Those Who First Listen -- then learn, for sharing life successfully

15 August 2017



"From the place where we are right

flowers will never grow

in the Spring.


The place where we are right

is hard and trampled

like a yard.


But doubts and loves

dig up the world

like a mole, a plough.

And a whisper will be heard in the place

where the ruined

house once stood."

            ~Yehuda Amichai

                in The Place Where We Are Right

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.

It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity."

            Brené Brown

            in Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable

            Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead  (2015)


"You have to listen better than the person youre communicating with, (then)

the other person becomes your communicating partner,

not the target of your communication.

Theres a big difference.

Its ping pong

instead of archery,

where Im trying to

shoot arrows of knowledge into your head."

            ~ Alan Alda (actor, educator)

               from To Talk Better, Listen

               National Public Radio - Science Friday - 28 July 2017

            17-min video


Today -- about those who listen and succeed
1.  Commencement Address on Listening, Citizen Participation, and Creating Community
2.  Bereaved Palestinians, Israelis Listening & Creating Community
3. Divided, Diverse American Strangers Un-boxing One Another
4.  Muslims, Jews, Christians Together
5.  Becoming Our Stronger, Excellent Selves and Peoples

= = 1  = =
University Commencement Address on
Listening and Citizen Participation in
Creating Community

May 2017, Notre Dame de Namur University -- the third oldest college in California -- transcended expected tradition of selecting commencement speakers from among titled, credentialed, high-profile celebrities.
The institution opted for a nearly-unknown, local pair whose story is identified with needed civil discourse and citizen-to-citizen, international public relationship-building initiatives that comprise the public peace process around Earth.

The 5,000 attendees heard: "Everyone has a story that needs, even cries, to be listened to.
As the first one in the room to listen, you have the power to change the relationship."

Perhaps this foretells of a next-step toward experiential education that gives power to participatory citizenship for creating a new culture of connection -- a real communication renaissance.


STORIES OF CHANGE: Creating a Culture of Connection in The Citizens Century

Notre Dame de Namur University - May 2017 -- Libby & Len Traubman

29-min full video & text

= = 2  = =
Bereaved Palestinians, Israelis
Listening & Creating Community
The Parents Circle - Families Forum (PCFF) -- -- is over 600 Palestinian and Israeli families with relatives who have died from violence.
Yet they choose to reject violence and create face-to-face relationships.

By Taking Steps -- -- their creativity grows, and the culture of connection widens and deepens.
They say:

"If bereaved Israelis and Palestinians can
walk the path of peace,
then surely you can, too."



Parents Circle - Bereaved Families Forum

1-min video

= = 3  = =
Divided, Diverse American Strangers
Listening to Questions, then Un-boxing to
Seeing Each Other Anew
Unnecessarily divided, it is important to appreciate our many differences yet experience and embrace that we are all one.
Now, more than ever, we must meet and help one another to stand strong as a human community united.
Let us fully live and celebrate life by stepping out of the boxes of fear and hate, and stepping into one circle of empathy and global community.


40 Strangers, 50 Questions

Brave New Films - 28 June 2017

7-1/2 min video

= = 4  = =
Muslims, Jews, Christians Together
Humanizing, Dignifying One Another
February 2017, alone, reflected a powerful new reality across North America as Jews and Muslims reacted publicly in support of one another.
The take-away: We need each other.


Jewish-Muslim Relations: A Work in Progress

New Outlook -- May 2017


In the Holy Land, 220 Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze, including male and female religious leaders and community members from each of these faiths, came to the Galilee village of Ilut on June 8, 2014, to share a Multi-Faith Ramadan Iftar Dinner for Peace.

The dinner has been held annually for more than a decade as the signature event of the Abrahamic Reunion -- --  a network of peacebuilders, religious and spiritual leaders, and citizens from across Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories.

Iftar is the break-fast meal ending each day of fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
This event helps bring down the walls of separation and fear between our people, the shared family of Abraham, says Abrahamic Reunion Executive Director in Israel, Eliyahu McLean, 48, an Orthodox Hasidic Jew from Netivot.


Multi-faith Ramadan peace dinner

Abrahamic Reunion group promotes love, peace, communication, cooperation and dialogue among the people of the Holy Land.

Israel 21c - 15 June 2017


In New Jersey, USA, an interfaith iftar on June 19, 2017, brought more than 100 people Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and agnostic to The Woodland event space in Maplewood.
For some it was their first iftar, which takes place every evening during the month-long fast.
For others, it was their first with non-Muslims.

"It's a good thing when people get to learn about each other meeting in person instead of in the news," said Omar Elshorbagy, 16, who came with his family from Bayonne.
His mother, Walaa Elshorbagy, knew she would come with her children as soon as she heard about the event.

"I want to show goodness to everybody," said the Egyptian native who has lived in New Jersey for about 12 years.
It was the first time she had shared the meal with non-Muslims. '
I love this. Its different, you know.

The evening was co-sponsored by the South Orange Maplewood (SOMA) Refugee Resettlement Project, a joint initiative among three South Orange synagogues to resettle Syrian refugees, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Maplewood native.
The three synagogues, who are partnering with the World Church Service, include Congregation Beth El, Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, and Oheb Shalom Congregation.


Interfaith iftar

Muslim break fast sponsored by synagogues and Olympic fencer

New Jersey Jewish News -- 21 June 2017

= = 5  = =
Becoming Our Stronger, Excellent Selves,
Beyond What We'd Imagined
Amy Purdy reminds us that traumatic, handicapping life reversals need not inhibit, restrict, or stop us from realizing our --and humankind's -- most impossible dreams.
She insists and models that life is "not about breaking down borders."
"It's about pushing off of them" to reach impossible places our imagination, creativity, and courage can take us.


Living Beyond Limits

Amy Purdy -- TedX -- 9-1/2 min video


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