Sunday, February 21, 2010

Midwives of Peace

by Stacey Prince

At the Association for Women in Psychology conference last weekend I met a woman named Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, who had traveled from Israel to Portland, OR to attend the conference. Yvette is a mother of three daughters, Reiki master, writer, and therapist. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Jewish Civilization. In 2005, along with her husband, "green" architect Elias Messinas, she established the environmental NGO Ecoweek to help raise awareness on environmental issues (

Since 1995 Yvette has participated in and led women's groups in both Israel and Greece. One such event was the first in series of retreats of the Joint Venture for Peace. The 2-day retreat brought together 40 Israeli and Palestinian women to meet each other and consider possible business ventures that they could carry out as partners. After the retreat she was inspired to write a series of poems, entitled, They all sound like love songs: Women healing Israeli-Palestinian relations. At Shabbat services at the conference, she shared these beautiful and moving poems with us. Here is my favorite of the poems, reprinted with her permission:

They All Sound Like Love Songs

They all sound like love songs
from the yearning to meet you,
know you, connect to you, love you.
They have tried to keep us away for so long.
all aiming to stop
the flow of love and friendship,
peace and understanding,
humanness and common sense of us women.

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