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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6

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Ladies of the Forum - Movement Workshop

This year, instead of three large meetings, the Forum's women's group was divided into smaller groups that meet three times a year for some workshops. Anat Marnin Shacham wrote about the first workshop she and Merav bar Niv held on December 2007.

After planning, organizing and coordinating, we left our daily chores behind us and on a sunny Friday in winter we gathered in a small and colorful studio in Tel Aviv. Nine women, young and younger, Israeli and Palestinian.

Ethnic music, heartbeat rhythm, fluttering cloths and soft colorful cushioned seats surrounded us.
 At the beginning some of us felt a bit embarrassed and there were giggles and smiles coupled with the willingness to experience something new. The circle held us, there was warm eye contact between all of us, we were together, we felt that we belonged and at the same time we kept to ourselves.

The flow in the circle continued, each one of us adding a movement and the rest joining her, getting and giving. Enjoyment replaced embarrassment, laughter replaced giggles, new initiatives came up. A wordless understanding flowed between us. We didn't feel the sense of "us" and "them" anymore. Instead, we started to feel like a group of women who communicate in an ancient and early language of gestures and movement.

We left the circle much more relaxed only to return to it later.
The use of space and objects was different from what we are used to in our daily lives and a strong feeling that something else was happening  pervaded us. Feelings of closeness and warmth made it possible for some of us to share personal, moving, recent, painful and powerful experiences. We as a group contained what was brought up and were thankful for the trust and the openness.

In this meeting there was something liberating and purifying that gave us strength to go on.

We said our goodbyes hugging, kissing and waiting to meet again.


Anat Marnin Shacham, Merav bar Niv

Photography: Mashka Litvak



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