varsity Basketball Coach Scott Fricke pitched for both teams and helped teach all the players.
Finally, everyone went down to Elder Beach before heading home with their host families.