Heard of read any of these descriptions recently? I have. A lot.
It seems that now more than ever, communication is breaking down. Name calling and labeling – which many times incites violence – seems to be a norm, especially here in the United States. As a peacebuilder, I’m consistently perplexed about this and I wonder how, or if, this lack of civil communication will shift to a more positive vibe. The air is frenetic with intolerance. The question is, What can we do about it – as individuals and collectively?Continue reading “Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez”
It feels we’ve had a lot of loss this year. Loss of over 5000 to the Mediterranean Sea. Loss of beloved singers and performers. Loss of family members and friends. Loss of world leaders. Loss of authors. 2016 feels like such a year of loss and more, a lack of hope for our tumultuous world. Homelessness, mass shootings, fires, wars, impending genocides, President-Elect Trump – it is so daunting and so overwhelming. More, it’s incredibly difficult to remain hopeful.
I had a personal loss this year, that the world felt as well. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and author, left us. To me, he was also my professor and my mentor. News of his death swept the world quickly and left me numb and feeling a bit more alone than I did before.
Those who studied with Elie Wiesel did so because we had a desire to learn and to understand on the most profound and astute level one can glean. I have written about my experience before, yet, the reality is that what I learned from Elie Wiesel is what guides me in my every day life, and in everything I do.
Many disliked Elie Wiesel for what they feel were incendiary remarks about Palestine and Palestinians. He was controversial to say the least, I agree. Funny thing is, so did he. In class, he would say, I contradict myself. And that’s OK. There was such a lesson in his understanding of who he was and how he got there. His stance on Israel, as harsh as it was for the Palestinians, was understandable. The beautiful thing about my understanding that was, that even though I didn’t agree with him at all about Palestine, I listened to him. I heard him.
This blog is dedicated to Elie Wiesel, September 30, 1928-July 2, 2016
During the summer following my second year [as a graduate student] at Yale, I read Elie Wiesel’s The Gates of the Forest, which someone had recommended as a book in theology and literature. Elie Wiesel was not well-known, and I had not heard of him. I was totally unprepared to enter into his world. I had heard about the concentration camps and had read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, but I had not faced the reality that was the Holocaust, nor had I connected what happened to the Jews to my belief in the God of the Old Testament.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and renowned Jewish thinker, believes that no one can ever truly understand the profundity and tragedy of the Shoah unless one experienced it. For him, silence is the best way to express the events since words fail to do justice. The principle of letting silence speak, when words no longer can, when pain is so real it debilitates and when tears flow more freely than thoughts, is not original to the twentieth century. The Bible contains many events and personal stories in which this is the case.
Judges 19 begins with two characters: a Levite and his concubine. The concubine has recently run away to her father’s house, when her husband decides to visit her there trying to win her back. He seems to have only good intentions in mind. After leaving her father’s house with his wife, the Levite discusses his future plans with his servant who apparently accompanied him on the journey. He still has not spoken a word to his wife.