Archive for September, 2016

The People are the Story – Katamon-Moshavot Tolerance Group Meets in the Public Sphere

September 30th, 2016

The people are story…..

That’s the main principle behind our work to promote tolerance throughout Jerusalem. Beyond preventing acts of verbal and physical violence against the ‘other,’ in our view tolerance can be displayed not only towards those very different from you (Arabs, Haredim, etc.), but those closest to you in physical proximity – your neighbors. And the first step is to get to know those neighbors as people, not only the way we tag them.

Last year our Katamon-Moshavot Tolerance Group, Neighborhood Stories, met a number of times to share neighbors’ stories. This past Saturday (24th of September), they kicked off the activity year with a charming meeting outdoors, on the Jerusalem Railway Park.

The People are the Story at the Reading Corner

The People are the Story at the Reading Corner

Tamar, one of the organizers of the meeting, described how it went:

“Wow! What a meeting of Neighborhood Stories we had on Shabbat afternoon at the Moshava Reading Corner! Geto told about his aliyah to Israel with his mother from southern Ethiopia and shared the pain of this adolescence, Rami from Beit Safafa shared how he found himself both as a professional soccer player in the Palestinian league and a firefighter in the Israeli system, on his way to becoming a social worker. Eliezer Ben Yehuda (the grandson) told about his childhood in Katamon in a 4-room apartment with a Christian family and a Muslim family in a common kitchen….and more and more. And to think that this was a spontaneous meeting on the grass, neighbors passing by and sharing their stories and many more stopping and listening. Many thanks to you all!”

Here’s the Facebook post in Hebrew:

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of this project.

Nutrition and Exercise – Integral Parts of Healthy Living Course through MiniActive

September 26th, 2016

Nutrition and exercise run hand in hand in healthy living. This is what some 50 Palestinian women are learning in a 4-month course in nutrition and healthy living, developed by MiniActive. In addition to lectures on nutrition, and important part of the course is showing the importance of physical activity.

Getting ready to improve health

Getting ready to improve health

As part of this element, some of the participants took part in an exercise session on the soccer pitch at the Abna al-Quds Community Center last week.

Ready, set, go!

Ready, set, go!

Way to go!

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic.

Bon anniversaire, Santé Israël! Happy Birthday Santé Israël!

September 20th, 2016

Bon anniversaire, Santé Israël!

Happy first birthday, Santé Israël!

Just one year ago on September 1, 2015, Sante Israel, www.sante.org.il, which we developed in partnership with the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation, and the first web site that makes Israel’s health care system accessible to French speakers, went live. The site is a treasure trove of information about all aspects of the Israeli health care system, and enables French speakers to more easily navigate the system.

The Sante Israel web site

The Sante Israel web site

Over the year some 10,000 people visited the site, most from Israel but also 2,000 from France. The most popular page on the site was and continues to be the database of French-speaking professionals and clinics in different fields in Israel. Other popular pages include contact numbers, the page that directs you to the nearest clinic or hospital via the Waze mobile app, the page that tells you what your favorite medication is called in Israel, and more. And if you had any questions that weren’t on the site, you can ask the Director of Santé Israël, Marie Avigad, and she answered every query very quickly.

This past year Santé Israël did not stay behind the screen, and went out into the community to continue to make Israel’s health care system more accessible to French speakers.

Discussing health under the stars

Discussing health under the stars in Baka’a

They held a number of community meetings throughout Jerusalem, in areas such as Bayit Vegan, Baka’a and Har Homa, which have sizable Francophone communities.

Sante in Har Homa

Sante in Har Homa

They developed a Facebook page, which provides updates on a variety of health-related issues, as well as news of the Santé Israël community. They spread the word about new Israeli inventions relating to health care:

New developments by the different HMO’s

As well as health warnings and updates from the Ministry of Health (such as recent salmonella warnings and other potential health hazards).

They participated in the Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City Conference that was held in cooperation with the Jerusalem Foundation on May 17, 2016.

Sante Israel together with other health care organizations at the Cultural Competency conference

Sante Israel together with other health care organizations at the Cultural Competency conference

And they participated in the  “Olimpiada” Aliyah information fair for French-speaking new immigrants, which was held at Sacher Park in the middle of town and was organized by Qualita .

"The first site to respond in French to your questions about the Israeli health care system

“The first site to respond in French to your questions about the Israeli health care system”

In addition, Santé Israël just began a partnership with AMI Israel, which helps French-speaking Olim in Israel. And Santé Israël has its own page on the AMI Israel web site. Here’s the Facebook post from Santé Israël:

So Mazal Tov to Santé Israël! May you have many more happy birthdays.

From Zion Square to Tolerance Square – And the Winner Is…..

September 18th, 2016

The journey has been a long one. From the summer of 2014, with its mass, violent demonstrations and individual demonstrations of violence, in Zion Square, like we described in this blog post.

Zion Square dialogue September 2014

Zion Square dialogue September 2014

To the summer of 2016, with its mass demonstrations of support and dialogue, like we described in this blog post.

Speaking in the Square July 21

Speaking in the Square July 21

In March, we reported here that, as a result of these processes, of which we, and our partners in action including Speaking in the Square have been a part, the Jerusalem Municipality decided to refurbish and re-design Zion Square. And the criteria in the competition included design elements intended to increase dialogue and encourage tolerance.

Last week, the winners of the competition were announced! Here’s the way it’s supposed to look when it’s finished. The photo is from Ha’aretz.

The New Zion Square: An Urban Forest that Invites People In

The New Zion Square: “An Urban Forest that Invites People In”

You can read about the winners and the runners up in the Hebrew article in the Ha’aretz daily here.

Speaking in the Square, which we have been mentoring since its establishment in 2014 and which has had a major role in transforming the nature of Zion Square, responded with this post:

“This week we received the very good news about the new design for Zion Square. The understanding that Zion Square is part of the beating heart of Jerusalem and what happens there reflects and in many ways influences what goes on in the city (especially with regards to its youth), makes us very happy. Zion Square can be a center for hate, and in the last two years it has proven that it can also be a center for tolerance. In preparing for the design competition, the organizers asked us for our input – tolerance organizations and initiatives in the Square put together a position paper on the role of the Square and the desired use of public space. We are happy to see that the winning architectural plan indeed reflects the spirit of this paper. We believe that Zion Square, the city square, needs to be a place for sitting and for discussion, and not for violence. A place for human interaction and not for hostility, and the new design will indeed enable this. We wish the architects and the Jerusalem Municipality much success, and hope to see this project come to fruition as soon as possible.”

The original post in Hebrew:

Below is a second article from Ynet. May the new square continue to encourage tolerance and dialogue like its design.

Ynet article page 1

Ynet article page 1

Ynet article page 2

Ynet article page 2

MiniActive – New Course on Nutrition Opens at the Abna al-Quds Community Center

September 12th, 2016

We’ve reported many of the MiniActive successes on our blog here. The blog also includes descriptions of a wide variety of classes that participants can take part in, as a way to improve their everyday lives as well as build community. Last week, on September 5, we began a new course on proper nutrition at the Abna al-Quds Community Center in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Going over the nutrition pyramid

Going over the nutrition pyramid

The course was developed out of a need in the field, due to a rise in diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses associated with lifestyle. The opening session reviewed the nutritional pyramid, the influence of food and physical activity on people’s health, the need to include as few toxins in our food as possible. Fifty-four participants gathered for the opening session.

An impressive first day

An impressive first day

Certified nutritionist Susan Tony will accompany the course for 4 months. We wish the participants well – and good health!

Here’s the Facebook post (in Arabic):