The Jerusalem Intercultural Center Blog

Continuing Cultural Competency Training at the Municipal Welfare Department

March 3rd, 2017

As difficult as it is, one of our overarching goals is to make Jerusalem a culturally competent city. This also includes, of course, entire Jerusalem Municipality culturally competent. You can read here about our initial training for workers in the welfare department. We’ve just finished a Training the Trainers course for 10 Welfare Department workers, who join the 15  graduates of the first cohort, which took place in November – December of 2016. This 4-session course enabled participants to conduct cultural competency workshops for the entire Welfare Department.

Community Service Department

Community Service Department

Participants learned how to lead cultural competency training, including, of course, the main principles of cultural competency. We covered a number of cultural and ethnicity-based issues that welfare department professionals encounter on a regular basis. Through discussions and special videos that we developed for the course, we introduced a number of case studies. Participants then learned from these case studies and evaluated them so they could use them in their work.

They will also be in charge of assimilating these principles throughout the year.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continuing support of the cultural competency project in Jerusalem.
And here’s the post in Hebrew of the first meeting:

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Atta’a – Savings for Every Child – Including Those from East Jerusalem

March 1st, 2017

In January 2017 the National Insurance Institute began its Savings for Every Child program, intended to help close socio-economic gaps and benefit children throughout the country, regardless of cultural or ethnic group. Here is the formal information about it.

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are eligible for this program, like all other NII benefits, but few had chosen their means of signing up. (Only 10% had signed up, as opposed to 40-50% in other parts of the country, including Arab cities and villages.)

Until Atta’a came into the picture.

Atta’a has been doing a great number of activities specifically on the Savings for Every Child program, significantly increasing participation in East Jerusalem. These include:

A step-by-step guide on the Atta’a web site, explaining in plain Arabic, step-by-step, how to sign up for the program. (It is only possible to sign up on the Hebrew-language NII web site.) Periodic Facebook posts encourage residents to use the step-by-step guide and sign up. Here’s an example, from a Facebook post (click here for the link to the Atta’a web site):

A conference in the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute, which took place on February 1. Atta’a brought the participants (60 – 70 in all), the NII brought the experts, who explained about the program and how to sign up, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the different options.

Daud, Atta'as Director, explaining about Atta'a and Savings for Every Child program

Daud, Atta’as Director, explaining about Atta’a and Savings for Every Child program

Atta’a has held additional community meetings to explain about the program, as well. For example, on February 13, there was a workshop for 30 mothers from the Old City at the Abna al-Quds Community Center.

In the community

In the community

We know that as a result of our activities to raise awareness, the instruction page has enjoyed thousands of hits. We’re sure that this extra income will make a significant difference for many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. It is exactly for this reason that Atta’a was created, and we’re proud to be able to provide this and other services to empower local residents to access rights and services by themselves.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of Atta’a.

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Speaking in the Square, Speaking Differently

February 28th, 2017

One of the best parts of our activities to promote tolerance in Jerusalem is seeing more and more collaborations to reach a common goal…

What a better way to round out a week of learning new communications skills to resolve conflict, than to practice them in Zion Square?

Speaking in the Square, Yerushalmim, 9Adar

Speaking in the Square, Yerushalmim, 9Adar

This past Thursday, February 23, Speaking in the Square teamed with the Yerushalmim Movement and the the Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict, which is operated by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies together with Mosaica: The Center for Conflict Resolution by Agreement.

The event included discussion circles, which were moderated by a group of Haredim who lead cultural activities. The circle included some 60 secular, Haredi and everyone in between, discussing the hot topics of the day, such as Shabbat in Jerusalem, and more.

Debating in the Square

Debating in the Square

Open debates,

One of several topics

One of several topics

Spoken word, and Jerusalem’s fantastic diverse residents, who were happy to participate. All together, hundreds of people participated in the evening.

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support in helping us advance tolerance in Jerusalem!

Here’s Speaking in the Square’s Facebook post (in Hebrew), describing the event:

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MiniActive Youth – Getting to Know My City

February 26th, 2017

MiniActive – and MiniActive Youth – never cease to amaze us. You can read here and here and here about their most recent accomplishments.

Group picture on the walls

Group picture on the walls

Now, it’s time for us to show them how much we appreciate them.

