Long time readers of The Hound know there are a wealth of benefits to losing weight. Among the many good reasons to shed those extra pounds are a lowered risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many improvements to your overall health. But, can losing weight foster World Peace? According to an Israeli based organization known as Slim Peace, it just might!
Boston has recently become the home of the First US Chapter of the unique organization which brings together Jewish and Muslim women for weekly meetings with nutritional councilors to learn about healthy eating and — healthy friendships.
According to the group’s Founder, Israeli filmmaker Yael Luttwak, the idea is “as they are shedding pounds together, they are gaining cultural understanding.”
Luttwak started Slim Peace more than ten years ago when she brought Israeli and Palestinian women together in Jerusalem with the common goal of weight-loss. As the weeks passed, she witnessed tension give way to compassion and understanding. She documented the effort in her groundbreaking 2007 movie entitled “A Slim Peace.”
Speaking to the TODAY show in April when the Boston chapter opened its doors, Luttwak said, “We’re all people. [Obesity] is a universal topic. It’s a universal struggle and we’re more alike than we are different.” Speaking on the same broadcast, Jewish participant Julie Bailitt said, “We were all a little nervous when we first got there, wondering what was this going to be like?” But she added, “Soon we found we wanted more opportunities to talk with each other.” Bailitt went on to say that talking about weight-loss struggles and more, has “brought them all closer together.”
Hafsa Salim, a Muslim member, said that it may have started as a group of Muslim and Jewish women, but “by the end of it, it was just a group of women.”
Could cutting down on Ground Beef, be Common Ground? Apparently so. A member of the group said, “I say to my husband, when you get on the scale, the scale does not see a Muslim, or a Jew, we are all exactly the same. We all want the same thing.” That seems to be the feeling among all of women in the Boston group. They learn about one another’s religions and traditions while supporting each other’s weight-loss efforts.
Salim and Bailitt have become close friends, and have remained so, despite the fact that the Boston Marathon bombings occurred soon after the opening of Slim Peace Boston. The two said they relied on one another and their growing friendship in the aftermath of the bombings, and felt that Slim Peace offered the reeling city a glimmer of hope.
According to its website, the goal of Slim Peace Boston, is “a coming together of Jewish and Muslim women for the common goal of developing healthier eating habits, empowerment and healthy self-esteem.”
In biblical times, “breaking bread” with your enemy was considered a gesture of peace. Maybe for it to be lasting instead of bread, they should have been using a carrot stick!
The group is open to members of all faiths, and is currently planning to expand Chapters to Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington.