Compassionate Listening in Israel & Palestine:
Listening to the Peacemakers
November 9-20, 2017
Planning team: Andrea Cohen Kiener, Leah Green, Gil Bar-Sela
In challenging times, perhaps the most courageous act is to meet and humanize, and not abandon. Our primary purpose for this delegation is to support the peacemakers as we deepen our understanding of, and connection with, the land and people of the region. ~ Andrea Cohen Kiener
TCLP founder Leah Green began leading annual peace-building delegations to Israel and Palestine in 1991. Today, after 31 delegations and many conflict transformation workshops for Israelis and Palestinians, TCLP is one of the oldest organizations engaged in people-to-people peacemaking.
Journeys begin in Jerusalem with an intensive introduction to Compassionate Listening. The November 2016 delegation will focus on listening to and supporting Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers, while practicing our craft of listening and speaking from the heart. Through our daily practice in the field and our group sessions, participants come away with a deepened understanding of Compassionate Listening, a powerful skill set for peace-building in our families, communities, and in all conflict situations.
We listen to people whose lives are profoundly impacted by this protracted conflict. Our goal during these visits is to understand and dialogue with the person in front of us. Compassionate Listening allows dialogue to take place “heart to heart” and has an entirely different quality. In challenging times, perhaps the most courageous act is to meet and humanize, and not abandon. Our primary purpose for this delegation is to support the peacemakers as we deepen our understanding of, and connection with, the land and people of the region.
“I am inspired and touched by the peace builders, who can see the humanity of the Other through all the stereotypes and all the walls. Two come to mind, farmers like me, Ziad Sabateen and Shaul Judelman. Shaul lives in Bat Ayin – which our bus driver Nidal described as the most racist Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Ziad Sabateen learned Hebrew during his 5 years in an Israeli jail; he lives down the road from Shaul in the Arab village of Husan. These two friends told us of their mutual love and respect. They told us of their journey to humanize and find common ground with their neighbors. In this case – the common ground was literal, a garden project. What could be more natural than growing food together to nourish self and others? What could better symbolize our common human needs?”
~ Andrea Cohen Kiener
“I came on this trip because I thought it was an important thing to do. But I received the blessing of being a part of a 42-earred holy being…thank you!” ~ Whit Jones, founder, Center for Emerging Futures
“The experience was amazing: eye-opening, mind-bending, and soul-shaking. I would recommend it heartily to anyone who really wants to experience, not just visit, the Holy Land.”
~ Dr. Robert Stall, medical doctor and Middle East peacemaker
Read testimonials from past participants here.
Cost: $3,400. Your $1,000 deposit will hold your place.
Itinerary: Each trip is unique. We seek out Israelis and Palestinians who are involved in cutting-edge reconciliation work or who can illuminate a particular aspect of the complexities on the ground. Each trip is hand-crafted and balanced so participants’ time is divided between listening sessions and events, Compassionate Listening training and group reflection. Listening sessions take place in homes, villages, offices, and cities throughout Israel and Palestine. Participants also enjoy visits to off the beaten track ancient sites, as well as major tourist sites while en route. Click here to see a sample itinerary.
“I have travelled to over 90 countries and been on a number of delegations with a particular interest in understanding the areas and the people I visit. The Compassionate Listening Project Journey to Israel/Palestine was a profound personal experience. The insights I gained as I listened to the stories of everyone we met will stay with me all my life.”
~ Anne Tonks, retired bank executive
Who Can Participate: This Journey is limited to 20 participants. We seek participants who have a genuine interest in the experience, hopes, dreams, and humanity of all Israelis and Palestinians. Our participants have come from every walk of life, and have ranged in age from 15 to 82 years of age. Couples and families are welcome. We welcome and honor participation of individuals from all nations and backgrounds. The more diverse the participant group, the more powerful our experience has been. No prior experience with Compassionate Listening is necessary.
“In addition to amazing experiences with people and situations, I found myself vulnerable to a deeper level of hearing and understanding than I’ve had ever before. (And I’ve consciously worked on openness and listening for most of my life!) The Compassionate Listening Project teaches spiritual practices designed to open our hearts and still our judgmental voices. Using these practices, my heart seems to open in a way that allows peace to enter and pass through me to the world. It is utterly inclusive, tender, unitive. Sometimes it brings me to tears. It is helping me to be more open, less triggered by things that at one time would have been terribly upsetting and might have carried me to deep anger and judgment against others. It feels like a new place to live, a new birth. It’s incredibly hope-filled.” ~ Lynn Huber, 2014 participant
Orientation/training: We begin in Jerusalem with training in Compassionate Listening. Our group continues to meet on a regular basis throughout each trip to continue training, while reflecting on our experience and deepening our understanding and practice. This Journey is designed as an experiential training and the group will use Compassionate Listening with each other and to resolve any group conflicts that may emerge. We live our practice and trust in it deeply.
Project Support: Our Journeys are supported by several Israeli and Palestinian leaders actively involved in reconciliation work. They assist with project development and with our daily itinerary. Some have an active role in our Journey.
What Your Trip Cost Includes: All accommodations based on double occupancy with private bath and shower; breakfast and dinner daily; ground transportation; trip leaders; guides; tips and gratuity for hotels and driver; honoraria for Israeli and Palestinian speakers and hosts, and Compassionate Listening training. Single rooms are available for an additional $350. If we are unable to provide a roommate, the single room supplement may apply. Your early registration increases our chance of finding a good match for you.
Accommodations: We will begin this Journey with four nights in the historic Ecce Homo guesthouse inside the Old Walled City of Jerusalem as a base to explore both East and West Jerusalem. We will also stay in a West Bank hotel in Bethlehem, and participants will spend one of the West Bank nights with a Palestinian family in a refugee camp (always a trip highlight), and one night with a settler family in Gush Etzion. The final nights will be spent at a beautiful retreat in West Jerusalem for some integral reflection time.
Airfare: Participants purchase their own airfare and meet in Jerusalem for dinner on the first night. We provide excellent directions to make your travel as easy as possible to our Jerusalem hotel, as well as a list serve for participants to communicate with one another and self-organize for those wishing to travel together.
Reservations: Please complete the registration form and Andrea Cohen Kiener will contact you immediately.
Fundraising/Financial Assistance: Participants on each one of our trips successfully raise all of their trip expenses. We encourage participants to seek funding within their own communities. If you are a member of a synagogue, mosque, church, peace group, academic community, or other organization, we suggest that you seek sponsorship from your local community. This will allow a wider number of people to become invested in the project and supportive of your experience. You might consider working together on a fundraising event. We also encourage you to request support from your network of family and friends – people often express tremendous gratitude for giving them a meaningful way to make a difference in the world. (We can send you a sample fundraising letter.) Participants also use our film, Children of Abraham, for their fundraising efforts – successful with both private and public screenings. Once we reach our minimum number of registrations (10), we can award two partial scholarships to participants with financial need who will benefit from participating in this Journey.
If We Cancel a Trip: We reserve the right to cancel a trip if dangerous political situations arise (which we’ve never had to do, up until this point). In this case we will refund your payments, minus a $200 administrative fee. If you have already purchased your ticket and we have to cancel the trip, your airfare will be refunded according to the policy of the air carrier. If we have to cancel within four weeks of the Journey, we will only be able to refund half of your trip fee. For this reason, we recommend travelers insurance with a “Cancel for any reason” clause.
If You Cancel Your Trip:
- Three or more months prior to departure date: Refund minus $200 administration fee;
- Two – three months prior to departure date: due to the nonrefundable reservations we are locked into at this stage of the journey, we will retain 50% of the trip price. If our trip fills, we will refund your trip fees except for the $200 administration fee;
- Within two months of departure date: We’re sorry, but we cannot provide any refund after this time unless we reach full capacity.
- Please note that our trips are quoted as a package and refunds cannot be provided for unused portions.
Travelers Insurance: We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance. No one ever intends to cancel their trip; however, unforeseen circumstances can change travel plans. Baggage may be lost or damaged, and some medical insurance (including Medicare) will not provide coverage outside the U.S. For a modest price, protection can be provided for these and other concerns. Please be aware that “Trip Cancellation for Any Reason” is not automatically included and will give you coverage in case of a medical issue in your extended family, or for whatever reason you need to change your plans. You can compare policies on Squaremouth.com.
Click here to register.
Andrea Cohen Kiener is a community activist in the fields of interfaith relations, the environment and sustainable agriculture. She is an ordained rabbi and counselor (Alliance for Jewish Renewal) and spiritual leader of Temple Israel Greenfield. She was director of Connecticut Interfaith Power and Light for 10 years and is the translator of Conscious Community by Rabbi Kalanymous Kalman Shapira, of blessed memory, a rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto. Her other publications include “For All Who Call: A Guide to the Enhancement of the Instruction of Jewish Prayer” and “Claiming Earth As Common Ground”, by Jewish Lights Publishers. Andrea has been to the Middle East eight times with the Compassionate Listening Project, including leading and co-leading seven Journeys to Israel and Palestine. Andrea is a certified facilitator of Compassionate Listening.
Gil Bar-Sela is a speaker, facilitator and coach in the areas of conflict resolution, communications, and personal development. A peacemaker at heart, he has over 14 years of experience inspiring individuals and organizations toward transformation through conversation. His deep passion for this work stems from his upbringing in Israel. Having experienced the dynamics of political conflict first-hand, both as a civilian and a combatant, Gil had the unique opportunity to reflect on the imprint those experiences left on him. He began to draw connections between the way we approach conflict individually and collectively, and the pivotal roll our ability to communicate with one another plays in determining our success in life, work and relationships. Gil has inspired large audiences at colleges across the country on the power of listening, gender equality and social justice, and has led workshops and trainings globally. He has collaborated with the leadership team of Seattle’s Restorative Justice Initiative, creating community-based, non-punitive solutions to conflict. Gil is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Jackson School for International Studies.
From our participants:
“This trip was so profound in so many ways – I’ll be mining the depth of this experience for years to come.”
“You have built an amazing program and mission. Your knowledge, passion and strength are so inspiring. I feel so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing journey.”
“Something changed in me profoundly because of our trip.”
For information about other organizations that do peace-building work in Israel and Palestine, please see ALLMEP.