Rarely does a project of any kind live up to its stated goals. The Israel-Palestine Compassionate Listening Project is an amazing exception. The experience provided access to people few ever get to meet and learn from. I learned more in three weeks than I have learned in ten years!
Dr. Howard Leonard, Psychotherapist, Redmond, Washington
What I learned intellectually about the situation in Israel/Palestine was enormous. What I learned psychologically and emotionally about how conflict affects people’s perceptions was transformative.
Heena Reiter, Director of Music and Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville, Virginia
This project is on the cutting edge of Jewish-Palestinian dialogue. Compassionate listening is a process rather than a product. It is healing precisely because it does not pretend to “have the answers.” Rather, it engages the participants in processes that have each side seeing the humanity of the other, even when they disagree. For enemies to be transformed into partners, it will take just these kinds of efforts. I would recommend the compassionate listening journey to Israel to any Rabbinic colleague or leader in the Jewish community, regardless of their political leanings and predispositions. Under the truly inspired leadership of Leah Green this program will lead conflict resolution to its next level of effectiveness.
Rabbi David Zaslow, Ashland, Oregon
The compassionate listening process is shattering. It is a carefully crafted process to help us understand the many sides of this complicated conflict and teaches us to stretch our circle of inclusion wider and wider. The work of reconciliation can be done, and this trip, the group process and the content, are a vital contribution to the process.
Andrea Cohen Kiener, Author, Rabbinic Intern, Hartford, Connecticut
The Compassionate Listening Project serves a vital function for both Israelis and Palestinians who are working for justice, reconciliation and peace. In order to seek such goals it is necessary for opponents in a conflict to speak to each other. In order for people to want to speak to each other they must know they are being listened to. This project serves as a catalyst to enable people to enter into the kind of dialogue that leads to the resolution of conflict. The Compassionate Listening Project heeds the Hillel’s Talmudic dictum: Be of the disciples of Aaron – loving peace and pursuing it…” (Pirkei Avot 1:12)
Rabbi Phil Bentley, Temple Sholom, Floral Park, NY
The trip went above and beyond my expectations. Not in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned something as powerful as this trip. It was the most incredible experience of my life.
Rachel Zaslow, Student, Ashland, Oregon
This program was truly remarkable! I have had a lot of experience with organizing activities and moving groups of people around, here and in Israel. I was awed every single day.
Cantor Robert Scherr, Temple Israel of Natick
I am truly in awe of the professional way that the whole trip was handled. I have nothing but praise for the three of you. You each had a piece of the leadership and it seemed to me that your division of labors followed your gifts perfectly.
Margo MacAuliffe, Menlo Park, CA
I would recommend this project to my friends unequivocably! This program offers an unparalleled look at the full spectrum of political thought, an opportunity to talk with decision-makers up-close, and to stay in the homes of people whom we would otherwise never know. The project turned my head completely around about the issues that make peace in the Middle East so difficult, and offered me a realistic appraisal of the conflict. In addition, the technique of Compassionate Listening can be used in my own life, at home, at work, and wherever I find myself in the company of people sharing their stories and their lives. Only a block of wood could go through this project unchanged.
Carolyn Reuben, Acupuncturist, Sacramento, CA
The trip exceeded my expectations. It provided a very solid intellectual and emotional understanding of the peace and justice issues operating in this area of the world. For me, the trip revealed the true power of narrative as a vehicle for inter-personal and international understanding. You really have offered me and the other participants a gift of incalculable value.
Professor Dave Andrus, Department of Political Science, UCLA
I have an ongoing goal of being a force for peace in my personal life. The techniques learned in the Compassionate Listening Project are providing a structure to further that goal. I hadn’t expected this benefit. The most remarkable part of the trip was encountering on a deep level of so many important people in the drama of this area. I felt honored to listen to the stories below the dogma of positions. The diversity of people was extremely valuable. This was one of the most affirming, loving experiences …of my life. Having the opportunity to debrief, explore different feelings in a safe, respectful setting was extraordinary.
Judith Sherman-Asher, Poet and Publisher, Incline Village, Nevada
I was completely impressed by the quality and professionalism of the Compassionate Listening Project. Being a part of the group was an incredible learning experience for me, along with meeting the various speakers and participants. Living in this country right now, the need for dialogue and compassionate understanding is visable in every facit of life – political and social. Your work is invaluable to this process on both a micro and macro level.
Charles Levkoe, Toronto, Ontario