Eliyahu McLean – RII
Director and co-founder of the Israeli NGO Jerusalem Peacemakers
West Jerusalem, Israel
Sunday 20 January 2011
“Rahel creates a safe space where all participants,
Israeli or Palestinian, secular or religious, feel welcome”
I have known Rahel Warshaw-Dadon for almost 10 years. In that time, I have studied both first and second degree Reiki with Rahel. I have also been a board member of the NGO Reiki for Peace.
I have found that many of the peacemakers in the Israel-Palestine context have become quite exhausted and “burnt out” as a result of doing their work. For me, Reiki has been a powerful tool, when treating myself and others, for regaining personal balance, and staying centered and healthy in the midst of living in a tense, stressful situation. In addition, since I took second degree Reiki training, my practice of Reiki has helped me to help others in my work organizing inter-religious Israeli-Palestinian peace projects.
One of the powerful practices of Reiki, and the Reiki for Peace project has been “Reiki Sharing” sessions. In the sessions that Rahel creates, Israeli and Palestinian students have come together to practice Reiki on each other. There, I had a chance to meet and practice Reiki with other Israelis and with Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank. Sharing Reiki together creates a powerful bond for participants that can go much deeper than just participating in a workshop or dialogue session.
What has continued to impress me is the open-ness and even hunger to receive Reiki among the many Palestinians whom Rahel encounters. The power of touch, and the healing that Reiki provides, are often missing components of their lives. Rahel has been invited to teach Reiki courses in Beit Jaala and other parts of the West Bank. As word spreads of the power of Reiki, many more Palestinians have asked to sign up for courses. In addition to occasionally teaching in the West Bank, Rahel has been able to secure permits for Palestinians from the West Bank to come to her Jerusalem home – the Reiki for Peace center – for both Reiki training and Reiki Sharing sessions.
Rahel goes through great lengths to make the Reiki courses, and Reiki Sharing sessions, culturally appropriate. For better communication with Palestinians, Rahel has been learning both spoken and written Arabic; and she employs a translator at every session, in case there may be someone who does not understand the language of instruction – usually Hebrew or English. To honor religious sensitivities, she has created separate working spaces for men and women, offers prayer rugs for Muslims, keeps her kitchen kosher for religious Jews, provides breaks during workshops for both Friday Muslim and Jewish Shabbat prayers. Sessions of Reiki for Peace are a unique inter-cultural encounter. This can happen only because Rahel creates a safe space where all participants, Israeli or Palestinian, secular or religious, feel welcome.
I especially want to point out that Reiki is not a religion, and that, as an Orthodox Jew, I find no objection at all, religious or otherwise, to the practice of Reiki. It is very important that there is no contradiction for people of faith, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim to practice Reiki and to practice Reiki together. I believe this view will hold for all religions, since Reiki is simply a practice that can bring people together for peace. With the huge divide between Arabs and Jews, and among the varied religious groups in the Holy Land, any initiative that can help bring these groups closer to understanding is to be encouraged. Reiki for Peace is such an organization. The visionary who brought Reiki to be this powerful tool, not just for individual healing, but for peacemaking between our two nations, is Rahel Warshaw-Dadon. Rahel gets my highest recommendation to receive the Bremen prize for the "Unknown Peace Worker who is using Innovative Methods for Bringing Peace."