“I highly recommend this free training course to learn democracy from within. Last spring, I had the chance to participate in the course alongside participants having different cultural and individual backgrounds. The inner wisdom which came through the training has been highly profound to me. It is not about what you know and what you are familiar with, but it is much more about realizing how much of your knowledge applies to different aspects of your daily life. Therefore, it helps us to reshape our understanding in relation to our individual and collective needs.” – Soran Azad, Copenhagen.
“I took Tali’s workshop with a remarkable group of people who were either working for peace in the Middle East, educating children,counselling couples or were community leaders. Tali slipped us below our cultural/religious differences very quickly as we worked to solve group problems. Each day brought a deeper experience of how we brought ourselves into group dynamics. The awarenesses that emerged out of this work is startling and nourishing. It’s was like patiently being bloomed into the truth of my fears, impulses, hopes and programming. It wasn’t like getting tools to better myself, it was more akin to becoming calmer and more open because I could see how myself and others were living the humble truth of human interactions. I recommend this to all.” -Wendel Meldrum, Actor and Writer
“I recently attended a workshop that Tali Padan facilitated. A workshop that focused on democracy and freedom . Quite revealing, moving and extremely beneficial. I will take these experiences with me to my job as a facilitator. One of the things that I learned in debriefing a group is to first ask how was the result, or are you satisfied with the result . Second to ask how was the process and are you satisfied with the process. There were processes we did that ended up in triggers. This was good and I processed how to reveal and deal with them. Tali looking so meek and innocent, but quite a force to be reckoned with. I am truly happy that I was a part of this experience.” -Irasha, The Ojai Foundation.
“I attended a 3-day Betzavta Workshop in the Los Angeles area. The workshop method uses the language of democracy to look within; the workshop focus was the recognition of every individual’s equal right to freedom, with much exploration of what that means and how we put our beliefs around the concepts and ourselves into our interactions with others.
Using interactive, experiential tasks as an avenue for us to delve into our natural patterns and behaviors, we were given the opportunity again and again to face the way we walk our talk, and to understand the choices we continually make about how to behave and interact with others, especially when there is a task with potential conflict at hand.
I found the workshop space to be beautifully crafted and held with such clear intention in the capable and loving hands of facilitator Tali Padan, Director of Mellem Education. I came away with a deeper awareness of my own sense of equality, freedom and power, how I exercise these and impact others, and how these concepts and beliefs are living in others. I am bringing this method (which can be used to work with conflict in a creative, peaceful and healing way) and the insights I gained back to my family and my place of work. I became aware of my habit of going with the flow to avoid conflict; now, seeing conflict in a different way, I am eager to begin dancing in the flow to bring about change, and working with the conflict to create deeper more meaningful changes for all the stakeholders.” -Anne Boyd, Interim Admissions Director at Rudolf Steiner College Fair Oaks, California.
“Since my mother’s family comes from a line of early pioneers who helped to build this country, I have long been concerned with the question, “How do we cultivate a citizenry honing the spirit of freedom and democracy on which this country was founded?”. The genius in this training with Tali Padan was that our group explored this question with simple, practical activities that produced profound insight through objectively investigating the conflicts arising out of our group’s decision-making processes. From this insight I saw every participant in our group, myself included, learn and grow
This training should be given in every high school in the United States. Every organization or business that is concerned with, or profiting from, promoting principles of democracy and freedom should host such a training for their leadership. If this were done, I have no doubt that the founders of our country would feel that the essence of their legacy is alive and well.”- Shepha Schneirsohn Vainstein, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, founder reGeneration
“What stays most with me about Tali’s training is that it is really democracy with a small ‘d’…I don’t think I ‘got’ democracy before this; it seemed a tired aphorism, a platitude or a badly tarnished ideal…Yet in the training here was democracy lovingly opened up and displayed…and I got a whiff of its transformative potential of the personal and the political; the macro and the micro…the training was both secular and spiritual and warmly humanistic.” -Walter Ruby, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
“Thanks for a very inspiring presentation last night. I found this an excellent way to bring groups together and you were able to inspire and educate us on the process of positive change. The exercises that we went through were so powerful that we have talked about them days later. This was really “life changing” because we continue to talk about the process of how all of us are changing. All of us continue to talk about the specific ways that you got us to interact and I feel that we are much closer because of this. You have a real talent for getting the group to interact. The interventions that you used were very powerful and lasting. In fact, we are still laughing at some of our reactions and all of us were able to learn much about ourselves. Keep up the great work.” -Richard Blue, PhD, ABPP (Diplomate in Counseling Psychology)
“A short note to express my gratitude for your presentation last night concerning conflict management. I have attended hundreds of presentations and conferences during my 36 years as a healthcare provider, but I’ve never sat through such an innovative approach towards resolving or just discussing both individual and collective conflicts, often the underlying reason our emotional and physical health declines.
