Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist/band organizer and manager/event producer/writer

Making a difference at the Dead Sea

Cleaning around the Dead Sea

I never really thought about the importance of the Dead Sea until recently.  I knew that people from all over the world came to dip in this extraordinary water to benefit from the medicinal properties of its minerals.  The exceptionality of being able to float with ease in this body of water is of course incredible and the fact that nothing can live in this so called sea is in itself a phenomenom. It is actually 10 times saltier than the ocean.

“One of the heartbreaking issues is the tracks left by tourists who don’t know how to take care of this special place” says Giovanni Man who happened upon the beaches of the Dead Sea two years ago while traveling around Israel after moving here from Milan Italy in 2011.  “When I first arrived I felt the holiness of the deepest place on earth. My first night at the Dead Sea I had a vision that thousands of people from around the world would be flocking to the sea to heal the breach between the sea and the mountains.  The phenomena of the retraction of the water has allowed us to see new life through different species of plants and animals that were not visible before.  We have a unique opportunity now to clean up this waste before the water is replenished.  I believe that this will happen in time.”

Giovanni has been joined by a documentary film maker making her way to Israel from Moscow, originally from Armenia.  Elizabeth Keshisheva, who is as beautiful as her name, appeared at the Dead Sea beach the day Giovanni had planned to make a short film advertising his clean up event between Yom Kippur and Succot of this year.  Liza came to Israel last May in search of a topic to tell about, by way of her film making.  Hearing  that there was a secret community of people living by the banks of the Dead Sea and also about the impending evaporation of this miraculous  Sea drew her to this place.  “I came to Israel this time in order to tell the story of the Dead Sea.  Originally I planned to tell the story of the environmental problems of the water evaporation.  Once I arrived I realized that the story was deeper.  It included the people who settled in this land and felt such a pull as if an addiction to this very special place.  I too felt this pull and realized that I needed to tell the whole story.” She always believed that this place would live on eternally until she was faced with the reality that if we do not intervene the waters may be gone within forty years.

Giovanni shared Ezekiel the prophet’s vision that one day the Dead Sea would be surrounded by  hundreds of sweet water pools which will absorb the sulfur and allow for plant and animal life to reappear.  There are already sweet water pools of various colors indicating the  various minerals contained in each of these bodies of water.  Quoting from Cultural Tip :  One of the messianic prophecies is that water will flow from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea, and that these waters will fill with fish, spilling life into the surrounding desert.  Some say this prophesy is beginning to bear out. As of now, the Dead Sea remains very much lifeless. With the water receding at a rapid rate of one meter per year, Ezekiel’s prophecy still seems far off. What is interesting however, are some recent reports of fish swimming in sinkholes of fresh water which have formed on the shores of the sea. Some point to this as the beginnings of the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.  Giovanni explains that the medicinal properties of the plants and animals that will become plentiful if we assist Ezekiel’s prophesy to come true will make up some of the most important remedies that modern man has ever seen.

On Thursday October 10th until the onset of Shabbat on Friday the 11th  the “Healing the Dead Sea” event will take place: .  All are welcome with their tents, sleeping bags, water, food and musical instruments to make this event as fun as it is meaningful.  “We will be using the bags of trash we have collected to make beautiful sculptures before we dump them. The more trash we collect, the more Art we can make!”  Giovanni will be joined by a team of creators to build an Italian stone and mud kitchen.  He will also be creating a structure topped by a huge Magen David lit by lights that will be visible to the flocks of people descending on the site of the event.

The team will be organizing creative workshops taking place after the event and throughout Succot. They will also be building a huge authentic Succah where everyone is welcome! I for one am proud to be a part of this important endeavor.  For more information see the FB event and please help us to spread the word!!!

About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey was the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem succeeding in bringing in more funds and volunteers than ever before. Tracey organizes monthly Rock Festivals and manages rock bands young and old. Tracey also writes for Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.
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