One by One Deutschland

A Family of Friends

Elaine Doll in: One by One News #4, Februar 2005

Before I begin, and more than anything, I wish to congratulate the organizing committee of this year’s Bi-Annual Conference. Then I wish to congratulate all those who pitched in, at a moment’s notice sometimes, to make every workshop run smoothly and without interruption. Whether it was to translate, to video, to photograph, to co-facilitate a workshop, the instances are numerous, and I applaud you all! Last, but so not least, I wish to thank Berthold Schneiderheinze for all his devoted attention to never missing a step in anticipating and taking care of the logistics and the daily needs that arose at the conference.

Even now as I sit on the train traveling back to Boston and looking out at the New York skyline I have a very warm feeling about One by One. Yesterday, December 5, One by One New York celebrated our “Haimishe Holiday Party.” It struck me that most of the people at the party were also those who had just traveled from the U.S. to attend the conference. It was almost as if we could not say goodbye to each other and didn’t want that week in Berlin to end. People brought their partners and significant others to the party who then had a chance to share in the reminiscing of the workshops, the conversations, the feelings, the moments that were so precious during our week in Berlin. We sat in a large circle, with candles burning in the background and used a tangerine as the symbolic tool by which we took turns speaking. People spoke so eloquently of the impressions, feelings and breakthroughs they experienced in Berlin November 8-12, 2004.

I was very moved by the workshops at the conference, bothered too, but they all served their thought-provoking and feeling-provoking purpose. The mini dialogue group I participated in was so skillfully handled. I am so grateful for the flexibility of Petra and Gertrud, our facilitators. I witnessed the courage and the willingness of ALL who participated in that mini dialogue to open themselves to their vulnerability. The workshop in which teachers and students participated in a discussion about school visits by members of One by One left a great impression on me. Are these young people really only 17? I have great hope. On and on down the list of workshops … you were all fabulous!

There is a beauty to One by One that is difficult for me to describe in words. I have been around One by One long enough to know that issues arise, that feelings are hurt and that those that participate need to take a One by One break from time to time. What keeps me engaged is the feeling that I have found a family of friends with whom I can be genuine and who understand me in a way that others, who have not had the history we share, will never understand. What we share is our need, our desire to look at our history and to make ourselves vulnerable. Sometimes we are the only ones in our family who take this step, which can be lonely. I felt that at this conference, at the Wannsee Haus in Berlin, we were a family of friends and that we were very well taken care of.

For those of you reading this newsletter, please share One by One with those in your circle who might benefit. The reward is great.

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