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Yehudah Winter – Portland, OR USA (English)

My name is Yehudah Winter, I have lived in the same house in Portland, Oregon, USA, for 30 years and have a large fruit and vegetable garden. I moved here in the mid-80’s to study nursing. I was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager, I got involved with peace and civil rights organizations and applied for Conscientious Objector status during the Vietnam War using a pamphlet published by the AFSC. I moved to the West Coast when I was 19, lived in San Francisco and attended the Zen Center (Buddhist Soto School). I was the first Zen student to live on the land that later became our monastery. I moved to Oregon and settled on 40 acres of mountainous land where I worked the land and forest. A few months before my 40th birthday, I became a Registered Nurse and have worked in hospitals, clinics, homes, and public health. I currently only work a couple of months a year as a nurse, focusing my time and energy teaching Compassionate Listening (CL) with my wife, Joanie Levine, at home and internationally. I have gone through the T4T and have assisted at Basic AVP public and prison trainings.

Family Meal for celebration of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah: children, grandchildren, friends

I have 4 children ages 30-45 and 4 grandchildren ages 1-17. I spend as much time as I can with them while also doing a lot of public service. I am on the Board of a progressive synagogue, advocate for the disenfranchised and am involved in many organizations including Oregonians Against the Death Penalty (currently I visit a man who has been on Death Row for 17 years), Compassion and Choices (which advocates for the terminally ill), and Resolutions Northwest and Race Matters (as a facilitator for neighborhood meetings). While in nursing school, I published Mentor Magazine which focused on opening men’s awareness to their destructive effect on their environment and on women. There is still a great need in this area.

Joanie and Yehudah were part of an inter religious panel at George Fox University for their annual Peace Seminar.

My wife, Joanie, and I have taught CL in Rwanda through Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) part of the Friends Peace Teams’ African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI), Uganda, Israel, Palestine, and the USA. We are both dedicated to helping all people develop their ability to listen and understand others, even those they consider their enemy. In this time of transition, there are many who are frightened of losing what little power and control they believe they have. Their actions are violent and destructive and have led to increasing numbers of displaced people who suffer from PTSD. I admire those who “refuse to be enemies” in these situations and, instead, work to understand and establish a connection that will bring peace and harmony among disparate individuals.

Yehudah and an old friend biking by an Oregon covered bridge.

I love being outside and have done both long bicycle trips as well as bike commuting. In the summer, I like to hike; in the winter I cross country ski. Joanie and I are regulars at the local swimming pool and we try to take an hour walk whenever possible. For income, I still do a bit of nursing, e.g. Autumn flu vaccination clinics, and maintain a low key wedding business helping couples write their own personalized ceremonies based on their values and religion/ethnicity. So, my days are pretty busy even though I’m sorta retired. I like to read, but don’t find much time for it. I like to watch movies I get out of the library including a lot of documentaries. I contribute to a long list of worthwhile organizations both local and abroad with both financial and time support. I maintain a number friendships including someone I knew back in high school, one from my 20’s, and others from different parts of my life. I value them and our time together includes activities we enjoy doing together, reminiscing about time gone by, catching up on how we are gracefully aging, and current events and personal commitments.

All these activities and connections are part of a tapestry of the life of someone who values relationships and those who are devoted to making the world a more peaceful place where the abundant resources out planet gives to us are shared so that all beings prosper. I’d like to devote myself to writing my Ethical Will, i.e. the values that I have demonstrated by my activities and that I would like to bequeath to my children and the world.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead

November 9, 2016