Who We Are

The Lemon Tree Project

In 2009, a group at Congregation Nevei Kodesh read the book The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan. Mr. Tolan relates the history of Israeli – Palestinian relations over the past few generations through the true story of Dalia Landau and Bashir Khairi.

The house that Bashir’s father built for his family was left vacant when they were forced to flee their village in 1948. The home was given to Dalia’s family when they emigrated from Bulgaria in the late 40’s. In 1967 the two families met and shared their very different narratives of this one house that at different times was home to each of them. When Dalia inherited the house she offered to return it to the Khairi family, believing that it was rightfully their home. The Khairis suggested it be used instead as a center promoting better relations between Palestinians and Israelis. Together they created Open House, a preschool for Arab toddlers. Today Open House is the home to the preschool as well as a summer peace camp and a youth leadership program for Palestinian-Israli and Jewish-Israeli teens.

The Lemon Tree Project continues to meet monthly and has grown into an interfaith discussion group of Jews, Christians and Muslims, with Palestinian, Lebanese, Israeli and American heritage. The group was so moved by the efforts of Dalia Landau that, together, they decided to raise money to support Open House by having the children’s artwork made into greeting cards. They raised $9000 for the school.

In 2014 the Lemon Tree organized the first Community Walk for Peace. The Walk has become an annual event bringing diverse groups together to build bridges and strengthen our entire community. We walk together, stopping at a synagogue,  2 churches and The Boulder Islamic center. Food, dialogue and music are plentiful.