Bay Area Palestinians, Jews in Dialogue Celebrate Season of Light said the press release.
     Three days earlier, U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey had declared here in California:
                "The roadmap of peace must run through the country of the heart." 
     "Must," she said.  Treaties alone -- cold pieces of paper -- are not enough. 
     Peace is about people and requires human connections..
     Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it another way:
                "People dont get along because they fear each other.
                People fear each other because they dont know each other.
                They dont know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other."
     King and Woolsey -- man and woman, citizen and lawmaker -- in their diversity help us better understand the imperative of human relationships -- compassionate listening, communicating, being together, seeing the results -- creativity!

     And over 100 years ago, American Ralph Waldo Emerson also prescribed how to fashion a new future:
                "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

     On Sunday evening, December 7, 2003 in California, 170 local Arabs, Jews, and supportive others followed  a new trail to the first All Bay Area Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue Season of Light Gathering.
Clearing the way to the future, the path was created by a handful of women and men in the 2-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of Silicon Valley.
     The Invitation is on the Web at .
     The Press Release they used is at .

     The American Palestinians and Jews - women, men and youth - gathered at round tables to share Dialogue and their best potluck desserts. The mounted cards at each table recommended:

Introductions (40 minutes)
Get acquainted.  Hear from each other, one at a time.
Share the time equally.  Use your best listening skills.
Where are you from, including your roots?  Where do you live now? 
What is your interest  or personal experience with Dialogue, and in meeting the other?

     Together at their tables, the attendees collectively signed a letter to United States, Palestinian, and Israeli heads of state urging a new quality of listening, and treating both peoples equally.  The message recommends active support for concrete, congruent proposals now before the public the Roadmap, and the recently-heralded Beilin-Abed Rabbo Geneva Accord and Nusseibeh-Ayalon Statement of Principles initiated by creative Israeli and Palestinian citizens outside of government.  The letter can be seen at:
     With assured passion, Muna Aghawani, from Ramallah, and Melodye Feldman, Denver, elaborated how people can change from "enemies" to partners based on personal experiences largely from the 10-year-old Building Bridges for Peace summer program for Israeli and Palestinian teen girls, described at:
     The landmark evening closed in a partially-darkened room with a candlelight ceremony around a globe of Earth, expressions of individual hope, and the inspirational music of Raffi - Salaam Shalom.
People were in no hurry to leave. 
     New relationships were born, old ones sustained and deepened.
                The evening's photos are at .

     That night, we were living in "the country of the heart" -- of the future.
     The path was fresh, but we were on solid ground -- promised land.
     We intend to pass on the light of that evening -- the magic of the night.
     Listening does magic, you know.

     Local dialogues keep hope alive amid Mideast strife, headlined the subsequent editorial of j. the Jewish news weekly of northern California for Friday, December 12, 2003, on the Web at:

     The editor concluded about the Season of Light gathering:
     "It is a glimpse of how things can be when we stop seeing the conflict as us and them, and begin to see it as two peoples with two conflicting versions of history.
     "Sunday night was truly a glimpse of how it could be in ha-olam haba, in the world to come.
     "The leaders may not be able to sit at the same table right now, but civilians apparently can.
      "Perhaps, in time, more people will meet and their leaders will have no choice but to follow."