Wrap up of the Planting Seeds of Healing project in Israel and Palestine

Preparing for the pilgrimage project of Planting Seeds of Healing in Israel and Palestine together with team members from the Netherlands, Germany and Israel was short and intense. On September 2017, we began to draft the plans and create the brochure. Seven months later, on April 21st 2018, all participants in the pilgrimage arrived in Israel and we buried 226 tsa tsas in 22 locations in Israel and Palestine with interfaith ceremonies. Following the main event, a small group travelled to bury tsa tsas along the border of Lebanon, Israel and Syria. Few days later, Tsa tsas were also buried in the Gaza strip. A generous net amount of €10919,- (!!) was donated for the tsa tsas we buried and was offered to Yeshe De to support the text preservation projects by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche.

Newe Shalom

During the event we mostly stayed in “Newe Shalom” which is in the centre of Israel. We also spent one night in the ancient city of Jericho. “Newe Shalom” is a unique community where Israeli Arabs and Jews live together and run a democratic integrative community. The area where “Newe Shalom” is located is rich with historical events which include wars and displacement of populations, as well as rich spiritual activity dating all the way to biblical times. “Newe Shalom” was the centre of our mandala and we buried there 24 tsa tsas.

Driving around the country with Abed

Each day we drove to another part of the county to meet the local people, listened to their stories, got a feel from the landscape and buried the tsa tsas. Wherever we went we invited people to bring their own prayers and wishes for peace and harmony. In some places prayer flags from Brazil were left next to the tsa tsas to increase the blessings.

You can see below the complete table of places where tsa tsas are buried. Each place is a complete, discrete event not related to the others. In this newsletter we tell the story of a few places were tsa tsas were buried, that hopefully can give the feeling of this journey. Our driver Abed, an Arab from Jaffa, drove us all around. With all the challenges we faced, he kept his smile and goodness. He takes part in the organization “Road to Recovery”, driving sick Palestinians from Gaza strip check point to Israeli hospitals back and forth.

Givat Haviva

On the first day we travelled to Givat Haviva in the northern part of Israel. This is the main educational institute of the Kibbutzim movement. It is named after Haviva Reikh, who was sent to Europe during WWII to help the Jewish community in her country of origin, Slovakia. She was caught and executed. They teach Israeli Arabs and Jews the values of a shared society. They have educational programs to empower Muslim women, as well as programs to bridge the gap between the traditional and secular segments in both the Jewish and Arabs societies.  The manager, Yaniv Sagi, was very open and supportive in allowing the ceremony to take place there. Several Arab and Jewish women from the movement “Women Wage Peace” joined the event, forming a circle and joining hands to the song Prayer of the mothers sung by the Palestinian singer Mira Ilabuni.

Bethlehem

We visited Bethlehem, with its rich history and harsh reality of the occupation. The Church of Nativity was overcrowded by tourists who came to see the birthplace of Jesus. We started the day by meeting with Sami Awad the founder of Holy Land Trust. The three pillars of this organization are: nonviolence, healing and transformation. He considers the two nations, Israel and Palestine alike as nations in trauma. His approach is directed towards inner healing. This was an inspiring meeting. Later we visited the old city with its colourful, noisy market and the separation walls. Eight meters of concrete walls separating streets, families and land. The abundance of graffiti makes the protest against this reality even louder.


In the afternoon we went to the Tent of Nations located outside the city. The Palestinian family living there hold on to their land despite all attempts of Israeli authorities to confiscate it for the sake of new Jewish settlements. Their motto is “we refuse to be your enemy”. For this family the only option is to take a positive action to achieve Peace and Justice, refusing to fall into negativity and despair. It was so inspiring to bury tsa tsas with them, planting an olive tree and hanging a prayer flag in this amazing biblical landscape.

In the evening we met with Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin from the Parents Circle Families Forum, bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families. Robi lost her son David by a Palestinian sniper. Bassam lost his 10 years old daughter Abir by an Israeli soldier. Their story left us deeply touched and with tearing eyes.

Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the cradle of monotheistic religions and the heart of the conflict. Visiting the Old city with a Palestinian Christian guide, we walked the Via Doloroza and saw it through his eyes. Then we met Ali Jiddah, a Muslim guide who was in the Israeli prison and adopted a nonviolence path. Walking with Ali presented another vision of the reality of the colourful, buzzling alleys of the Muslim quarter. Then we visited a new excavation under the Wailing Wall exposed an Israeli archaeologist, Dr. Uziel. It was an amazing opportunity to see relics from the Second Temple 2,000 years ago, and the lower level of the wall. Dr. Uziel kindly agreed to place a tsa tsa in one of the cracks, deep under the earth in this sacred place! The tsa tsa will remain in its place for many years!

Jayus

Na’im El Bayeda is the Palestinian coordinator of “Road to Recovery” living in the village Jayus. This organization was founded by Yuval Roth that his brother was killed by the Hamas. Na’im makes the links between sick Palestinian who need to reach hospitals in Israel, and Israeli volunteers who pick them up from the check points and take them back. In spite his nearly impossible situation, his heart is full of love, appreciation.  Even though he lives in a very challenging reality of occupation, where one of his sons has been in Israeli jail for over an year and his other son was shot in his leg by an Israeli soldier, Na’im El Bayeda is committed to peace and is grateful to the Israeli volunteers. As he says, creating small islands of peace that one day will make a change to peace. We buried tsa tsas in his garden with family members after a great lunch of local vegetarian food.

Golan Heights

When we went to bury tsa tsas in the far north we reached a Druze village Majdal Shams in the north of the Golan Heights next to the borders with Syria, Lebanon and Israel. (The Druze are a religious and ethnic minority among the Arabs in Israel).  There we met the magic Druze couple Sannaa and Ziyad who were very kind and instantly connected to the tsa tsas pilgrimage. They took us to a tour along the border fence, near their house and invited us to bury the tsa tsas in their apples grove. Ziyad shared with us a dream he had two days before. He dreamt that while working in the grove, he found two golden eggs. He looked at them, did not know what to do, and then buried them in the ground! And then we came with the tsa tsas. We buried the tsa tsas also with a Druze prayer and left for them a prayer flag to let the strong wind of the Golan spread the blessings around these mountains and plains to all beings. Before departing, we rejoiced by picking cherries at their orchard.

Conclusion

For now, this concludes the Planting Seeds of Healing project in Israel and Palestine. But of course, with all the intense suffering in this area, it seems like this is only a start. We feel that the tsa tsas that were buried, along with the positive intentions, will have a positive effect. For now, we are very grateful for the opportunity that was given by the generous donations to manifest positive intentions in this region.

If you have any specific question or request, please do not hesitate to contact any of the team members or participants. For now, we conclude with personal messages from two of the participants in the journey. Thank you very much!

The Planting Seeds of Healing Israel Palestine team
Itzhak, Edzo, Karel, Matthias, Charlie

“I felt myself very fortunate to have a chance to participate in a very positive and auspicious Project in Israel and Palestine. Planting Seeds of Healing is a chance of a lifetime to promote and experience Peace, Balance, Joy, Compassion among Human Beings from all over the world! In Israel and Palestine we had a chance to meet different organizations and people from both sides and saw how much all of them want to life in harmony and peace! For me, I could see that there is a hope of Peace among Israel and Palestine after seeing so many activities promoting the interaction between the young generation. I mean schools and some communities where they are study and living together!!”
Nelson Chamma, Brazil

Feel
The energy of the earth you are standing on…

Feel
The peace and the love in your heart…

Feel
The connection with everything…

Just feel …

Just be …

Frank Gerlach, Germany

Table of tsa tsa burial locations

Location Date No. of tsa tsas Related websites
Kibbutz Ein Hashofet, Israel 22 April 12
Giva’at Haviva, Israel 22 April 12