Valentine’s Day usually means a special heart-shaped chocolate cake for our family (just like the baked heart my grandmother made for us every Rosh Hashonah). But this week we are all down with flu. And it’s our turn to cook for the men’s shelter in the neighborhood.
As I quietly knit and checked email in the half-light of the kitchen, yet another cup of tea at my elbow to keep a cough at bay, I found an electronic reminder to listen to a recent NPR interview on Krista Tippett’s Speaking of Faith of members of the Parents Circle – Families Forum. Israeli Robi Damelin and Palestinian Ali Abu Awwad discussed their respective losses in the Israel-Palestine conflict (she lost her son to a Palestinian sniper, his brother was killed by an Israeli soldier), their participation in dialogue with other similarly bereaved families, and the ways in which their compassionate conversation contribute to support peace, reconciliation, and tolerance. The point of the efforts is understanding and peace rather than retribution or being right; they do not take sides.
Stopped in my tracks by the audio version of the interview, I checked the Speaking of Faith website and found the SoundSeen video of the interview. This was a precious opportunity to witness the work of these remarkable people (and their colleagues), as they enlarge the scope and effectiveness of “dialogue”, proving the truth of radical empathy. Their obviously deep mutual respect and friendship is like the warmth of the afternoon sun on a mid-winter afternoon – a mid-February afternoon, so very warm, so very welcome, so very nourishing.
Tippett’s interviews are broadcast in Philadelphia early on Sunday mornings, and I usually rise early enough to have a first cup of tea or coffee to the program. Make haste, don’t meander, to the Speaking of Faith site, to hear or see the interview. There’s just no point standing on the sideline here – reach for this spiritual valentine. It’s a matter of heart.
(this knitted valentine by Deb)