‘The quality of listening on the planet is terrible,’ says Len Traubman who was born at the beginning of World War Two in Duluth, Minnesota, and all his ancestors had immigrated in the eighteen hundreds from the old country — Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Bessarabia, Tsarist Russia. His mother’s Orthodox Russians fled right after the first pogroms of 1881. As a pre-schooler walking by the synagogue, he asked:
“Grandma, is everyone in Duluth Jewish?” Everybody in my world was Jewish.’
The Traubmans joke that their training for peacebuilding and conflict transformation began with their 1967 marriage, which they now call “the gymnasium of the spirit” where they learn and exercise most of what they know. Differing personalities and religions created workouts for the couple especially during their early days.
Their expanding circle included diverse, creative people deeply interested in the planet, marriage, parenting, living cooperatively on Earth, and becoming contributing human beings. They began studying how to mature from ego-centricity to unconditional love.
Together we learned from the symbolism and wisdom of Torah, prehistory myths, Biblical narratives, insights from Jesus the teacher and from Jung and other geniuses of the human psyche and spirit. With this remarkable community of colleagues, our prime allegiance became to the planet and all humankind.‘
Libby has top tips for a successful cross-cultural marriage:
‘I have to be a really good listener. And it helps to have self-knowledge to see where my own conditioning is causing this anger, this hurt. At the root, it’s usually not Len doing it. It is something old from my childhood. Oh, how much we are pushed around by our early life experiences! Yet a lot of people don’t choose to self-reflect because it is much easier to blame another. The blame game easily destroys relationships. So I try to take a lot of responsibility for my own spirit and not jump into blaming. Too, we always say the key to a good relationship is to experience joy; we have a lot of fun together and share activities that we enjoy.’
Today many people prefer to blame others. Most people are also not concerned it what others think , say or do, as long as they do not interfere with them.
According to Len Traubman:
‘Everyone wants to be heard and louder, hoping things will change. Everyone wants to speak, yet fewer wish to listen.”
but I do think there are not enough people who want to let others hear their voice. There are not enough people who want to bring a voice for others. Perhaps there may be many just wanting others to follow what they are saying for their own benefit, but being not interested in the other. Often they do not want to spare an ear for others like they do not want to listen to them. Lots of people also do not think they can learn from others.
The skills for listening-to-learn are just terrible. So this is the great challenge for all of us.’
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This month’s cover story features Len and Libby Traubman, who whilst they might not be royalty, are widely regarded as the doyennes of cross cultural dialogue. Their amazing 47 year inter faith marriage, which they call, ‘the gymnasium of the spirit’, has been the cornerstone of their learning and resources, which they have generously shared with all of us here at Goldenroom. The story, one’s own personal narrative is critical to building dialogue between people of conflicted cultures, as they explain that ‘ an enemy is one whose story you have not heard.’ and so we are especially honoured that Libby and Len Traubman have chosen to share their story with Goldenroom this month.
the Living Room Dialogue
- Goldenroom August 2014 (goldenroomblog.wordpress.com)
You can’t miss the shiningly beautiful couple sharing our cover story. It is none other, than Merriam Ibrahim and her husband David Wani, who finally, via an act of extraordinary diplomacy by Italy and the Vatican, were freed from a prison in Sudan. You will have heard about her case; Merriam, who was born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father, was raised as a Christian and married a Christian. She was subsequently found guilty of apostasy and adultery and sentenced to death.
- Interfaith Dialogue (globalcompassio.wordpress.com)
To initiate an interfaith dialogue between the Muslims and Christians communities in the North Region of Cameroon (Garoua), and some areas in Adamaoua Region (Ngaoundéré),Littoral region (Douala) and other Regions of Cameroon, to decrease the spontaneous conflict between them. The dialogue will be started by citizens — diverse women, men, and youth. Elected officials from the concerned regions are encouraged to include themselves as equal participants. Ways of avoiding conflicts, mutually beneficial agreements, peace-keeping and peace-building projects, and other important concerns and issues will be discussed.
- Blog post by Sandy Heierbacher (govloop.com)
We are part of a 19-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue preparing for its 238th meeting here on the San Francisco Peninsula. To offer to NCDD participants and others the stories of human successes and best-practices that work in everyday life, we continually update two Web pages for you and citizens worldwide.
- The Global Pogrom (menorahblog.typepad.com)
The Global Pogrom has been under way for more than a decade. It has taken lives. It has destroyed property. It has injured, brutalized, and terrified Jews and Jewish communities in many nations. And it is creating a silent exodus, a de facto expulsion, an ethnic cleansing in slow motion.
- Left-wing anti-Semitism is anything but a new phenomenon (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
“How, as a socialist, can you not be an anti-Semite?” Adolf Hitler asked his party members in 1920. No one thought it an odd question. Anti-Semitism was at that time widely understood to be part of the broader revolutionary movement against markets, property and capital.The man who coined the term “socialism,” the nineteenth-century French revolutionary, Pierre Leroux, had told his comrades: “When we speak of the Jews, we mean the Jewish spirit – the spirit of profit, of lucre, of gain, of speculation; in a word, the banker’s spirit.”
The man who popularised the term “anti-Semitism” had taken a similar line. Wilhelm Marr, a radical nineteenth-century German Leftist, may not have been the first person to use the word, but he certainly – and approvingly – brought it to a wide audience: “Anti-Semitism is a Socialist movement,” he pronounced, “only nobler and purer in form than Social Democracy”.
- Mumbai Jewish centre set to reopen (bbc.co.uk)
Six Jews were killed at the centre, which was one of several places targeted in the November 2008 attacks.Indian forces regained control of the building after several days and killed two gunmen there.
The attacks at a railway station, two hotels and other landmarks claimed 166 lives. Nine gunmen were also killed.
- The Art of Not Listening! (smallchangesforlife.com)
There is much talk about the art of listening, staying silent, and truly hearing what others have to say. Thats good, and I believe in that completely, as in my blog; The Me Monster, but did you know there is also an art of not listening? Sounds like a no brainer to not listen, but honestly I believe it’s tougher for most people to do this than to actually listen.
- Listen UP! (writingtofreedom.wordpress.com)
experts suggest 50-70% of communication is non-verbal. This includes body language, gestures, facial expression, emotional tone, physiological elements and more. Kinesthetic and intuitive people might call this reading a person’s energy. Or maybe we can call it whole body listening with openness and presence. Focusing more on listening and connecting to the whole person for the message beyond the words.
- Time Always Wins (writingsfromthecoffeeshop.wordpress.com)
I am waiting for the time to pass as I listen to the click click of my clock sitting on the wall staring me in the face. It’s poking fun at me. It is saying “HA HA, you have wasted yet another precious day, what do you have to say for yourself?”
- Sandy Heierbacher posted a blog post (govloop.com)
I’m very curious about what network mapping tools have worked best for NCDDers? Mapping my own LinkedIn contacts or Facebook contacts is interesting, but NCDD is starting to map the organizations, collaboration, and capacity in our field.