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Dan Booth Cohen
  • Male
  • Needham, MA
  • United States
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My personal story:
I was born into the post-War prosperity of the Baby Boom generation and grew up in New York City on the West Side of Manhattan during the 1960s. My undergraduate degree from Connecticut College in History of Science focused on the roots of nuclear science from alchemy to the atom bomb.

The key philosophic insight I gained from these studies remains the inspiration for my work as a healer. As a post-Hiroshima, post-Nazi Holocaust Jewish American, I was charged to pursue as part of my life’s work the challenges articulated to our generation by Oppenheimer and Einstein. Oppenheimer (1948) explained that in unleashing the energy of the atomic bomb, nuclear science made future warfare unendurable for the victors as well as the vanquished. The atomic bomb “extended and deepened our understanding of the common sources of power for evil and power for good…. This is seed we take with us, traveling to a land we cannot see, to plant in new soil.". Echoing this sentiment is Einstein’s (1946) famous quotation, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything, save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

For 30 years since receiving my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration degrees, I have pursued two complementary careers: one as a business owner and the second as a peacemaker. One consulting contract involved providing strategic planning services to the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the fourth lineal successor to J. Robert Oppenheimer. I made several trips to the Laboratory and wrote two strategic planning documents: one was an early proposal for the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) and the other, a long-term global assessment which envisioned the United States military seizing control of Persian Gulf oil fields by the year 2000. In working directly with Dr. Donald M. Kerr and members of his senior management team, I felt firsthand the terrifying trajectory of an organizational system charged with manufacturing evermore destructive weapons of mass annihilation within an institutional culture that strictly prohibited consideration of Oppenheimer and Einstein’s cautionary warnings (York, 1976).

In my parallel career, I was a founding member of the City of Cambridge Peace Commission, and Co-Director of the Boston chapter of Children of War. I lived briefly in the two places that epitomized the power of evil in the minds of many Jewish Americans: Germany and Palestine. In Germany, I joined a civil disobedience event where I was literally carried away by German police in the middle of the night. In Palestine, I walked the length of the Occupied West Bank, joining the former chaplain for the Enola Gay (the plane that dropped the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima), Father George Zabelka, on his historic 5,000 mile pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Later, I led and organized German-American teenage peace exchanges, which included visits to Dachau and U.S. Army bases in Germany, and 100-mile Peace Walks across Massachusetts.
Why I want peace:
Becoming an adult, I was determined to apply my birthright of Jewish achievement to overcome the threat of annihilation at the hands of enemies who despised my very existence. At the core, my work is about learning how to live harmoniously with those people who traditionally would be my enemies.

Out of the galaxy of Jewish 20th century history, two events define my identity as a peacemaker. One, of course, is the Nazi Holocaust. The other was the most significant intellectual achievement of U.S. Jewish scientists: the invention of the Atom Bomb by Oppenheimer and others at Los Alamos. In the fragile space between catastrophes past and future I ask: how can we remain loyal to ancestors who were murdered for being Jewish – and yet create a lasting resolution that forestalls the unleashing of Israel’s nuclear arsenal against its enemies and humanity as a whole?

My answer is to honor and follow the teachings of the Jewish sages that promote mending the world. However, I reject saying, “I cannot sit at your table and eat your food. I cannot share your prayers. If my son falls in love with your daughter, it is death for me.”

At our family Passover Seder, my children read:

“Tonight, we face a world filled with fighting. Passover reminds us that it is possible for humanity to be transformed. Our dream is to be kind to each other, for ourselves and for the future of the whole world. Peace comes when each of us takes our place at the table of the single human family that calls our planet home."

I teach them to choose Life. L’Chaim!
Interests and activities:
I am the author of the book, "I Carry Your Heart in My Heart: Family Constellations in Prison."

I work for peace and healing in the U.S. and Europe.
Something you didn't know about me:
Red Sox fan
Favorite website:
http://www.hiddensolution.com
How I found mepeace.org:
Cannot recall
What I want to achieve here:
To exchange ideas.
To strengthen and inspire others.
To share experiences about my work.
Do you promise to respect others and our guidelines and not spam?
Yes

Dan Booth Cohen's Blog

Responsibility and Healing at Camp Föhrenwald, Wolfratshausen, Germany

Posted on May 18, 2009 at 5:01pm 1 Comment

Overview



This 3-day seminar near Munich, Germany took place at the former site of Föhrenwald, a Displaced Persons camp for Jewish Holocaust survivors.



Among the 30 participants were several children of Jewish Holocaust survivors and many children of Nazi perpetrators. Each of us came to Föhrenwald in search of healing and understanding for a part of ourselves or the essence of a loved-one who lives inside of us.



Part of us cannot find peace or come to… Continue

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At 6:45pm on June 20, 2010, fesalk411 said…
A True Story By Faisal Al-kateep
I am a Palestinian Arab from Hizmeh, a village between Jerusalem and Ramallah. When I was 15 years old I fought against the Israeli Occupation in search of freedom. At that time I thought every Jewish person, whether soldier or citizen, man or woman, young or old, should be killed. I rejected the right for any Jew to live and every Jew was a target. I was just a kid, believe me, and I didn’t understand anything about politics or the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was arrested and sat in jail for 12 years. This was during the first intifada from 1987. At that time nobody talked about peace but only of violence. I matured during my time in jail. I started studying and reading books on politics, literature, poetry, and about the Madrid Conference.

It gave me hope to live in peace and dignity. I learned that violence only breeds violence and that peace is the only solution for the two nations, the only way for both to have a respectful and beautiful future. We live on the same land. We are neighbors. We drink the same water and both pray to a monotheistic God. We must live in peace on the basis of religion for God and land for everyone.
At 9:16am on May 19, 2009, Paul RETI said…

Hello Dan!

Welcome to mepeace.org. We all hope that you will make a constructive and active and consistently ethical contribution to this community.

Peace, Salaam and Shalom...
... Paul R., Sydney, Australia

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