Eppie

Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2015

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Staging a theater performance that addresses the realities of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

The Seeds of Peace Fellowship has been a treasure trove of vibrant, original, and energetic personalities to connect with, learn from, and lean on. The backing of the Educators Program staff makes the whole difference as I step out into the world with my tender project.

How are you impacting your community?

I am a writer and artist engaged with the healing potential of the arts in Israel and Palestine, most particularly in Jerusalem. My work seeks to locate, highlight, and create shared metaphors, associations, and transformational experiences in both Arabic and Hebrew—to build and broaden the imaginative bridge between the two societies. With a vision of the intertwined destinies of Palestinians and Israeli Jews, I have created groups and practices to develop in-depth cross-cultural understanding, respect, and connection. One of these is a women’s joint empowerment group that uses voice work in an empathic, echoing safe space. I am active in the Women of Action group, founded by Israeli and Palestinian Seeds of Peace Educators.

My latest project, “Bint Hur WaImmha” is a work of transformative theater—a richly musical, dramatic performance that addresses the realities of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict by building from a shared world of associations and reaching out to both Hebrew and Arabic speaking audiences. Based on the mother and sister’s story from the well-known Hollywood film Ben-Hur, the performance—set to be staged at Jerusalem’s old Lepers’ Asylum—focuses on women’s roles, voices, and experiences as a fresh prism for both conflict and healing.

By connecting the history of the asylum, the Ben-Hur legend, and contemporary Israel and Palestine, the project seeks to offer audiences a magnetic narrative and an experience of understanding beyond and through differences. Planned to be time-specific as well as site-specific, the performances will be staged at key national and religious dates that amplify the narrative and ritual power of the story. In the long run, this project has the potential to move beyond Jerusalem, which would be a promising sign of its broad impact.

“Whether I’m helping to shape a book that may shift people’s positions and open minds, or discovering more joint projects I may want to connect with in the future, the gathering together of seriously committed people has turned out to be radically joyful—a node of trust and hope that can buoy me when the going gets tough (as it does), and clear the knots to smooth the way.”