A Time to Know the "Other". . .in America, everywhere

12 November 2016


"In the end, thats what we all want: a chance to be heard.

It is not only the act of speaking, but

the act of listening that makes this possible."

~ Sheryl Oring

    Listening is the heart of democracy

    San Francisco Chronicle - Sunday, 06 Sept 2016


"Central to wise reconciliation is expressing a vision of a shared future that

includes and dignifies the other group, and offers them

a livable, non-humiliating place in that future."

~ Prof. Lee Ross Stanford University Psychologist, Author

   Essence of Chapter 7 Wisdom Applied

   in The Wisest One in the Room  (2015)



Here in the U.S. we read thousands of post-election words about fears and potential dangers.
Yet listening carefully across the black-dark chasms of human separation, we citizens hear some unifying agreement: Many old institutions favor a few and exclude many, sometimes most of us.

Yet, an American magnificence is our violence-free elections
like 2016's that give voices and ears to everyone who participates.
No matter how previously invisible, unknown, left out, unheard, often hopeless and desperate.

In our similar personal experiences of the Middle East and in Nigeria, the  people ask about Islamic State and Boko Haram: "Who are they, anyway?"
And so it is today in divided America and around Earth, with walled-off individuals largely fearful and ignorant of unknown others.

However different, unreasonable even brutal we seem to each other, everyone has a story.
And "there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you," Maya Angelou reminds us.

Everywhere, every day, let's engage when it's hardest, listen better, remember everyone.
Close distances to know the other human being.

"There is no them, if you know them, "
says Dick Simon, businessman and global traveler.
Mysteriously yet dependably, this is the mutually dignifying magic of chasm-crossing toward family and community.

- L&L

1. A Local, Public First-Step Action to Know the Other
2. A Local In-Home First Step to Know the Other Youth
3. Palestinian, Jewish Israeli Youth Know the Other Heart-to-Heart
4. "Story" as Entry Point to Know the Other
5. Side-by-Side in the Middle East Women Wage Peace

= = 1 = =
A Local, Public First-Step
Action to Know the Other
The small, local Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue is inviting the larger community to circle up for respectful communication across all lines beginning with a new quality of listening to one another to everyone.
Cooperating with the local Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, this hands-on workshop is an early step toward a county-wide Strengthening Communities Summit.


CROSSING LINES IN SAN MATEO: Sharing stories, Creating community


= = 2 = =
A Local In-Home First Step to
Know the Other Youth
One couple in Washington, D.C., began ALL OUR KIDS (A0K) -- http://www.aokdc.org
It started small when Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson's son named Santi went to public school.

Santi had a friend who sometimes went to school hungry.
So Santi invited him to occasionally eat and sleep at his house.

That friend had a friend and that friend had a friend.
And now when you go to dinner at Kathy and Davids house on Thursday night there might be 15 to 20 teenagers crammed around the table.
And later there will be groups of them crashing in the basement or in the few small bedrooms upstairs.

Different by race, ethnicity, and religion, the kids who show up at Kathy and Davids have endured the ordeals of modern poverty: homelessness, hunger, abuse, sexual assault.
Almost all have seen death firsthand to a sibling, friend, or parent.

Thursday dinner is the big social occasion of the week.
Kids come from around the city; cellphones are banned.

The kids are unfailingly polite, clear the dishes, turn toward one anothers love like plants toward the sun. and burst with big glowing personalities.
They are hungry for something beyond food.

Each meal they go around the table, and everybody has to say something nobody else knows about them.
Each meal they demonstrate our commitment to care for one another.
A young girl visitor left saying, Thats the warmest place I can ever imagine.

The kids need what all adolescents -- all people --  need: a listening heart.
Thank you for seeing the light in me, one young woman told Kathy after a cry on the couch.

Bill Milliken, a veteran youth activist: What changes people is [not programs but] relationships."
"Somebody willing to walk through the shadow of the valley of adolescence with them.

