Episode 77: About compassion, my Jewish identity, and the Middle East, with Elissa

podcast Jun 04, 2021

Wwwaggghhhhhhh!! That is the (high-pitched) sound I am making upon releasing this very, very vulnerable episode...

As a Jewish American, the past few weeks of strife in the Middle East have brought to the surface feelings of confusion that I have never taken the time to sort through. In the wake of all of it, I find myself doing research about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that I was never willing to do before, and making stumbles along the way.

I share my story today in the spirit of modeling what it’s like to speak our truth through the messiness and confusion, and how to have compassion for it all. Please tune in to this episode, and next week’s as well, to hear how my understanding, emotions, and opinions are evolving. 

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify.

Want to learn the Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice raising your voice and speaking your truth? Take the free mini-course HERE.


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - A preamble to this week’s episode. Elissa shares how vulnerable today’s topic is, and how difficult it was to release this episode. This is her process. May we all experience more compassion for the extremely human phenomenon of having a developing opinion.
  • 4:30 - The official start of the episode. This month is about Compassion.
  • 5:18 - Elissa talks about what is on her heart. Both celebrations, and causes of grief. Big endings and new beginnings. This is a milestone episode: it’s Elissa’s birthday, the two-year anniversary of the podcast (we have 20k+ downloads!), eclipse season, and the original Voice Body Connection courses have just been retired.
  • 11:35 - Where does compassion start? Elissa dives into self-compassion, and leads an exercise where you simply cross your hands over your heart and say to yourself: “Of course.”
  • 13:45 - Revisiting the idea of “Conversation Culture,” Elissa outlines the steps: 1) Pause and check in with your body, 2) Get curious and listen, 3) Picture yourself on the same team, and 4) When all else fails, be kind. 
  • 20:35 - Our Voice Body Connection process check-in. Elissa feels a twinge of pain in her left foot and ankle. (Achilles heel!)
  • 24:25 - Elissa shares her identity as a Jewish American, the immigration history of her family, and her upbringing in a synagogue.
  • 30:55 - What has been confusing, Elissa shares, is how she has felt connected with (or disconnected from) Israel.
  • 35:23 - Recently Elissa re-shared an Instagram post from YK Hong, and it immediately sparked strong reactions from friends.
  • 38:16 - It’s how we proceed in the messy moments that determines what the world around us looks like. This is how we actually stay in Conversation Culture. Elissa shares about one of the texts she got after her post that upset her, and how she handled it.
  • 42:07 - Why Elissa grapples with calling Israel her homeland.
  • 44:08 - Is ethnic cleansing the right terminology?
  • 49:00 - Hurting and helping, intention and action. What is relevant?
  • 52:23 - A final prayer.



 This is Elissa’s original article about Conversation Culture, explaining the four-step process, and it was also originally covered in this podcast episode.

In last week’s episode with Eric Toda, we talked about our media echo chambers.

This is the episode of the podcast with Elissa’s father, Steven, that shares the story of her grandparents Madeline and Fred.

This article mentions Elissa’s great great grandfather Simon Maas, and also quotes her grandfather Leo.

This is the Instagram post from YK Hong that Elissa reposted.


Have you taken the free Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth mini-course yet? Learn the full Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice it for yourself. Sign up at https://www.voicebodyconnection.com/minicourse.

And for more support, join the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, visit www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.

As a member of the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, you get access to:

  • Live voice and movement warm-ups led by Elissa (twenty minutes each 4x/week),
  • A monthly live online group coaching session to practice using the Voice Body Connection process,
  • A monthly Community Sing-along,
  • A monthly live recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • And exclusive behind-the-scenes videos with every guest.

Learn more and sign up at www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Photographer and Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

Our Videographer is Miguel Garzón Martínez

And our theme song is “Waters of Body” by Strange Weather


Please note that Amazon links in the show notes are connected to the Voice Body Connection Associates account. All other partner links are acknowledged. Thank you for supporting the podcast! 


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