Blog Category: ‘Cultural Competence’

ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital – Still a Model for Fully Integrated Cultural Competency

April 3rd, 2017

Ten years ago we began working with the ALYN Hospital, helping to turn their facility into the first fully culturally competent health care institution in the country. Today, cultural competency is a relatively common concept not only in the health care field, but also in welfare, academia, community work, and even the Israel Police.

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

The Israel Religious Action Center was so impressed of the success of ALYN, that it recently made this video, briefly explaining the process that the hospital went through. Indeed, when organizations ask us of a good example in the field of cultural competence, we often send them to Dr. Maurit Beeri, ALYN hospital director, to get her insights on the process and the excellent outcomes they have.

We’re proud to be part of this process. Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, our long-time partner in cultural competency.

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The Little Prince – Dutifully Making Sure Jerusalem is Clean

March 13th, 2017

“It’s an issue of discipline,” the little prince explained afterward. “After we finish the morning washing up, we must dutifully make sure that the planet is clean.”

This passage comes from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Svetlana Fedotenko, founder of the Gonenim Music Center and a former participant in our leadership training seminar, who died last year, had been inspired by this passage, and dreamt for a long time to create a project that will put residents in charge of keeping our streets clean. (Click here for more about Svetlana).

We, too, were inspired by Svetlana’s dream, and last week we took some steps to make that dream come true.

Meeting for the Little Prince

Meeting for the Little Prince

We have seen how, of all subjects, garbage can be a unifying factor. We saw it when our MiniActive project banded together to fight for improved sanitation in East Jerusalem. We’ve seen it in the French Hill  – Issawiya area, where Israeli and Palestinian residents banded together to successfully fight the placement of a landfill in their backyards. We saw in city hall, how the one issue that brought secular and Haredi city council members together was the subject of garbage collection. (Below is more information about the French Hill – Issawiya situation)

We had the first organizing meeting last week. More than 25 active residents and community leaders – astoundingly, 1/3 Arab, 1/3 Haredi and 1/3 secular/religious (Don’t remember a time when that EVER happened on its own!) – met at the JICC. We heard about the current awful situation – in collection, in enforcement, in recycling, in teaching toward cleanliness and in teaching toward reduction of waste. We heard about fantastic initiatives that are already taking place, and concluded that such initiatives, together with mutual learning and assistance, can really change the city.

Another picture

Another picture

The group is already beginning to act, and we believe that in another month we’ll be able to invite anyone for whom this subject is close to his heart – residents, professional, community center, educational framework, environmental groups, NGO’s – to join this initiatives. In honor of Svetlana, we’re calling the program The Little Prince.

We’ll be waiting for you, after the morning washing up…

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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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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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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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2016 – What a Year!

January 25th, 2017

As we jump head-first into 2017, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2016, and what a year it’s been! Overall, a year of unprecedented growth and development, and we can’t wait to get started in 2017. Here are some highlights:

Cultural Competence

  • The Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference in May 2016, organized jointly by the JICC and the Jerusalem Foundation as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, was a turning point for the JICC. Attended by hundreds of professionals, from Jerusalem and throughout Israel, the conference presented strides that have been made over the past 10 years, and set the stage for the next step of meeting diverse residents’ diverse needs, in all areas of life.
  • Continued work in the health care system, in Jerusalem and as a model throughout Israel, training in-house coordinators and facilitators to increase sustainability and adaptability within individual institutions. For the first time, work included a national network of hospitals and clinics.
  • Expansive work in the Israel Police Force, reaching most police stations and present and future commanding officials, and continuing to expand training in 2017.
  • Groundbreaking work with the National Insurance Institute (NII), East Jerusalem branch, the first NII branch in the country to undergo a process of cultural competence.
  • In the Jerusalem Municipality, the entire Community Services Administration, which includes welfare, public health, immigrant absorption, and more, is undergoing training, as well as the Auditor’s Office which will be able to look at the entire Municipality’s operations through the prism of cultural competency and sensitivity.
  • Santé Israël, the first web site to make Israel’s health care system accessible to French speakers, celebrated its first birthday. 
Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker

Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker, Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference

Paramedical Professionals

Making healthcare practitioner exams accessible to Arab residents of east Jerusalem

2016 was an important year for us to take stock of the past four years of this program. Our conclusions show that:

  • The number of certified Arab paramedical professionals in East Jerusalem has grown significantly.
  • The program has enabled the JICC to more clearly map the situation of different paramedical professions in east Jerusalem, contributing to the knowledge of training in the Jerusalem area.
  • The awareness both among Palestinian institutes of higher education and health care institutions in east Jerusalem as well as Israeli Ministry of Health has been raised significantly.
  • A large window of opportunity for Arab women paramedical professionals to improve economic opportunities has been opened.

Nurses studying to pass their Israeli certification examinations

Talking Coexistence – Arabic Language Instruction

Both 2015 – 2016 and 2016 – 2017 broke enrollment records. In 2015-16 there were 180 students in 12 classes, over 5 levels. In 2016-2017, there are 240 students in 16 classes, also over 5 levels. We also held several cultural evenings to enrich students’ understanding of Arabic culture. Here’s a short video about the program:

Atta’a Assistance Center for the Rights of East Jerusalem Residents

The Atta’a Center has been in existence since 2004, and in 2015 it came under the aegis of the JICC. In 2016 we have seen:

  • 70% growth in number of requests
  • Ballooning of its Facebook page to over 7,100 ‘likes,’ and launching of its web site.
  • Publication of a widely-referenced booklet on the Ministry of Interior
  • Expansion of network of partners in action, both from NGO’s and advocacy groups as well as municipal and government agencies.

Atta’a Presenting workshops

MiniActive for Arab Residents of East Jerusalem

  • For the first time ever, MiniActive activities led to a change in policy. After months of campaigning, MiniActive led the way toward the addition of 3 million NIS to the annual municipal sanitation budget for east Jerusalem, and 16 million NIS for the purchase of additional equipment for sanitation. As a result of this work, the entire Municipality is focusing their attention on garbage collection throughout
  • In January 2016, MiniActive organized the first ever Arabic language Horticulture Therapy course in Jerusalem for special education teachers, in cooperation with the David Yellin Academic College of Education.
  • Bus stops in entire neighborhoods were repaired and replaced, thanks to MiniActive.
  • 210 women – including 50 youth – are studying Hebrew through a volunteer NGO to improve the effectivity of their activism. This is a record-breaking number, which broke last year’s record of 150 women.
  • In MiniActive Youth for the Environment, teenage girls learn leadership skills while participating in major environment-improving public art and other projects in neighborhoods throughout east Jerusalem.
  • MiniActive became a model for international work, hosting a delegation that works with the Roma population in the Czech Republic in November 2016.

Take a look at MiniActive’s own year in review. It’s pretty easy to understand, even if you don’t know Arabic:

Emergency Readiness Networks

In 2016 we expanded the network to include 14 communities throughout Jerusalem. In addition to training new volunteers, the program included training of existing networks to maintain ability to respond and increase sustainability.

Planning on map

Planning strategy on map

Multicultural Participatory Democracy

In 2016 we mentored community center staffs in Gilo, Kiryat Menachem, Givat Messuah, Baka’a and south Talpiot. For the first time, residents – especially the Ethiopian community in Kiryat Menachem and the highly diverse community of south Talpiot –felt that they were able to influence issues that affected their everyday lives. Training included using Facebook as a community-building tool key to increasing residents’ engagement in community processes.

