When we play, we experience the act of loving and living in a deeply physical way. This has the added effect of encouraging other forms of connection: when we play, we don’t only communicate physically, but are inspired to speak, listen, and sing.
At Play For Peace
, we get the opportunity to work with a number of amazing groups and people. Among these are Aura Hammer
and Itaf Awad. Aura is a Play For Peace
Certified Trainer and Itaf joined a 2-day Play For Peace training workshop during our Middle East trip in the fall of 2014
. They are both experienced peace-builders who have been involved with a number of projects and organizations, both in Israel and elsewhere. Today we would like to tell you a bit about these women and a project they are currently working on.
Aura is a Jewish woman living in Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi: she is a mother, wife, rabbi’s daughter and architect who has devoted her life to teaching sustainability and peace with a variety of NGOs. Itaf’s story is just as impressive: a Palestinian woman living in Duburia, she is the granddaughter of a village medicine woman. Before she retired to work full-time in peace-related projects, she worked as a mayor’s assistant and recieved an MA in Local Government.
Aura and Itaf believe in the power of story: for them, the act of sharing one’s story is at the core of building positive communication and relationships. Personal narratives are gifts that allow us to foster compassion. This concept is the foundation for their interest in Council (Maagal Hakshava). As
they encourage others to share their stories, building on the wisdom and collective memory of people’s families, tribes and communities.
The concept is wonderfully simple: a group of people sits in a circle. The circle format is non-hierarchical and thus creates a feeling of equality: this feeling is enhanced by the fact that the facilitator is also part of the circle, taking the role of participant, rather than teacher. A talking piece is passed from person to person: everyone’s voice is heard, embraced and celebrated. When this happens, the wisdom inherent in each individual is transferred to the entire group.
As the project promotes: “communication is at the heart of all human interaction, the story is at the heart of Council. The quality of our communication defines the quality of our relationships, be they with partners, children, colleagues, or even enemies. Good communication begins with true listening—to others and to oneself.”
These ideas resonate strongly with Play For Peace
. For Aura and Itaf, the celebration of oral histories is the host for building trust, compassion, self-worth, and connection. At Play For Peace
, the celebration of touch is the host for fostering these same emotions and attitudes. When we play, we experience the act of loving and living in a deeply physical way. This has the added effect of encouraging other forms of connection: when we play, we don’t only communicate physically, but are inspired to speak, listen, and sing. After all, we bond in all the ways that we experience the world—through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching.
We encourage our readers to learn more about council circles! Registration is now open for a training session with Aura and Itaf that begins in October and takes place in the Galilee.
You can also engage with these ideas right now, in your own home: phone a friend and share a story, engage your neighbors by asking them something new, go outside and simply play.