Peace is a Work in Progress
We are Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and others who want to hear each other's stories.
We are Arabs, Israelis, Americans, and people from other parts of the world who want to listen and learn about the "others."
We don't talk about politics. We don't discuss who is at fault or where borders should be drawn. We simply tell our stories, one at each meeting.
And we listen. With our hearts as well as our ears.
We listen because we believe that when we hear "their" stories - when we learn what they've experienced and why they believe what they do - then we can see them as fellow human beings deserving of the same respect and security we wish for ourselves.
Compassionate listening is both our method and goal.
We listen compassionately to the person telling her or his story. Where they were born, what it was like growing up, when they first became aware of "the other side," how they've interacted or fought with them, what if anything has changed them, and more.
We listen compassionately, neither interrupting nor criticizing the speaker.
When the speaker has finished, we ask questions. We don't challenge or attack, we simply ask questions to clarify or expand points of interest.
And then the presentation is over.
What Do We Gain By Listening?
We learn that we can sit down with the "other" in peace.
That "they" are humans, just like us, with hopes and fears similar to ours.
That it's possible to listen to someone who disagrees with you without becoming defensive, angry or argumentative.
And over time, as we get to know each other, we sometimes learn that our opinions are not nearly as far apart as we thought they were.
We invite you to open your ears and your heart at our next meeting.
We invite you to learn about "them," and as you do so, to learn more about yourself.
If you'd like, click on the "Who We Are" button on the upper left to learn a little about some of our members. You can also click on "Jewish and Muslim Stories" to read brief presentations of some of the stories we've listened to.
If you'd like to come to our next meeting, send an e-mail to Info@MiddleEastDialogueLA.org letting us know you'd like to attend. We'll contact you and give you the information you need.