The tragic events on October 7th, 2023 and every day afterward have wreaked severe trauma and pain on both the Palestinian and Israeli communities. 

The heart of Mahayana Buddhism says that the key to achieving wisdom and unifying with the Great Spirit lies with dissolving the barrier between self and others. To live realizing there is no difference between our pain and others’ pain is the foundation for spreading dharma. Then, the wish to take action to relieve others’ suffering naturally follows.

Taking action to help heal suffering

Flame of Hope Tao Shiatsu practitioners in Israel heeded that call. 

A few days after contacting the Japanese embassy in Israel and offering to give shiatsu treatment to refugees, came the opportunity to do so in the city of Netanya. The city is home to the Science, Space and Culture Center, established thanks to the funding of Mr. Rikihiro Madarame, a Japanese businessman who is known for saying: “All humans are equal when they look up to the sky.”

On December 5th, 2023 the Center hosted a “Japan Culture Day,” particularly for Israeli refugees who had to leave their homes in the southern part of Israel due to the constant bombing from Gaza strip; they had been forced to stay in hotels in the city of Netanya. 

The Japanese Cultural Day included lectures about Japan, Anime and Manga, calligraphy workshops, and Japanese food stands. The event was organized with the support of the Japanese embassy. Event organizers thought it would be a good idea to integrate and offer Shiatsu treatments, and Flame of Hope practitioners came in a big way…!

tao-shiatsu-treatments-tel-avivFifteen to twenty-five minute Sangha Shiatsu Treatments were offered both on the ground on a mattress and on a chair. Each and everyone of those who received treatment were absolutely and deeply grateful afterwards. The music of Aminadabu, the official Flame of Hope band, played in the background. 

Outside the treatment room could be heard the happy noises of the event participants, busy with all sorts of activities. Inside the room was an oasis of tranquility, letting go and transference to the light. In the last few months, charity Tao Shiatsu has been given on a weekly basis to refugees from the south who are living temporarily in schools and colleges. 

A big thank you goes out to the cooperation and support of the Japanese embassy. Arigato Gozaimasu! We hope for more collaborations in the future.

Helping hostage families

On December 20th, 2023, members of the Flame of Hope community in Israel responded to the call to take part in a gathering of shiatsu therapists to support the return from Hamas captivity of Omri Miran, a shiatsu therapist who was kidnapped from his home in Nahal Oz on October 7, 2023 in front of his wife and daughters, aged six months and two years. Since that day, as Omri’s wife said, her two-year-old daughter has been asking all the time: “Where is daddy? Is he now giving shiatsu treatments in Gaza? When will he return?”

bring-them-homeIn all, forty therapists gathered in a central Tel Aviv location between the Tel Aviv museum and the entrance to the Kirya, a huge complex of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the ministry of defense. Friends and family members of the hostages had set up camp in the area with the determination that they would not leave until all the hostages were back home safely.

Prayers and music could be heard continuously in the background. Whoever wanted to speak, sing, play music or pray was invited to do so. Yellow stickers in the shape of a heart were hung on long ropes, and people were invited to write a prayer or a wish on them. As well, everybody was free to take a yellow rope and put it on their hand or wrap it on one of their car mirrors.

The therapists gathered in the square for shiatsu treatments. They were all wearing custom-made yellow shirts printed with a photo of Omri happily playing with one of his daughters. Before starting the treatments, all the therapists sat in silence for five minutes of prayer, and right at the moment they started the treatment, a huge rainbow appeared in the cloudy sky. The beautiful rainbow seemed at that moment like a ray of light of hope from the great spirit of the universe.

october-7-shiatsu-tel-avivTao Shiatsu treatments were offered free of charge to whoever wanted and needed one. Afterward, Lishay, Omri’s wife, and Danny, Omri’s father, thanked everyone and said they had faith that the good energy felt during the event would reach Omri wherever he was. Everyone hugged and agreed to meet for another shiatsu gathering with Omri himself once he returned home.

Lishay, Omri’s wife, speaks with CNN (English)
Live from Hostages Square with Omri’s father (English)
Omri Miran, un père de famille toujours otage à Gaza (French)