Archive for November, 2016

MiniActive Youth – Now They’re Coming To Us

November 26th, 2016

Not  so long ago, in order to hold a project of our MiniActive Youth for the Environment, we needed to look for a place to do it, get all the OK’s and proceed to work.

Now, they’re coming to us. After our successes in Silwan, Issawiya, and Wadi Joz, we recently got a call from a school in Umm Tuba, which wanted us to come and decorate the walls outside their school. They even offered to prepare the site for us. Here are some pictures of the preparatory work in action.

Distributing paint

Distributing paint

We’ll keep you posted as the MiniActive Youth for the Environment transform yet another part of East Jerusalem!

Making it a team effort

Making it a team effort

The following day the girls got to work.

Getting down to work in Umm Tuba

Getting down to work in Umm Tuba

Definitely looking much better.

Painting a variety of images

Painting a variety of images

Can’t wait to see pictures when it’s completely finished!

Improving the environment for everyone

Improving the environment for everyone

And here’s the first Facebook post (in Arabic) about the preparation:

And then the continuation of work by the youth:

Tolerant Katamon Tour – Part of International Tolerance Week

November 23rd, 2016

Jerusalem in general and Katamon in particular are seen by many as a place that has seen its share of bloodshed and intolerance throughout history.

Learning about a range of interesting corners in Katamon

Learning about a range of interesting corners in Katamon

But as part of the week surrounding International Tolerance Day on November 16, we at the JICC publicized a range of activities that sought to advance tolerance on the Jerusalem Tolerance Facebook page, part of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance supported by the UJA-Federation of New York.

One of these activities was a tour of Tolerant Katamon, led by renowned tour guide, Itamar Farhi.

Jerusalem from many different angles

Jerusalem from many different angles

In two hours, Itamar showed a different viewpoint of Jerusalem through the story of Katamon and its environs. He showed the secularism through its monasteries, coexistence through the stories of different houses, feminism through the names of its streets, vegetarianism / veganism through its restaurants, support for the gay community through its neighborhood flags. And who knows, maybe the word about a different Jerusalem will come forth, a more tolerant, more respecting, more Utopian Jerusalem.

As one participant noted:

The tour was very interesting and I learned so much! I’ve lived in the surrounding neighborhood for many years but I never knew about any of those charming places. Such an appropriate event for Tolerance Day.

Pictures from the tour:

קטמון הסובלנית

Saturday, 19 November 2016 2:50 pm

@ Jerusalem, Israel

Creator: Itamar Farhi

Celebrating International Tolerance Day in Zion (soon to be Tolerance) Square

November 22nd, 2016

“It might have been the timing of the discussion circles a few hours after the difficult words of one of the rabbis against the gay community [see here for more about that], or maybe we’re talking about pent-up anger since the terrible murder of Shira Banky [at the 2015 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, by a Haredi man], but my first impressions were, ‘wow, they really hate us.’

Us. These nice young people beside me see the Haredi community as an inciting herd that seeks to drown out their entire fabric of life. Even I wouldn’t want to live beside a group so grotesque.’

But then I remembered the apathy in which my friends dealt with the Parade and the municipal Sabbath-breakers, I really felt they cared about us, and that legitimacy from us has a real significance, much more from that of a discussion about rights and obligations.

And then we talked, we discussed the challenge of liberalism in complex situations such as those we’re in, and we argued about people and religions. We shared what challenges us, and we learned how to prove that love, between brothers who live so close together but think so far apart, can exist.

And maybe the learned person was right, he who told me this week that just the act of learning about the problems, and focusing one’s viewpoint on them openly and honestly – that is the main part of the solution.

This is how Shmuel Drilman, a Haredi activist who participated in the evening of discussion and learning that took place in Zion Square last Thursday night, commemorating International Tolerance Day (November 16). The event was organized by Speaking in the Square (which we’ve written about here and here and here), the Yerushalmim Movement, and the Beit Midrash Rechov. More than 200 people, from the entire spectrum of Jerusalem’s population, participated.

The entire religious spectrum discussing tolerance

The entire religious spectrum discussing tolerance

For Speaking in the Square, it was important to note International Tolerance Day with these other two initiatives. The evening included discussions about tolerance and its importance in our daily lives. But the most important part of the evening was that it took place in Zion Square. Everyone sat together – Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, and talked about their shared lives in Jerusalem, and about the importance of considering the needs and feelings of one another. But not only did the participants in the discussion circles learn about tolerance, everyone who passed through Zion Square saw a live example of the advantages of creating an open society that includes and respects its different groups.