I have also presented dozens of ergonomic presentations to corporations helping their employees reach their production potential on a structural level but often find there are various employee/administrative conflicts that is suppressing this. I can see where your program can be used within the business community to assist with specific administrative conflict resolution, as well as enhance employee/managerial productivity.
Thanks again for your insight and direction during your presentation and our group’s reaction. In just a short time we were able to bring to the table both real and underlying issues bringing focus to us as a group and individually. I can see how within a few days of your work with your direction towards team interaction, a clearer picture will surface helping resolve conflicts that have stopped forward growth and peace.” – Joel E. Margolies, DC
“A program such as Betzavta is of vital importance for Croatia at this time. Like in many other countries the economic crisis has increased tensions between different groups. Most have lost sight of how important it is to come together and listen to what the other side has to say. Betzavta provides a powerful insight into the importance of cooperation and dialog, all the more so because the workshops are constructed in such a way as to allow people to arrive at this conclusion on their own, rather then the idea being forced upon them by an external source.” – Tvrtko, Croatia
“The methods of the Betzavta workshop are very simple and seem to be ordinary, although they are not. They showed me that I don’t behave the way I thought I do. I started reflecting myself by discussing about different topics like freedom or democracy. The progress of reflecting was very intensive and still is. I never believed a workshop could have such a big impact on me.” -Stefan, Germany.
“The Betzavta training was amazing, seemingly simple but very profound and meaningful in essence. I experienced how ideas and ideals can be transformed into actions that can change lives everywhere, changing limited viewpoints into open, free and democratic perspectives. This workshop managed to make me experience a new model of culture, a culture of peace. Where we can understand and live by the principles of respect, freedom of speech, justice, democracy, human rights, tolerance, equality and solidarity. I highly recommend the initiative of Tali to promote open dialogue to encourage critical thinking and to enable awareness.” -Luiza, Romania.
“Betzavta training was an incredible experience. Meeting people from many different cultures and hearing what they have to say about things you thought were universal is amazing and changes your perspective completely. The training itself is well organized and interesting, although challenging from time to time. It’s extraordinary how you can change in just a week!” -Iva, Croatia
“After attending a Learning the Language of Democracy training in October 2013, I have been trying some of the activities with my high school English classes in Bucharest, Romania. My American Studies classes have been discussing the government shutdown recently, so I had them do the Betzavta activity where they worked in groups to decide who should be able to vote and who should be able to be elected. When they reflected on this, nearly all of them said their groups’ process was completely democratic. This surprised me, because I noticed some inequalities and a small group of students mentioned privately that they felt they had not been heard. So, I decided to challenge the classes a bit and I conducted the Betzavta ‘rule’ activity. At the end of 15 minutes the student with the most names can make a rule for the class. It was fascinating to watch them process this. I did the activity with two groups and in the first it was very civil–one student became the spokesperson (after first asking if anyone else wanted the job) and then everyone went around the circle and suggested a rule. Finally the group considered all the rules and took a vote. Still, in the reflection it was discovered that not everyone was completely satisfied with the rule, even if they did think the process was fair. In the second group things were much more heated. Students ran around and stole cards, formed small cliches, and even raised their voices in the reflection process. Still, they did manage to come to an understanding at the end and some suggested that it was much harder to be democratic than they previously believed. The Betzavta training prepared me to successfully facilitate this type of activity and I think it produced a great deal of thought and reflection, which I hope will stick with them outside of the classroom as well.” – Jessica, US/Romania.
“My personal experience with Betzavta training was excellent. It gave me the opportunity to feel, through practical exercises, how democratic processes work. I’ve been never taught in that way before and I am really looking forward to apply for the next one.” – Julian, Argentina/Spain/Denmark
“Betzavta training was unique in a sense, that made me think about who I am in a totally unexpected way. I was just doing everything as I would normally, but I was able to learn a lot about myself through the others.” -Mate, Hungary/Denmark