Archive for January, 2009

Tikkun Webinar 3 – the Jewish Response to Sex Traficking

January 28th, 2009

Following our successful first and second webinars titled “Tikkun Olam”, we had today the webinar on the Jewish response to sex trafficking. The “Tikkun Olam” series involves Israeli and Jewish experts and volunteers from all over the world, who focus on helping people outside the Israeli/Jewish community.

Rita Chaikin speaks at the Tikkun Webinar 3

Dr. Rita Cheikin speaks at the Tikkun Webinar 3

We had around 30 participants from all over the world (see the Israeli and American invitations), including Israel, UK, US and the Czech Republic. The first presentation was given from Haifa by Rita Chaikin, Anti-Trafficking Project Coordinator at the Haifa Feminist Center, Isha L’Isha. It was titled: “Rehabilitating Trafficked Women — Monitoring Field Work with Victims of Trafficking in Israel”. The presentation is available here.

Example of flyers at the Tikkun Webinar 3

Example of fliers at the Tikkun Webinar 3

The second presentation was given from London by Dr. Michael Korzinski, Co-Founder and Clinical Director at the Helen Bamber Foundation. Its title was “Rebuilding Lives and Inspiring a New Self-esteem in Survivors of Sex Trafficking”.

More information and audio recording of the webinar can be found at the New-York – Jerusalem Experts Exchange site.

Interpretation Success in Alyn!!!

January 28th, 2009

Just a month ago, we concluded the first medical interpretation training in Jerusalem, for around 10 staff members of the Alyn Hospital. Training graduates are currently being utilized for interpretation only sporadically, in their “spare time”, while the Alyn management prepares formal regulations for putting them into service.

But reality frequently cannot wait for regulations to be written. Following a training to municipality absorption neighborhood officers, where our model for Cultural Competence in health was presented, one of the officers approached the JICC for help. He told us about a family that immigrated to Israel from Belarus in December 2008 with a child that needs to be diagnosed and probably operated on. They were invited to Shaarei Tsedek and Alyn hospitals but the problem is that they speak only Russian. The absorption officer remembered that we work with Alyn and asked if we could assist with proper interpretation there. What seems nowadays obvious in most Western countries is still a challenge in Israel 2009 – medical interpretation is rarely available.

We could not help with Shaarei Tsedek as we do not work with them (yet…), and the family recruited a family friend to help there. However, in the Alyn hospital the check up process is six hours-long – six different professionals need to examine the child – and the family friend, who is a senior citizen, could not come for such a long time. We called Alyn and updated them about the situation.

One of the most important aspects in our model of Cultural Competence in Health is the designation of a management member of the health system to be responsible for the assimilation of the process into the hospital. This person is also the liaison between the system’s staff, the community, the patients, and us. The liaison in Alyn acted rapidly. Due to different constraints it was not taken for granted that the hospital could allocate one of the Russian-speaking graduates of the training for the whole day. But understanding that otherwise the six hours of examination will go to waste, the staff worked hard to find a solution.

Today, the family arrived to the hospital with the child and for the whole day, the Russian-speaking interpreter accompanied them from one health professional to the other. In the afternoon, we heard the feedback from all sides. The Alyn medical team thought that the interpretation was crucial and helpful. The family was most grateful and the absorption officer said that they were not only pleased with the interpretation, but also about the way the interpreter expressed her empathy and willingness to help. The whole process improved tremendously the potential for the surgery, together with the follow-up treatment instructions given to the family, will improve the medical condition of this child.

For us, this was a great example for how our systemic work with cultural competence in health can help people. We hope that soon allocating an interpreter to a patient with language proficiency needs will not be news. Just a regular procedure.

Ramot Open Space Initiative – follow up meeting

January 27th, 2009

Tal Kligman and Hagai Agmon-Snir from the JICC met Ami Segev, the Ramot Community Council Director, and Oren Bolondi, the Ramot Community Organizer, the people who approached the JICC several months ago for help in creating a community dialogue process in Ramot through Open Space.

The Ramot professionals updated on the progress of the 10 initiatives that stemmed from the two Open Space events. It seems that almost all of the initiatives enjoy a lot of positive energy of volunteers and professionals that wish to act together and bring about change in the neighborhood. There are groups dedicated to transportation, neighborhood clean-up, relations between different religious denominations, playgrounds, education etc.

Our main tip to Segev and Bolondi was to promote transparency. It was wonderful to see that so much came out of the Open Space and that there is a good follow up process. But the Ramot residents themselves must be the ones to realize that. Hence, the updates will be reported monthly in the Ramot newspaper and people will be encouraged to join the process. And of course, according to the original approach of the conveners, we might see periodical Open Space meetings in the neighborhood. This is all about deliberative democracy – decision making in Ramot can be based on deliberation and contribution by all stakeholders.