Throughout Zion Square, soon to be renamed Tolerance Square

Throughout Zion Square, soon to be renamed Tolerance Square

Our assistance to Speaking in the Square and other groups during the week commemorating International Tolerance Day is being generously supported by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation.

Here’s the Facebook post (in Hebrew) written by Speaking in the Square:

Here is Shmuel Drilman’s Facebook post about the evening:

0202 – Failing on the Way to Success

November 18th, 2016

Look up “failure quotes” in Google and you’ll find the widest range of people talking about it – from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela to Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James and Michael Jordan. The gist of all of these inspirational quotes is that in order to succeed you need to fail, and that the most learning – and often success – takes place after that fail.

Such is the rationale behind the F***up Nights (FUN) initiative, a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to publicly share – and learn from – failure stories. On November 3, a FUN was organized in Jerusalem, under the auspices of the Jerusalem Municipality, PresenTense, Siftech, and others. Michal Shilor, our Coordinator for the Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance and the founder / initiator of the growing 0202 Facebook page / web site “empire” that we’ve been mentoring, was one of the speakers.

Michal, at the November FUN

Michal, at the November FUN

Today all three pages have close to 70,000 likes and reach well over 100,000 weekly, including prominent journalists and researchers and municipality and national agency officials, and has been known to affect municipal policy. However, in the beginning, it almost closed.

It was the fall of 2015. The first page, 0202-A View from East Jerusalem, which translates news posts from Arabic into Hebrew, had opened 6 months previously. The translators began to see on the Facebook pages and Internet sites much more violent and hateful speech, and very little else.  Then panic set in. ‘Is this what East Jerusalem is really like, always?’ the organizers thought. ‘What are we doing here? If this is what it’s always like, we can’t be part of the hate cycle.’ And they almost closed up shop.

And then they took a closer look at the string of events. Lots of incitement on Facebook and the Internet, and a short time later, a stabbing attack. The connection was clear. In fact, they were the ones with the information. 0202 was indeed showing them insights into Palestinian life in East Jerusalem, however disturbing that reality was.

That was when they realized that they could use the information they have access to help influence policy and society. Case in point – the “We Won’t Live in Filth” campaign by our MiniActive network. As a result of the continuing violence in East Jerusalem, garbage collection all but stopped in the fall of 2015. The MiniActive network, which has been working to improve the environment in East Jerusalem in a number of ways since its establishment in 2012, had been trying, without success, through its usual channels – calling the 106 municipal hotline, occasionally publishing on their Arabic-language Facebook page. Then they came up with their “We Won’t Live in Filth!” campaign, in which they posted pictures of overflowing garbage recptacles every day, in order to raise awareness. 0202 picked up these posts, which were seen and followed up by city council members, who were able to pass an addition of 3 million NIS to the annual Jerusalem sanitation budget for garbage collection in East Jerusalem.

Over 100 people came out to the Post Hostel for the first Jerusalem FUN. It was also covered by the Jerusalem Post:

Jerusalem Post article

Jerusalem Post article

Here’s the Facebook post in Hebrew and the photo album:

Here’s the post of the Jerusalem Post article:

Adapting the Best Type of Cultural Competency at the National Insurance Institute, East Jerusalem Branch

November 15th, 2016

We described here our process of making the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute (NII) culturally competent. We began with training sessions in the beginning of the year; now, we’re deepening that learning.

Over the summer we met with the “Excellence Team” of the branch, a dedicated group of 8 professionals who volunteered to improve the level of service given at the branch. They are also in charge of the assimilation of cultural competence principles. During the meetings the group began to develop a training workshop for all workers.

Exercises in Cultural Competence

Exercises in Cultural Competence

As part of this development, the Excellence Team is also going out into the field. Last week they visited four organizations that have already undergone processes of cultural competency adaptation: ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital, Hadassah College, the Municipal Welfare Office in the Bucharim neighborhood, and the David Precint (which includes Mt. Zion and the Old City) of the Police Department. The Team interviewed representatives in order to better understand the processes each one went through, and to see what can be applied to the NII East Jerusalem branch.

