Merkaz Edna: a place for well-being and peace.

October 28, 2007

I discovered something new tonight: Merkaz Edna. It’s a rented space in Talpiot, Jerusalem, where independent therapists and homeopaths hold talks, therapy sessions and weekly programs.

I was drawn by a class called: “The Interface Between Alternative and Western Medicine.” It was interesting enough but I was more impressed that such a place existed right near me.

Methinks it’s a good idea to stalk it for a little while; one of the notices said that a mediator is holding an eight week course for children of divorced parents in the summer. I’d just love to help out with that in any way, even if my only payment was watching the mediator interact with the kids.

It’s been a challenge finding someone who would take a near-graduated conflict management student as an unpaid intern or volunteer. I’ve got to step up the efforts. Tonight was a good start, then.


On careers and countries.

October 28, 2007


A theory is starting to hatch in the recesses of my fried brain. It goes like this:

Mediation is for outside of Israel. It’s just not as developed as I expected.

Hi-tech is for inside of Israel. It’s more developed than I could have thought.

Hmm. One of the thesis topics I had wanted to was combining hi-tech and mediation: I wanted to talk about the role of social networks in mediation for teens.

For now, back to work and back to class.

WMF 2007: Still trying to attend.

October 7, 2007

Back in July I wrote about the International Conference to the World Mediation Forum taking place in Jerusalem this year (on Tuesday), which is just my luck… except that it costs $535.

Since July, I’ve emailed the conference organizers to see if they offered scholarships (they don’t). I’ve offered to volunteer to pay it off (no go). I found out one of my department faculty is on the organizing committee (she didn’t do anything). Today I see that my very own professor is one of the panelists (I’m not even bothering with him… trust me).

It’s a real shame on so many levels. How does a conference not have a student rate?  How does my own department – involved with the organizers – not get us in?

I’m going to show up Tuesday morning and see if there is any kind of last-minute situation. It’s a very Israeli thing to do, actually – she up last minute and talk my way in. Might as well give it a shot.

Otherwise, I just have to think that maybe it’s the organizers and panelists who are missing out by not having me around.

Don’t be offended by the defense.

October 2, 2007

Lately, I’ve been learning a valuable lesson as I watch a few friends go through a similar situation.

We can’t let ourselves become offended by the defensiveness of others. Often, people who can’t come to terms with their mistakes, or can’t put their pride on the back burner, end up blowing the situation out of proportion and including elements to the conflict that don’t belong there. It’s just a defense and it tends to throw unsuspecting people off. It helps to protract the conflict until it is too big to untangle easily with simple apologies and moving on.

An example:

In an argument over rent, roommate #2 is fed up with roommate #1, who hasn’t been paying her rent on time, leaving roommate #1 in limbo for a few days of the month. While attempting to defend herself – and in doing so, deflecting the actual argument – roommate #1 brings up how much she suffers because roommate #2’s boyfriend was always bringing his dog to the apartment. Roommate #2 is confused by the connection and responds to that attack by claiming how frustrating it was to have to endure roommate #1’s mother always coming for visits and commenting on her lifestyle. Suddenly, the conflict has expanded from paying rent checks on time to how much the two roommates actually hated living together.

If the goal is to get the missing rent checks, and move on, roommate #2 has been thrown way off track, and the pair have done greater damage than necessary. If the two still plan to live together for much longer, then it is time for the other issues to be addressed, but not as insults hurled at each other; rather, the roommates must sit and work out each issue step by step.

The key is to become skilled at detecting where the original dispute ends and the defense begins – and then to not take the defense personally.