Viral Fundraising: Cutting the Dreds, Running the Race – for Peace

David Fainsilber's dredsFollowing his 2011-12 Hebrew College year in Israel, rabbinical student David Fainsilber committed himself to supporting grassroots organizations working for a non-violent resolution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine.  To fulfill this promise, on August 14th David launched a fundraising campaign: “Cutting the Dreds, Running the Race – for Peace.”  He’s working toward a goal of $3600 to benefit Mar Elias Educational Institutions this fall.  Thanks, David!

Why?  David was inspired to visit Mar Elias after his Boston-based group of students spent an electrifying hour with Archbishop Elias Chacour during their year of studies in Haifa.  Abuna’s story of Building Peace on Desktops made David eager to see the school and meet the people. Once in Ibillin, a conversation with Elias Abu Ghanima, Mar Elias’ spokesperson, sealed David’s commitment to work after he returned home to support this school where the dream of overcoming differences and finding a neighbor in “the Other” is lived out every day.

As a result:  On September 1, 2012, David will run his first ever competitive race in the Lake George Triathlon (upstate NY) to raise funds and awareness for Pilgrims of Ibillin in the USA and Peace it Together in Canada.  Both organizations support programs in Israel that bring young people together across religious lines to cultivate peace and mutual understanding. Later in September, he plans to cut his dreds, which have been 13 years in the making.

Want to know more about what David’s doing and why he’s doing it?  Check out his blog at  Or read his story (and then make a donation) on his MEEI fundraising page.

Watch David’s video — and please respond generously!

Hailing from Montreal, David Fainsilber currently lives with his wife, Alison, and toddler, Adar, in Jamaica Plain, MA, where he is entering his fourth year at Hebrew College’s rabbinical school. David has been involved in social justice and interfaith work for many years as a Kol Tzedek Voices of Justice Speaking Fellow for American Jewish World Service, and as a Spiritual Mentor at the Interfaith Youth Initiative. David has also served as a Hebrew College-Andover Newton CIRCLE Fellow, developing and implementing an Interfaith Hospitality initiative for seminarians of various faiths. Working in the Jewish community for more than a dozen years, David has led High Holiday services at Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn and MIT Hillel, and will bring in this coming year with Tufts Hillel. He is currently the rabbinic intern at Nehar Shalom, with a focus on community organizing and creating musical, soulful prayer experiences for the community.

Check out his fundraising site:  Better yet, make a contribution! It will directly benefit the students of Mar Elias. Then invite your friends and family, through emails or your own social networks, to join you in supporting this worthy cause!

We’ll keep updating David’s results through comments on this page. So come back often!

Leave a Reply

Contact Us

Executive Director:

The Rev. Joan Deming
608-241-9281 office/home
608-235-1046 mobile

Order Books and DVDs:

  • IMG_0776
  • IMG_0775
  • IMG_0764
  • IMG_0765
  • IMG_0760
  • IMG_0756
To donate by check, make payable to Pilgrims of Ibillin and mail:
     Pilgrims of Ibillin c/o Jitasa
     1750 W Front St, Suite 200
     Boise, ID 83702

Pilgrims of Ibillin is a 501c3 nonprofit and donations are deductible under US tax law. Our tax # is 38-3243253.
To be added to our NEWSLETTER snail-mail or email lists, send an email with your request to