At the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital, for example, the team were surprised and impressed by the (culturally competent) services, and felt that the hospital wasn’t known well enough in East Jerusalem. It seems that they’ve now become ALYN ambassadors in East Jerusalem.

Seminars in and outdoors

Seminars in and outdoors

In the future the Team will also be involved in the planning principles of the new branch, which can also have a significant impact on its cultural competency. Items on the list include: physical accessibility, signage, a nursing room, a prayer room, thinking about if it’s necessary to have separation between men and women, strengthening language among workers, and more.

Continuing to be Good Neighbors in Abu-Tor/A-Thuri

November 7th, 2016

We’ve described here and here our work with the Good Neighbors project of Jewish and Arab residents of the neighboring communities of Abu Tor and A-Thuri. We’ve been involved with helping them to develop and grow, as part of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance project, supported by the UJA-Federation of New York.

Israeli and Palestinian women meeting in Abu Tor/A-Thori

Israeli and Palestinian women meeting in Abu Tor/A-Thori

After a summer break, they’re continuing to do wonderful things!

On October 30 they launched the Neighborhood Women’s Forum, a steering committee that seeks to plan a schedule of joint activities throughout the year.

We can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with!

You Can Make Almost Anything from Recycled Paper

November 6th, 2016

You can make almost anything out of recycled paper, even a replica of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Replicating the mosque from recycled paper

Replicating the mosque from recycled paper

This piece, and many others like it, are being fashioned from recycled paper, courtesy of the MiniActive Youth – Youth for the Environment Project.

We could use some more trees around here, even if they're paper

We could use some more trees around here, even if they’re paper

The youth first rip up old newspapers, turn them into a paste, model them into their desired shape, and paint.

Digging into the paste

Digging into the paste

This is one of many projects that MiniActive Youth is doing to improve immediate surroundings in East Jerusalem.

Preparing both inside and out

Preparing both inside and out

You can read about earlier projects here, here and here, and in the general MiniActive blog category. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic:

 

JICC at the 9th Annual Community Mediators Conference

November 5th, 2016

For the past 9 years, the JICC has been, together with Mosaica Center for Conflict Resolution and the Community Work Service at the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs and Services, a key partner in organizing the annual conference of the Israeli Community Dialogue and Mediation Centers. This year, the conference took place on October 27 at Tel-Aviv University. It included 540 participants, 9 workshops and 7 discussion areas.

Conference opening

Conference opening

This year, we, too, presented in the workshops. Michal Shilor, our Coordinator of the Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance, spoke about activism for tolerance in the public sphere. She also spoke about the unique processes that are taking place in Jerusalem, such as the Municipality’s adoption of Zion Square as Tolerance Square, the success of A Different Day in Jerusalem (celebrating Jerusalem’s diversity) and more. She asked participants to think of potential ideas that can be implemented in their own hometowns. They ranged from Facebook pages and Internet sites to TED talks and escape rooms. We’ll definitely be following to see how they turn out!

Michal - activism for tolerance in the public sphere

Michal – activism for tolerance in the public sphere

Aliza Shabo-Hayut, our Director of Community Dialogue, spoke, together with the Community Social Worker of the Gilo neighborhood, on how to use Facebook as a community-building tool. They described how, when done thoughtfully, complete and meaningful discussions can be held, and community decisions can even be made, through Facebook. They also presented a number of ethical issues encountered when using Facebook as a community-building tool – such as, when is it appropriate for a community professional to step into a discussion among residents? or, if much of the discussion takes place on the weekends, when the community professional isn’t working, is it her responsibility to be on line and, essentially, on the job?

Here’s the Facebook post (in Hebrew) about the conference:

MiniActive First Aid Courses for Young Palestinian Mothers

November 2nd, 2016

If a medical emergency occurred when you’re at home with the kids, would you know what to do?

Learning first aid basics

Learning first aid basics

MiniActive is taking the first steps, teaching initial first aid and lifesaving techniques to Palestinian women from East Jerusalem, many of them young mothers. Because many young mothers marry early, sometimes before finishing high school, they do not have basic first aid or CPR skills, which can often be lifesaving. For this reason, MiniActive held a basic first aid and CPR course in April 2016 (click here for the post), and just opened another course now.

The first meeting was on October 30, with 15 participants. Stay tuned for more updates!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continuing support of this program.

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic: