On February 28, 2001, an
Introductory Evening for newly-interested Palestinians and Jews was hosted by
the 2-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San
Attendees were mostly women and men who had heard of the Dialogue through friends, newspaper articles, or radio or TV broadcasts during these discouraging months of violence. The tone of the evening was honest, accepting, and searching. There was a good quality of compassionate listening. People had heavy hearts, and at the same time were looking for creative ideas and new models for relating.
You can see PHOTOGRAPHS from the evening at http://www.shutterfly.com/my/os.jsp?i=67b0de21b311ed0fc47b
About all who attended asked to be part of forming a new dialogue group in San Francisco, in addition to the five already active in the Bay Area.
We encourage others to convene similar gatherings for Jews and Palestinians where they live.
For others who might wish to have a similar Introductory Evening, we offer below the elements of that Wednesday night gathering:
6:45 -- Dialogue Group arrives prepare the rooms, displays, food, and nametags
7:30 -- Guests arrive (conversation, nametags, coffee, tea, fruit, cookies)
7:45 -- Host Said Nuseibeh welcomes everyone to the Arab Cultural Center and reviews the agenda already written on a large pad.
7:45 -- Dialogue Group participants introduce themselves simply by name, and as Jewish, Palestinian, or "other." Guests then introduce themselves similarly.
8:00 -- Dialogue participants Melek, Jacob, Gladys, Elias -- 2 Palestinians, 2 Jews -- introduce themselves more in depth. In 3-5 minutes each, they say more about their "story" and thoughts, and why they participate in dialogue.
8:15 -- We divide into three smaller groups ten, which convene with 5 suggested topics for dialogue. (People usually want to tell short forms of their personal life stories and thoughts, with regard to the Middle East.) Each group is facilitated by a Palestinian and Jew -- Melek and Dudy, Muhammad and Jacob, Said and Gladys.
8:50 -- Reconvene in a large group. Hear from each group about the nature of their conversations and any insights. Clarify what dialogue is. Explore possible next steps requested by the guests, including the possibility of forming a new San Francisco dialogue group. Have people write their contact information of 3x5 cards, with their wishes for future participation.
9:15 -- Informal mixing and talking until people begin to leave the meeting.
9:30 -- Clean up!