Beautiful day for a beautiful walk

Beautiful day for a beautiful walk

Last week, on Sunday, February 19, they had a tour of the Old City by walking the walls.

What interesting things you can see from up here!

What interesting things you can see from up here!

Great views!

Like a picture postcard

Like a picture postcard

And lots of fun!

Resting on the grass

Resting on the grass

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of MiniActive.

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic:

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Experts in the Field, Writing the Manual – Cultural Competence in Community Work

February 24th, 2017

We’re proud to announce the publication of a new manual, Cultural Competence in Community Work, that was recently published under the auspices of the Israel Ministry of Welfare. Our director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir and Dr. Orna Shemer co-authored the manual, which is available in Hebrew. You can download a copy here.

Cultural Competence in Community Work manual

Cultural Competence in Community Work manual

It seems to be the first extensive manual of cultural competence in community organizing / building / development, including some novel community approaches that are specifically useful for diverse communities. The 150-page manual covers a wide range of the many aspects associated with cultural competency and community work. It discusses the principles from 5 different angles – focusing on the personal – individual worker, on the professional, on the organization, on the community, on the public sphere. And it offers suggested methods in how to work with people from different cultures. Just like the Manual for Integrating Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations that was published in 2015 (the Hebrew version is here), and the video units, we expect this to be the source of information for cultural competency in community work.

We would like to thank the Israel Ministry of Welfare and Bruce (Baruch) Sugarman, the Director of the Community Work Service at the Ministry, for publishing this manual and hope that it will be helpful to workers and activists in many communities.

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Raising Awareness – and Internet Site Clicks – with Santé Israël in Tel Aviv

February 19th, 2017

It was a pleasant surprise – 106 entrances to the Santé Israël French-language web site on Sunday, February 12, 2017. But why?

And then it became obvious….

Presenting Sante Israel in Tel Aviv

Presenting Santé Israël in Tel Aviv

Santé Israël’s director, Marie Avigad, had held a meeting with about 30 French-speaking new immigrants, organized by the immigrant absorption officials at the Tel Aviv municipality. They asked questions about the different HMO’s, supplementary HMO coverage, and private insurance. They also asked what to do and to whom to turn during an emergency, how to reach a specialist, which forms different HMO’s need, how to understand what’s going on in a hospital, and more.

Discussing a range of health care issues

Discussing a range of health care issues

As the numbers show, the presentation hit a nerve. Thank you Santé Israël for your hard work, and the vast amount of information you make available to French-speakers in Israel. Many thanks to the to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

Mny thanks to Celine and Nicole for organizing the meeting!

Many thanks to Céline and Nicole for organizing the meeting!

Here’s the Facebook post about the meeting:

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Atta’a – Empowering Residents through Increasing Awareness

February 18th, 2017

Over the last few months we’ve mentioned here and here about the steady increase in the number of ‘likes’ to the Atta’a Facebook page (today it’s nearly 8,500, but it changes frequently) and in the traffic on the Atta’a web site. The site has a wealth of information about health care and other service providers – from opening hours for the various offices to lists of hospitals and clinics with telephone numbers. There is information about the Ministry of the Interior, the National Insurance Institute, and much more.

In January the site, for the first time, published guidelines in plain and concise Arabic on who is eligible for discounts on property taxes and how to go about receiving those discounts. (Since health care, welfare, education and other services are provided based on a resident’s proof of residence in Jerusalem, nearly all East Jerusalem residents seek to pay annual municipal property taxes.)

Saving money, accessing rights

Saving money, accessing rights

Atta’a also posted notifications on Facebook, with links to the web site.

The result was revolutionary – thousands of people (out of a total adult population of 150,000) clicked through to the information on the Atta’a website in two days! We are very proud of this number, and believe that it enabled a large number of people to work correctly to receive discounts on property tax.

Atta’a posted a reminder a few weeks later:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of Atta’a.

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Read All About Our Work on the Tolerance Train!

February 18th, 2017

We told you here about the unique and exciting tolerance train event that took place on January 19. Well, we were also covered in the press! Here’s the clip to the article, which was published in the local newspaper, Yediot Yerushalayim on Friday, February 10.

