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Archive for December, 2008

Dove at Work: needling peace

With the renewed violence in Israel and Gaza, it seemed even more important than ever to find a way to express the work of the TikkunTree:  bringing more of us together to contribute to eventual peace in Israel-Palestine.

While I don’t wear a kippah (yarmulke), I do believe that the skullcap – as a ritual garment – symbolizes prayer and the hope for peace in a special way.   This needle-felted dove kippah is the beginning of the new year’s journey.

In the face of one’s own powerlessness to change the actions of those waging violence against one another, we can choose to walk in the path of peace by affirmatively pursuing peaceful prayer, conversation and action.

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The TikkunTree and this site have been dormant, too long perhaps, but then there was an election campaign to wage and win.  And it was won! So now, with the news about President-Elect Obama’s cabinet and policy choices accumulating on a weekly basis, there’s even more reason to count on a reasoned American approach to building peace in Israel-Palestine.

Although I was thoroughly immersed in work for the campaign and change in American government since mid-summer, plenty of knitting for peace and politics happened along the way.

The broohaha over Sarah Palin’s nomination prompted a brief flight into fanciful crochet, and I spent a few weeks feverishly crocheting pigs in lipstick as I registered voters.  These joined a special “Obamulke” (Obama + yarmulke; featured on JudaicaJournal!) I embroidered as donations to the pool of items auctioned by Ravelry’s Knitters for Obama group (which raised over $32,000 for the campaign!).  The many hours spent in my local campaign headquarters inspired a few special hats, and my efforts to increase the Jewish vote for Obama prompted a few special Oy-bama projects as well (more here).

The Beijing Summer Olympics in August inspired nearly four thousand craftspeople to make and finish tens of thousands of projects.  As a participant in the “Hat Dash”, I produced five small hats for the China Care Orphans Project.

During the final months of the campaign I managed to squeeze out enough spare time to finish a number of special projects.  In honor of the Jewish New Year, I finished a knitted shofar and pomegranate, symbols of the holiday.  For Sukkot, I added some new knitted and felted etrogs to our family sukkah, to make the space even more hospitable to visiting interfaith and peace groups. (more here)

Much energy went into creating a set of flags for the 198 Countries Peace ProjectI signed on to the project early, claiming the flags of Israel and Palestine for (for obvious reasons), as well as the flag of Cambodia (in honor of my friend Onn, a survivor of the genocide). I tackled Cambodian flag first in August, exploring ways to translate into knitting the special structural details of the 11th-c. Wat Kohear Nokor temple represented on the flag.

From the outset, I knew that I’d execute the flags of Israel and Palestine jointly, to reflect my understanding of the ways in which these two peoples inextricably bound to the same texts and terrain.  I eventually settled on joining the flags by way of the intertwined (cabled) trunk of a olive tree (of life), rather than the conjoined bodies of twins, which is how I’ve formulated the relationship previously (as here).  The cabling was more than a bit of a challenge, and more than a bit imperfect, much like the process of achieving a just peace for these peoples.  But the process of sorting out ideas, sketching designs, and working out the technical details, offered plenty of opportunities to think through new ways to participate personally in the larger process in future.

And now?   I’ve plenty of ideas for new leaves for the TikkunTree … anyone want to try a few?

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