Sometimes Kathy and David are asked how they ended up with so many kids flowing through their house.
They look at how many kids are out there, and respond, How is it possible you dont?
READ the full story:


The Power of a Dinner Table

David Brooks

The New York Times - 18 Oct 2016


= = 3 = =
Palestinian, Jewish Israeli Youth
Know the Other Heart-to-Heart
During Summer 2016, for three weeks 10 Jewish and 10 Palestinian Israeli teens lived and communicated face-to-face in ways they usually don't back home.
HEART-TO-HEART -- http://www.heart-to-heart.ca -- in Ottawa, Canada, is for "creating a safe space for Jewish and Palestinian Israeli youth to share their hearts and minds.

At first I thought it would be good to come here because I could miss school, but otherwise it was pointless, admitted 15-year-old Ori Margolis.
But when he set a goal of learning about his fellow campers, he was surprised at how easy it was and discovered they are just like us, except they speak a different language.

Razan Athamna, 14, said that she gradually changed her views.
I thought that Jewish people would never like Arabs.
But I began to understand that nothing is black and white.
Everyone has their advantages and disadvantages."

To create a better culture, Athamna concluded: Id begin by building a school, referring to the separate Hebrew and Arabic-speaking public schools that add to the isolation of the two communities.

Ori Margolis will spread the message that people arent really so different.
They are our neighbours.
They walk around saying theyre different, but its not so.
And you cant make peace with someone you dont know.


Canadian summer camp brings Jewish and Palestinian teens together

Canadian Television (CTV) -- 02 September 2016

2-1/2 min news video


Palestinian and Jewish kids come to Ontario for a heart to heart

The Heart to Heart program fosters friendships between Palestinian and

Jewish Israelis at a summer camp near Ottawa, half a world away from the mutual suspicions of home.

Toronto Star -- 29 July 2016


Arab, Jewish Kids Make Friends at Ontario Camp

The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) -  28 July 2016


= = 4 = =
"Story" as Entry Point
to Know the Other
"Courageous storytelling touches the lives of both the listener and the teller," says Utah-based LIFE STORY -- http://lifestorylibrary.org
Story helps us bridge divides, increase awareness and heal so we can move forward.
Silence doesn't change lives; our stories do."

LIFE STORY invited Noa Baum -- http://www.noabaum.com -- to tell people "why" in a 40-minute global Webinar.
Story telling and sharing is Noa's life and work as a diversity specialist.

"Story is the most powerful tool for people to bridge across conflicts," she says about the power of narrative to heal across the divides of identity.
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Baum offers a unique combination of authentic life experience.

She is the author of a new memoir, "A Land Twice Promised An Israeli Womans Quest for Peace."
WATCH and HEAR Noa's inspiring, instructing Webinar 


BEYOND LABELS: Bridging Differences Through Storytelling

Noa Baum Beyond

40-min narrated, illustrated video on the importance and power of Personal Story


= = 5 = =
Side-by-Side in the Middle East
Women Wage Peace
Less than a year ago a handful of Palestinian and Jewish Israeli women spent a weekend together brainstorming what to powerfully and creatively do to interrupt the cycle of violence and political stagnation.
They conceived then birthed WOMEN WAGE PEACE, envisioning unstoppable women of character wedding themselves to each other and a future that includes one another.

October 2016 was their March of Hope -- thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women meeting, communicating, and marching shoulder-to-shoulder to create a new language of inclusion of an unshakable commitment to live together and discontinue the language of separation.

A Palestinian woman wrote: "We need to allow ourselves to bring down the barriers within and without, to dare to look each other in the eye and see the humanity.
"A long time has passed with us here and them there.
"The first step is to breach that psychological barrier and allow ourselves to be welcomed by those we call the 'other.'
SEE and READ more:


How thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women are waging peace

... reaching through stereotypes and artificial boundaries to find true partners.

+972 -- 25 October 2016


In deeply divided Israel, Jewish and Arab women build case for peace

Christian Science Monitor -- 02 November 2016


October 2016 March of Hope

Detailed personal narrative -- Carol and Terry Winograd 



Huda Abu Arquob at Women Wage Peace Rally

4-1/2 min video -- 19 October 2016



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