Meeting of the Jerusalem Employment Coalition

January 27th, 2009

For background on the Jerusalem Employment Coalition see our previous post.

Today we held a meeting at the East Jerusalem Family Center of the Municipality Welfare Department. Twenty five coalition members listened to officials of the municipality East Jerusalem Welfare Department who described the dire situation in East Jerusalem in terms of employment.

The obstacles for employment in East Jerusalem include a wide range of issues – from language and cultural barriers, to political obstacles and more – leaving little hope for fast improvement. There are only two municipality employees assigned to handle this situation, which affects the lives of 250,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. Leaders from East Jerusalem, as well as NGO representatives, all agreed that momentous action is needed in order to mend the situation. Another meeting will be held to achieve practical outcomes.

While this is a positive step, it is important to note that without a significant shift in the general attitude towards East Jerusalem it will be very difficult to tackle these problems effectively.

Second Training to Municipality Absorption Neighborhood Workers

January 21st, 2009

Today, we held the second training in the series that provides the Absorption Workers at the municipality with an introduction to the field of Cultural Competence.  The series covers topics such as organizational cultural competence, cross-cultural communication, tools for cultural competence, case studies and simulations.

The meeting was oriented towards Cross-Cultural Communication. Using a couple of personal and team exercises each of the participants extracted the core values and beliefs that guides her/him in interaction with others. The experience helped participants see that these core communication factors are based on our cultural background and origin, and that when interacting with clients and colleagues of other cultures the differences might create cultural clashes.

The interesting insight that stemmed from the day was the realization that while we all accept various values and beliefs as important and valuable, each of us prefers some to the others and may translate them into different behavior patterns. Hence, if we allow ourselves to see the positive values behind someone else’s behavior, we may shy away from negatively judging them. This is an important step towards better cross-cultural communication.

We will deepen our cross-cultural communication skills in the next meeting.

Lod – Pipe bomb incident in Lod claimed to be terror-related

January 9th, 2009

One of the headlines today, probably connected to the sad events in Gaza and South Israel, reads: Investigation of pipe bombs thrown at building inhabited by religious-nationalist Jews in central city of Lod leads police to believe attack was nationalistically motivated; search for suspects among Arab sector continues.

This morning we received a call from the Community Worker of Lod, Orit Ulizary, who is also the initiator and coordinator of the city multicultural forum, for which the JICC consults regularly. Orit gave an update about the pipe bombs that were thrown near the houses of national-religious members of the multicultural forum. It seems that their community experiences at the moment extreme tensions, including calls for “a proper response”. Based on the situation, meetings of Orit and ourselves with main leaders of the national-religious community, as well as with leaders of the Arab population in Lod, all members of the forum, will probably be held on Saturday evening (Motzaei Shabbat). No doubt that the situation is very sensitive at the moment, and we can only hope that the Lod Multicultural Forum will be able to be of help.

Tikkun Webinar 2 – the Jewish Response to Natural Disasters

January 6th, 2009

Since 2004, the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center has a strategic partner in New-York – Cause-NY (of the JCRC-NY), headed by Rabbi Bob Kaplan. Use this link to learn more about this partnership. The program is funded by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Agency For Israel.

One aspect of this fascinating exchange is our joint facilitation of a series of webinars on topics that are of interest for a specific community of activists globally. Previous series were on issues such as cultural competence in health, cultural competence at the workplace, community resilience and more. The new series we started this week deals with ”Tikkun Olam” and involves Israeli and Jewish experts and volunteers from all over the world, who focus on helping people outside the Israeli/Jewish community.

Dr. William Recant and the facilitators at the Webinar

Dr. William Recant and the facilitators at the Webinar

The second webinar was on “the Jewish Response to Natural Disasters” (see the Israeli and American invitations). 27 participants from the US, Israel and the United Kingdom joined the webinar. The presentations were given by DR. WILLIAM RECANT, Assistant Executive Vice-President, the Joint Distribution Committee, and by Dr. MIKE NAFTALI, founder and chairperson of Brit Olam. Both presentations gave good examples for Jewish and Israeli organizations working jointly to bring relief to various places around the world following natural calamities.

Dr. Mike Naftali and the facilitators at the Webinar

Dr. Mike Naftali and the facilitators at the Webinar

The next webinar in this series is scheduled for the end of January 2009.

Clalit HMO, East Jerusalem – adapting clinics to Arabic speaking patients – January 5, 2009

January 5th, 2009

In a previous blog we reported on the meeting of the Clalit steering committee on cultural competence in serving Arabic-speaking patients. Today we held a larger meeting where we discussed the mapping that the JICC performed at the Sheikh Jerakh clinic, as well as the draft work plan for the future.

At the end of the meeting subgroups were formed for implementing the various parts of the plan, including translation services, setting issues (e.g., Arabic signage and responding to relevant cultural needs at the clinics), staff trainings etc.