“If we can begin to see that there is a power and deep soul connection to that concept which rings true in all of our hearts at some level if we clear away or dust away that baggage that gets in the way of that reality that we want freedom. All of us. Spiritual and political. And the only way to get there is justice and equality for all peoples.”– Ned Rosch
Welcome back! This weeks episode is an important one as I share in deep conversation with Ned Rosch a certified yoga teacher based out of Portland, Oregon, and graduate of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s “Healing the Wounds of War” program. Ned traveled to Gaza two months after the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza to facilitated stress reduction and yoga workshops in impoverished refugee camps, under-resourced schools, overwhelmed Red Crescent Society clinics, and inundated mental health centers. He authored his recollections of that experience – in his chapter in ‘Stories of Personal Transformation: Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism’ – which i would highly recommend getting a copy of HERE.
Ned returned to Gaza in 2020 and had hoped to go back again in October of this year to lead a yoga teacher training program.
In Ned’s talk, he shares with us his spiritual story and what it means for him to have been raised in an observant Jewish family that strongly identified with Zionism, and named after a great-uncle killed in the Holocaust, growing up with a profound connection to Israel where he worked on a kibbutz and studied at the Hebrew University.
However, the real power in Ned’s talk today is one we can all learn from…and that was, and is, how his deep personal commitment to people’s liberation struggles eventually transformed the way he viewed the Palestine issue. His early belief that Israel was the manifestation of a liberation struggle for the Jewish people gave way to his current realization that Israel is a settler colonial movement. One of Judaism’s most profound teachings is “Justice, justice thou shall pursue”. Consequently, he feels that the most Jewish thing he can do is to actively support the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.
Today we touch on the facts of the current situation of Israel and historical palestine, and really helps me understand the importance of learning the historical context as a precursor to any action or inaction in a deeply political time. We get into the powerful human impact that Ned has witnessed both during his time in Gaza and his advocacy work in the US. We speak about the discomfort of being a social justice yoga warrior and how important it is for each of us to find purpose and sustainable energy to feel connected to a journey that is meaningful and contributes to justice , peace and the liberation of all people.
Ned speaks with such pristine clarity that brings our awareness to the heart of conflict – and simultaneously to hope and the possibility of peace. I invite you to contemplate the topics Ned and I discuss for yourself – and consider your purpose and your part in that meaningful journey.
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