2009 Thanksgiving for individual women and men

with vision to engage, lead the way

27 November 2009


There are those who would quickly love each other

if once they were to speak to each other;

for when they spoke they would discover that

their souls were only separated by phantoms and delusions.

            -- Ernest Hello, 19th century French philosopher

"An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man (or woman)."

            -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

     TODAY is the 2nd National Day of Listening -- http://www.nationaldayoflistening.org/ -- Friday, 27 November 2009 .
      In 2008, the sponsor StoryCorps -- http://www.storycorps.org/ -- launched the first annual National Day of Listening to help create a nation of listeners.
      Loved ones, neighbors, and even adversaries are encouraged through schools, libraries, and service organizations to encouraged people to share personal narratives that humanize and bind us as one.

     YESTERDAY, Thanksgiving 2009 reminded us to have gratitude for each one of us -- each with a (1) story that matters and (2) capacity to hear and give voice to the narratives of others.
     Our future is with youth and adults with the will and skill to listen, and thus the Power to transform the relationship while elevating (never diminishing) the Story of the "other."

     This quality of Power and Responsibility comes as we surrender the childish thought we're weak or unable, asserts Maririanne Williamson.
     Williamson says: "There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. . .We are ALL meant to shine. . . It's not just in some of us, it's in ALL of us. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. So it's Holy work, to move past your own fear. It does not just help you, it helps the world."



5-min video

Excerpted from, "A Return to Love" produced by Wisdom Films.


DOWNLOAD the video to show and inspire others locally where you live


     Stories of individual citizens with vision, courage, and endurance show us what to do.
     "People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell," explains Elie Wiesel.
     Here are four citizen-exemplars to emulate.
To become.

                        - L&L

==  1  ==
Young journalist giving
voice to diverse stories

     One young San Franciscan woman Brooke Anderson ( brooklynsf@hotmail.com ) in her youth was rather quiet but with a burning interest in the Middle East and people.
     Today she is a skilled, independent journalist living in Beirut and publishing in the San Francisco Chronicle, IslamOnline.net, and more.
     During 2009 Brooke wrote brilliantly about the lives of Jews and of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.
     Today, Thanksgiving 2009, she e-mailed this story of international empathy.


Greetings from Beirut,

I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Just to assure you I didn't spend the holiday sad and alone as I'd feared, I want to share a story with you:

I was walking down the street today, and saw a man I'd met while doing an interview several months ago.

He was sitting at an outdoor table of the restaurant he owns, and he asked me to join him for lunch.

So I did.

After lunch, he said, "Now you're going to have a pumpkin pie!"

I laughed, assuming he was joking.

A minute later, the waitress came out with a big piece of pumpkin pie for me, and as she handed it to me said, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

            Wishing you a spontaneous Thanksgiving.

                        Yours, Brooke

==  2  ==
One man's vision
brought to life

     One U.S. journalist, John Wallach, at a dinner party seventeen years ago challenged high ranking Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian officials in attendance to send fifteen kids from each country to a summer camp in Maine.
     He was convinced that the lack of opportunity for young people to interact, become friends, and do what teenagers do together, was contributing to the hatred gripping the region.
     Six months later, SEEDS OF PEACE - http://www.seedsofpeace.org/ - was born in 1992.
     John Wallach succumbed to cancer.
     Today, the camp is still going strong.
     Nearly  500 young adults from regions of conflict each summer attend the leadership training camp, in the hope of planting peace one seed at a time.


After 17 Years, 'Seeds of Peace' Still Running Strong

Voice of American News


VIDEO (4 min)




==  3  ==
A motivated mom

     One IIllinois woman, Gretchen Grad ( Hands-of-Peace@comcast.net ) of Glenview Community Church, in Spring 2002 conceived of HANDS OF PEACE - http://www.hands-of-peace.org/ - an interfaith effort to begin the process of developing leadership skills in young people from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship so that one day they will play a positive role in promoting peace and reconciliation between their peoples
     Grad was joined by her dear friend and next-door neighbor, Deanna Jacobson of BNai Jehoshua Beth Elohim Synagogue, then by Nuha Dabousseh of the Islamic Cultural Center, all located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.
     The combined efforts of  "motivated moms" and growing community sponsorship have flowered.
     One of their models was the Irish Children's Fund, which was bringing Protestant and Catholic teens from Belfast to stay with American host families to experience tolerance and understanding during their month long stay.
     "My vision was to get young people in their formative years, out of their home base, in a neutral place," Grad says, "where they could meet the enemy, and have conversation guided with an adult."
     "It was my hope that by meeting face to face," Grad adds, "they'd realize they're not that different after all, and that they have hopes and dreams very similar to their own."





      HANDS OF PEACE 2009 brought together 21 Holy Land teens -- Jewish Israelis, West Bank Palestinians and Arab Israelis -- hosted in local homes, and joined by 18 suburban teens.
      Thirty-nine strangers and adversaries became the best of friends and grew together.

     Naazish YarKhan ( NaazishYarkhan@literatihall.com ) another motivated mom, NPR commentator and Huffington Post blogger, writes that "although Israelis and Palestinians have been meeting and communicating at a grassroots level to better understand one another and work toward a more peaceful future, the initiatives that bring them together do not receive the recognition that they deserve."
     " Until a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is found, these grassroots initiatives remain vitally important."
     Naazish YarKhan and others report more about HANDS OF PEACE.


Israeli, Palestinian teens talk peace

by Naazish YarKhan

Common Ground News Service - 01 September 2009


Israeli, Palestinian teens meet on neutral territory- the suburbs

The Daily Herald


Making Room For Peace

Israeli, Palestinian Teens Return To Village Next Week

Journal Online -- Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Israeli, Palestinian Teens Complete Two Weeks of Coexistence in Chicago Suburbs

Chicago Tribune


Hands of Peace Program

By Mary Mumbrue

Evanston Roundtable



==  4  ==
Inspired woman planted
seed that continues to flower

     One music composer and professor, Sharon Joy ( SharJoy@earthlink.net ) in 2004 returned from a conference with a dream she couldn't set aside.
     She spent a full year of step-by-step planning and finding interested partners one-by-one.
     Fall 2009 marked the fourth birthday of the vision-come-true -- THE HOUSTON PALESTINIAN-JEWISH DIALOGUE GROUP - http://www.joysounds.net/interculturaldialogue.html .
     These Jewish, Muslim, and Christian women and men are committed to listening to each other with open, caring hearts to form relationships and begin to understand each other's experiences.
     They have met monthly or bi-monthly since September 11, 2005 in the homes of dedicated participants.