How to be vulnerable and find empathy amid Israel-Hamas conflict

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As the Israel-Hamas war escalates, a person holds a “ceasefire” sign on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 21, 2023. Photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto via ReutersConnecet.

NewGround promotes relations and dialogue between Jews and Muslims in Los Angeles. The group calls itself “a convener.” running trainings and classes promoting interfaith engagement. Their practical tools: 

Ways to enter a difficult conversation:

  1. Get grounded. Are you ready to be fully present?
  2. Know and name your goal/intention for the conversation.
  3. Switch between listener hat and speaker hat mindfully.
  4. First listen to understand, then seek to be understood.
  5. Embrace imperfection – you’ll make mistakes, it’s vulnerable.

As you’re continuing the conversation:

  1. Check in to make sure you’re understanding the other correctly.
  2. Explain terminology you’re using, describe your words/labels.
         a. “What do you mean by that? And where/how do you think
               it is playing out?”
  3. Meet people where they are.
  4. Practice patience to stay in relationship – step away, come back. 
  5. Name when something hurts and why it hurts, and offer the opportunity to the other to clarify. 
  6. Are you showing up as your full self?
  7. Have patience for each other as we say the wrong things on our way to saying what we mean.