I wanted to share with you the opportunity I just had in hosting the Storytellers of the Healing Words Project (from Emerson College) www.schoolofstorytelling.com here in Israel. Run by Roi Gal-Or and Ethan Friedman, the very international group took part in the Gates to Humanity Festival www.adam-insan.org.il and ran various co-existence related workshops across the country.
I invited them to the Acco Arab-Jewish Community center to run a workshop for Women. The town is recovering (barely) from a bout of violence and unrest that has left the residents, on both sides, shaken and disillusioned. As a result the center has had mostly activities for one or other of the communities. We set out to have a ‘meeting’ of the two. And it was certainly achieved. The storyteller’s were wonderful. They came across as professional, experienced, sensitive and enlightening. It was a pleasure to be involved!
For me the combination of the workshop and the storytellers’ performances at the festival was a delight, inspiring and a refreshing reminder of the incredible power of story. It was also the start of a longer term project of co-existence through storytelling that I am working on and hope to launch over the next few months.
A golden moment came when I moved out of the storyteller, coach and facilitator persona and stepped into the private me, Israeli, Irish, Jewish….a few days after the workshop I sat in the synagogue and during a meditative moment the vision that came to mind was the religious Arab woman who sat opposite me at the workshop and told me about her decision to wear the headdress to keep her head covered and about her very private relationship with god.
And how very alike we are in so many ways. And how beautiful is that! What a wonderful experience it was to be surrounded by so many storytellers who excel in their art! A true blessing and privilege!