Workshops for Arab and Jewish women

Workshops for Arab and Jewish women

Being a member of the Hand in Hand community in Jaffa, whose “mission is to build partnership and equality between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel”, Godder decided to connect her artistic endeavours to the community in which she lives and to promote direct exchange between Arab Palestinian women and Jewish women, using dance and movement in her studio.

Interested in opening up her work and research, she invited the mothers of the Hand in Hand community in Jaffa, to join a workshop titled Practicing Empathy., which is the name of a larger research project she has been involved in since 2019. Practicing Empathy involves community meetings, workshops and performances that explore the notion of empathy through a variety of perspectives and approaches, attempting to look at what opens us up emotionally. What makes us identify and connect with others, as well as with ourselves? And how can we create new practices, rituals, songs, and choreographies, which may open up our ability to take in complexities without fear and distrust?  

The workshop for the mothers of the Arab-Jewish community in Jaffa were was led by company members: Or Ashkenazy, Ortal Atsbaha, Carmel Ben-Asher, Tamar Kish, Ari Teperberg and Nir Vidan. Each of the performers brought their own emotional and conceptual take on empathy, sharing some of the practices and approaches which later became the basis for the works: Practicing Empathy#1, and Practicing Empathy #2by2.  Alongside, the workshop participants were also invited to share their own perceptions of empathy, and to translate these into actual non-verbal physical practices. In the workshop there was a process of discovering, developing and researching physical and emotional possibilities of finding comforting connections and exchanges of intimacy,  in an attempt to develop new rituals, through which to communicate. The workshop created an exchange between the knowledge and backgrounds of the participants and the process that the company was undertaking at the time in rehearsals. All of this developed a kind of cross pollination of ideas and allowed for more life experiences to be expressed and discovered around the theme of empathy. 

Following the strong impact and the sense of necessity that was present in the Practicing Empathy workshop, for the Arab-Jewish mothers, a new workshop initiative was undertaken, once again with the partnership of Hand in Hand, titled  Na’ot  مع بعض ( Moving Together). This workshop which took place March to June 2021 was led both in Arabic and Hebrew, by a team of Arab Palestinian and Jewish women: Nur Garabli (Jaffa), Yasmeen Godder (Jaffa), Sahar Damoni (Shfar’am) and Anat Vaadia (Tel-Aviv). The weekly meetings we co-led, creating a special mix between different practices of teaching, of the languages used and of approaches to the body which included: Palestinian Dabke, Contemporary Dance, Improvisation and Creation. The exposure to these different practices, which also represent the varying cultural and artistic backgrounds of both the teachers and the participants, allowed to create a sense of connection, recognition and openness around themes of identity, womanhood and partnership.  The women met themselves and each other,  and were able to connect using alternative and new communication, different than the everyday one. 


A second Na’ot  مع بعض ( Moving Together) workshop is planned to open in October 2021 with the support of Keren Tel-Aviv.