Tolerance Train Article

Tolerance Train Article

The article read:

Students of the ‘Ruach Nachon’ pre-army program…recently started the ‘Tolerance Station:’ a special [train] station that will host youth movements and school groups and give them a workshop in tolerance. The first Tolerance Station opened in cooperation with the Dror (religious) and Hachmey Lev (Haredi yeshiva high school) secondary schools, and with representatives from Ma’ale Adumim’s Youth Council. During the event musical instruments were distributed, as well flyers that read, ‘Let’s open the heart of Jerusalem.’ Additional materials in both Hebrew and Arabic were distributed, and passages from Psalms (in Hebrew) and the Koran (in Arabic) were hung up around the Station.

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation, who support our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem.

Here’s the post from Facebook:

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Groundbreaking Cultural Competency Work with the National Insurance Institute East Jerusalem Branch

February 15th, 2017

We’ve been describing here and here the long and complicated process of how we’ve been helping the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute (NII) become more culturally competent. We’ve also described here and here the efforts of Atta’a to work with different government and municipal bodies to improve access to rights. Last week, the joint efforts of our Cultural Competency desk and the Atta’a program led to groundbreaking meeting between Palestinian Arab residents of East Jerusalem and the National Insurance Institute.

Meeting with the National Insurance Institute

Meeting with the National Insurance Institute

The meeting took place on February 8, 2017, as part of the NII’s process of becoming more culturally competent. The goal was to hear about real experiences of the residents who need to receive services from that branch. Residents described language obstacles, complicated bureaucracy, long waits in several lines, and more. Importantly, resident-participants who were brought in were educated – including a lawyer, a doctor and other medical personnel, a social worker and mothers to children with special needs. This means that, unlike many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, these residents are more familiar with Hebrew and more familiar with the rights they are supposed to be receiving, but still, obtaining those rights in East Jerusalem is very, very difficult. Through Atta’a, we – and they – are trying to change that.

Voicing concerns for change

Voicing concerns for change

NII representatives listened. When possible they tried to offer specific solutions. The main purpose of the meeting was that they would take these issues back to the entire branch and discuss ways in offering solutions adapted to the specific needs of East Jerusalem residents. Both residents and workers felt that such meetings should become regular encounters.

Can’t wait to see how this develops!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of both cultural competency processes in Jerusalem and of Atta’a.

 

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Strengthening the Network of Cultural Competence Coordinators

February 10th, 2017

Part of the importance of our work in cultural competency – especially in cultural competency in health care – is sustainability. Helping the coordinators sustain and develop culturally competent practices in their own institutions. We hold period in-service days for coordinators 2-3 times a year. Our latest meeting for Jerusalem-based coordinators was on January 31.

Cultural competency coordinators meeting

Cultural competency coordinators meeting

The meeting included participants from all 4 of Israel’s HMO’s and four hospitals. They discussed a range of issues that they deal with on an ongoing basis in their respective institutions. One of the major issues discussed was communicating in what is known as ‘plain language,’ or ‘writing designed to ensure the reader understands as quickly, easily, and completely as possible.’ It is especially useful within the context of cultural competency, as a way to enable populations who are not fluent in Hebrew to understand necessary information. Dr. Michal Schuster introduced a number of examples of different forms and medical letters, and participants practiced simplifying language, to bring back to their home institutions.

Talking about different issues

Plain Language exercises

The staff from the Hadassah Hospitals (both Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem) also presented the “In Your Language” program that offers volunteer medical interpretation. They discussed the benefits and challenges of the program, including recruiting and keeping volunteer interpreters. They also presented 3 volunteers, who discussed the challenges they face, and how they deal with those challenges.   

The interpreters described a number of their experiences. One was a situation in which parents came along with their son, who suffered from diabetes. The doctor asked a lot of questions, including many nuanced questions about his everyday life, which were important for him to adjust the son’s medication and return him to everyday routine. Another example was that of a woman who suffered from repeated miscarriages. With the help of the interpreter, she received very specific instructions on different tests she was to take in order to try and prevent miscarriages in this pregnancy. There were many  more examples.

One of the challenges the interpreters face is that they are unable to be present at every situation that could be helped by medical interpretation. Another is that many of the doctors prefer in-person interpretation to telephone interpretation. A third is the emotional toll interpretation can take on the volunteers, who are often exposed to difficult situations and difficult illnesses. Thus, the support that Hadassah provides for its interpreters is of utmost importance.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of this program.

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