Author and teacher Martin Prechtel says we have to learn a lot of things so we can be nimble and eloquent with our words to make a good prayer.
Today I was happy to learn direct and in person from people who’ve lived and traveled in Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem and Ramallah. I learned that there are Jewish people helping Palestinians to rebuild. There are Israeli and Palestinian elder women doing a sewing project together, in which they talk and get to know each other. There are musicians from both of these cultures performing, rehearsing and recording together.
We learned that there are many political schools of thought in the Israeli government besides the extreme hardline racist fundamentalists who are in office now. Just sayin. Some say they would change things for the better in Palestinian-Israeli relations.
And we heard about the olive tree pruning project where American and Israeli Jews work with Palestinians to care for the trees together. This is Dr Frank Romano’s most recent example of hands-on, active change, active peace-making, as opposed to the “feel-good” dinners and events he says are attended by Israeli and Palestinian people but sometimes never followed by action. Actions such as continued work and connection together create lasting and positive relationships.
Lasting, positive relationships make change. When we create and activate through positive projects together — be it music and art or rebuilding or policy change — then we can better live together for the longterm.
Frank Romano teaches at University of Paris, lives in Paris, and has family in the Rogue Valley where I currently live. He and his friend and cohort Suzanne happened in on our First Friday Kickoff Party at Love Revolution on January 6th. The uber talented Finn Juhl and I played 3 hours that evening, directly delivering the love, at the love shop! Frank invited me to play my song, Holy Land the next day at a nearby cafe as a part of a book signing he was doing. He just released his fourth edition of a book that came out in the last year and a half, all from his own experience and travels. Love and Terror in the Middle East is his memoir as an expert in Middle East studies as well as from “a man working in the field, face to face with people from all kinds of factions, including extremists on both sides.” He teaches law, literature, history and philosophy of law at the University of Paris Oeste.
What an inspired afternoon we had! I know for myself, I’ve spent many hours and days contemplating Israel and Palestine in their conflict as a microcosm of where humanity is at in our evolution, in our ability to revere the sacred, to share the treasures of our common history, to arbitrate our differences, and to focus on the health of our societies rather than on a profitable arms race. Boom.
Looking at a bit of Wikipedia today I learn: Jerusalem, a shared spiritual capital, and Ramallah (Ram – “height” and Allah – “God”), a Palestinian capital city, sit within 6 miles of each other on a 2,500ft plateau in the Judean Mountains. Side by side through the ages, side by side in this conflicted present, both cities and their constituents reach towards reconcilliation in the interest of health and wholeness for the children, for the wild, for the land.
So that is my prayer today.
Thank you for reading!
All Blessings to you and yours in the coming new year.
May peace, abundance, health, happiness and joy be yours.
May the awakening of the returning light be yours.
photo credit: thank you Jason Ross!