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February 2, 2015

The blackbirds are back! One bird sang, jammed, as I stood below his pine at sunset. With a song like that, Romeo, Juliet will be down from her balcony right away. Here is our blackbird….he has come home! His song was humorous, he imitated other voices and then returned to his own, elegantly combining notes and rhythms.

Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s spirit lingers in the forest where he was murdered. The blackbirds stopped singing, went away, disappeared after he died. Hope was gone. But now, Muhammed, the blackbirds are back, and they are celebrating your young spirit. Now, at Tu B’Shvat, the festival of trees, who are quenching their thirst after nine months of dryness, and the blackbirds begin their courting time. New life, Muhammed.

Israel is flirting, not yet courting, but flirting with the possibility that life can be otherwise here. This is the Spring of our lives, time for seeding and cultivating and watering, time for going to the roots and making them healthy again. Out here in this garden, courting life is hard work!

The time is now. We are either to be the desperate ones, grasping at a strawberry sprouting from the ledge, as we dangle, slipping into the abyss…. Or, we are making our way to the rebirthing of our wondrous peoples. Choose, chocolate or vanilla. No riding in the car for us, this is the time for laying track!

“I’d rather be kind than right,” says my dear friend Marcia. It’s a paradigm shift. Moving from winning to healing. Healing is not about gluten or acupuncture. We need to begin taking care of each other. If we were to get that the other’s wellbeing serves us all, serves our collective goals, we would all begin facilitating each other’s healing. Your happiness enables mine. If I can get you to laugh, if I laugh at myself, I rejoice with you. In the midst of the most intense disagreement, I can still take care to honor you.

Healing is not mysterious. When you listen deeply, you heal. To give up preparing the next clever thing we’ll say, and just listen. I have what to learn in the listening department. We all do.

I was privileged to work with “Talking in the Square” activists Thursday. They engage with the public in Zion Square every Thursday and Saturday night. After the workshop, we went out to the Square together, to practice our craft…… reaching people to catalyze and support their supporting decency in the country. Most of our “Beyond Persuasion” workshops are with peaceniks, but this group includes settlers among its activists, working together to fight racism in Jerusalem. Embracing paradox!

And now, today, Dror Eshed died. A marvelous environmental sculptor ( ) Husband of Melila Eshed-Hellner, Chairwoman of Sulha Peace Project, teacher of Kabalah and Jewish spirituality. Dror leaves life so early, with so much more creating and living to do. And we are left here, the living, groping forward to seize this chance to finally have life work out for most hard-working folks, here in East and West Jerusalem.

Muhammed Abu Khdeir did not die for nothing. The horror of his murder inundates the roots of our trees, and we must grow, like trees, to be worthy of the blackbird’s landing on our branches, to sing his eternal song.


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One Comment
  1. As always, Yoav, your comments are timely. This time hope is rising a little bit. I thank you for keeping me aware of the poetry, the possibility and the poignancy of the world you are living in.

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