Together Beyond Words
معًا ما وراء الكلمات
יחד מעבר למילים
empowering women | healing for peace
The Courage for Peace
“There is only one radical means of sanctifying human lives. Not armored plating, or tanks, or planes, or concrete fortifications. The one radical solution is peace.”
Yitzhak Rabin, Nobel Peace Prize lecture, December 10, 1994
“…peace comes by following three paths. The first is to make peace with ourselves- all of ourselves. The second is to make peace in ourselves with the significant people in our lives. The third is to find our own experience of Peace with a capital P.”
The Courage for Peace by Louise Diamond
Who are we?
Together Beyond Words (TBW) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the foundation of a just and peaceful society by:
- Creating safe havens where Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians can feel and transform the emotional pain underlying the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.
- Empowering, training and supporting women in applying their unique skills as peacebuilders.
To accomplish these goals we run workshops, trainings and courses for Arab Palestinian and Jewish women and more recently men using innovative multi-disciplinary healing approaches. In addition, our Arab Palestinian and Jewish women’s Playback Theater Ensemble holds performance and workshop events where stories of both sides are shared and re-enacted on the stage thereby increasing understanding and empathy towards “the other”
Together Beyond Words uses both verbal and nonverbal interventions. This combination seems to work extremely well in quickly breaking down barriers and creating an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Within this safe space old wounds can be healed, hidden strength recovered and emotional understanding and empathy enhanced. We teach people simple tools they can use on a daily basis with friends, family members and in their community to transform pain so it is not transmitted.
Personal Pain & Conflict Transformation?
Throughout recorded time we have failed to appreciate and honor the place that human pain has in affecting the course of history. In Israel and worldwide there are several programs for conflict transformation/resolution and peace studies, but very few programs focus on the influence of human pain in shaping world history.
Very few programs stress the fact that most of the violence in the Middle East and the world can be attributed to personal, interpersonal and national wounds that had no safe place to be heard, acknowledged and transformed. These wounds affect our behavior towards one another and are often seen played out in racist, oppressive behavior and extremist violent actions. We believe that Peacebuilding must include practical, every day tools for becoming aware of the pain we carry and transforming it, as well as interventions that can help others do the same. Tools that would enable us to live a life where our emotional wounds no longer control our behavior in the present, are not passed on to our children and do not dictate our future.
Why Together Beyond Words?
Pain that is not transformed is transmitted – Richard Rohr
We named our approach “Beyond Words” to signify that the painful emotions shared in our workshops are often beyond words, that our healing approach is also frequently nonverbal, and that to resolve the conflict something is needed that is more than speeches, conversations, shouting matches, debates, and even dialogue. Something that brings to the forefront the power of emotions to destroy and to connect and the need to transform pain so it is not transmitted. Later we added the word “Together” to emphasize the particular power of a beyond words healing process when it happens in conjunction and in the same space with the “other,” with our former “enemy.” Hence the name Together Beyond Words (TBW).
Our power as women together is no longer dormant and as we liberate ourselves from various degrees of bondage and unite around the world in a call for change, we can also become allies to men in their own liberation of the heart.
– Nitsan Joy Gordon
In the last decades the contradiction between what is and what should be, the experience of being pushed down, crushed and oppressed for far too long has driven women across the whole spectrum of belief systems and life-styles to come out of their various degrees of bondage and unite in a call for a change. In Israel, over the last decades there has been a dramatic increase in women’s groups and circles where women become empowered to change their lives and the reality in which they live.
As a result of this work the idea of what it means to support each other’s growth and leadership is shifting. Many more women now understand that we are together in this struggle and that there is more that unites us than separates us. During the process women realize that while society has often tried to keep us apart, one of our biggest strengths is our ability to stay connected beyond political lines and sectors and work together for change especially in times of conflict.