Friday, September 18, 2009

The Peace Tent

"Blessing Hands" by Dorit Bat Shalom

Since I have participated in discussions about art and spirituality while here, I felt like sharing the work of a colleague of mine, Dorit, whose "Peace Tent" project has travelled throughout the Middle East and the U.S. for at least 10 years, bringing together Palestininians, Jews, and others under the "tent" of creativity. She has also been touring for the past 6 years with Salima Shanti, with whom she has created a 2-person play.

Dorit Bat Shalom is a native Israeli who can trace her family back seven generations in Israel. Her

not-for-profit theater company in Israel became the source of the concept for the Peace Tent. Dorit used theater as a medium for participatory discussion of social and psychological ills, so that theater became a forum for understandoing, issue mediation, and resolution. The Peace Tent becomes a teaching forum.

Dorit travels throughout the United States and Israel with the Peace Tent project, bringing individuals and groups from foreign and domestic locations to participate. In the past 5 years, Dorit has taken five delegations for peace from the United States to Isreal to give workshops and participate in inter-faith healing sessions and ceremonies as part of her Peace Tent mission. Dorit uses her own art work as well as work from other artists to further the reach of the Peace Tent.

"Creating and sharing art is how I personally pray for my homeland Israel and the Jewish and Arab world. I invite you to join me on a journey that embarks on a pilgrimage into the collective story of Israel and Palestine.

A Peace Tent in the Middle East is an ancient tradition, creating a sacred space for reconciliation where people in conflict can safely share their vulnerability without threat of blame or judgment of right and wrong. Entering the Peace Tent is thus a portal into the Holy Land with fresh eyes, a tender heart and courage to fully be present with images of the enormous pain, inner terror and uncontrollable rage of traumatized, crushed and angry souls.

After my brother was killed in action in Jerusalem during the Six Day War (1967), I decided to dedicate my life to peace work. As a mother and artist, I especially am concerned with ways that we, as women - whose very beings are about bringing new life into the world - can step forward with

courage into our divine role, so that peace will manifest in the world."

Salima Shanti, her collaborator, is also an artist, an actor, and a dancer and choreographer.

Salima is a Sufi teacher who has led Dances for peace as part of the Peace Tent's instructional performance segment. She is an ongoing instructor.

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