Writing and submitting objections

Writing and submitting objections in Gilo

Promoting Tolerance in the Public Sphere

Since the summer of 2014 the JICC have been at the forefront of promoting tolerance in Jerusalem. 2016 accomplishments include:

  • A Different Day in Jerusalem celebrated Jerusalem’s diversity through 50 coordinated events, affecting tens of thousands of people on Jerusalem Day. It was the first time such a broad effort has been made to celebrate Jerusalem’s diversity.
  • JICC-mentored Speaking in the Square and other tolerance initiatives that came in their wake led to the redesigning of Zion Square, to be called Tolerance Square. The initiative’s Effective Dialogue methodology spread, and is now being presented in national frameworks.
  • 0202-Points of View from Jerusalem are now liked by nearly 80,000 people and reach some 150,000 people weekly on Facebook and the Internet. The network now includes pages that translate from Arabic to Hebrew, from Arabic to English and one which brings news from the Ultra-Orthodox world to the awareness of the general population.
  • The JICC was asked to be one of the leading organizations in the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations to Promote Tolerance, formed by the Center for Young Adults and the Municipality’s Young Authority.
  • The JICC is continuing to develop Tolerance Network Teams (TNT’s), a series of neighborhood-based and theme-based grassroots initiatives that seek to advance tolerance in Jerusalem.
Elhanan Miller Haaretz article

Haaretz article about A Different Day in Jerusalem

Window to Mount Zion

Since October 2015, Window to Mount Zion has bridged inter-religious and inter-community gaps that have festered between Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups for centuries. As a result of its activity over the past year:

  • In unheard-of cooperation, religious Jewish and Christian groups have issued joint statements condemning hate crimes on Mount Zion.
  • Christian ceremonies, which in the past have caused inter-religious tension, proceeded without incident.
  • The celebration of Christian and Jewish holidays that coincided simultaneously, which in the past had been the source of conflict and tension, also proceeded smoothly.
Window to Mount Zion volunteers

Window to Mount Zion volunteers

Asylum Seekers

The JICC, together with the Jerusalem Municipality, sponsor the only paid public servant in Israel to help asylum seekers, outside of Tel Aviv. We are also part of a consortium of organizations and agencies that seek to meet the needs of asylum seekers living in the city.

Tour of Nahlaot neighborhood

Families of asylum seekers on tour of Nahlaot neighborhood

Thank You!

Many many thanks go out to our partners in action and our donors. You can read about our activities in more detail either by clicking on the hyperlinks above, or by clicking here.

Looking forward to making 2017 even better!

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Santé Israël – Informing All New Immigrants

January 4th, 2017

On December 22, Santé Israël. went to the theater….to help immigrants, not only French-speaking.

They were part of the Olim in Jerusalem festival celebrating immigrants to Jerusalem from all over the world, which took place at the Jerusalem Theater. The Festival featured performances by Jerusalem’s Mikro Theater (Israelis of Russian descent) as well as Esther Rada, an Ethiopian-Israeli singer. It also included a wealth of family-friendly activities and an information fair.

Sante Israel at the Jerusalem Theater

Santé Israël at the Jerusalem Theater

Santé Israël.’s presence at the festival was important not only to provide information to the French-speaking immigrants who participated. They also met with other organizations and projects that help new immigrants, such as AACI’s Shira Pransky Project and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, and discussed different avenues for potential collaborations. Can’t wait to hear what transpires from this!

Many thanks to the to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

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Santé Israël – Now in Ra’anana

December 23rd, 2016

We’ve written here and here about Santé Israël and its outreach activities throughout Jerusalem. Last week, they expanded activity to the central part of the country.

Presenting Sante in Ra'anana

Presenting Sante in Ra’anana

Not long ago, Marie, the Santé Israël project coordinator,  gave an introductory workshop about Santé Israël at a French-speaking senior citizens club in Rana’ana.

Marie reports, “We again felt how much people need to receive information. It was a pleasant meeting and people were interested in the project. They asked questions, both about the system and about the web site itself.”

Afterward they distributed flyers to a nearby immigrant absorption center.

And of course, many thanks to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

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