Together Beyond WordsEmpowering Women and Promoting Peace

A Moment of Healing

''What are you present to?'' is the first question I asked the women who came, earlier this week, to a healing circle for my dear friend/sister Yoli who was diagnosed a month and a half ago with Pancreatic Cancer Stage IV.

Yoli (Jewish) is a member of our Arab/ Jewish women's Playback Theatre Ensemble and you may have seen her smiling face hugging Tasnim (Muslim), another member of the ensemble, in one of our newsletters.

''Just having you here with me and for me…  I already feel so much better…'' Yoli said to the women who came to create her healing circle, ''I know I am facing a very violent form of cancer'' She continued, ''But I want to heal, I still have so much to do here… I think I can do it and so need your support…'' I looked around and saw the glistening eyes of ten women who dropped everything with a three hour notice and came to form the circle.

It was then that I asked each woman to share something she was present to. Mostly they spoke about how they met Yoli, how quickly they felt so connected with her (I realized I was not the only one) and how they hoped for and believed in Yoli's recovery… We cried and laughed and heard beautiful stories and then came Hadra's turn.

Hadra is a Bedouin Muslim woman who lives in a village, just ten minutes walk through the hills from Yoli's home. When Yoli gave birth to her twin girls, three and a half years ago, she knew she would need support and she chose Hadra to help care for her babies because Hadra is amazing with children and her heart is so full of love. An added benefit was that Hadra could speak Arabic to her daughters so that even though they grew up as Jews in a Jewish community they would have the most basic way to communicate and connect with their Arab neighbors – the language.

Hadra took care of the little girls for a few hours every day for two and a half years. They came to her home often and sometimes she would come with them to Yoli's performances.

Since she found out about Yoli's illness, Hadra has been coming every day to help. She is small in stature and huge in Spirit and when it was her turn to speak she could not speak… there were no words that could describe how painful it has been for her to see Yoli's suffering… Perhaps she remembered her 17 years old daughter who died from an illness several years ago.
Until now Hadra had managed to hold back the tears, not wanting Yoli to see her pain, but encouraged by the tears of so many others, she let loose and began sobbing. Yoli came over and slipped into her arms. Soon they were both weeping…

''You are my daughter, my daughter … I am not going to let you die…'' Hadra sobbed pulling Yoli closer to her heart. ''You are not going to lose another daughter Hadra…'' Yoli whispered through her tears.

We all moved closer, drawn in by the warmth of this unlikely connection, in a country so conflicted, between two women from different cultures and religions who shared one huge love….
Please share this with your circles and send your prayers for Yoli's recovery…

Much love,
Nitsan