Blog Category: ‘Effective Activism’

The Writing is (not) on the Wall

April 14th, 2017

It’s not nice to wake up during the Passover holiday to ugly graffiti:

Hate graffiti on the Railway Park in southern Jerusalem

Hate graffiti on the Railway Park in southern Jerusalem

Especially if it’s racist graffiti that says, ““Arabs, go home,” and “We want revenge.” It also had “Kahane was right,” Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the outlawed Kach movement that called to expel Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian territories, who was assassinated in Manhattan in 2012.

Fortunately, a group of activists, part of our network of activists for tolerance that include residents, city council members and the Municipality, were quick to act. They called the Municipal hotline, and within a few hours the graffiti was cleaned.

Working hard to blot out racism

Working hard to blot out racism

But they didn’t stop there. They replaced the graffiti with other signs, full of love and acceptance.

We love our neighbors, in Hebrew

We love our neighbors, in Hebrew

Here’s an independent post of what happened. The incident was even reported in both the English and Hebrew YNET web sites, which are associated with the most widely read national daily newspaper, Yediot Acharonot.

Hebrew article in Yediot Acharonot

Hebrew article in Yediot Acharonot national newspaper

We were doubly interested in this process, since we’ve been helping residents and activists along the Railway Park initiate community-building activities along the park almost since its opening. Coupled with this cooperative work to promote tolerance, we’re pretty proud of this network of activists, which acted quickly, independently, and effectively, with our support and encouragement.

Sign initiators and helpers - best way to spend a school holiday

Sign initiators and helpers – best way to spend a school holiday

Even Yael Freidson, the Ynet reporter who first reported the racist graffiti, tweeted, when she saw the final result, with a hashtag that says “these are things that make me happy”. Indeed, the tolerance activists of Jerusalem managed to make lemonade out of lemons. They demonstrated that Jerusalem has an efficient and sustainable network of tolerance!

Of course, the incident was posted on our Jerusalem Tolerance Facebook page:

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York for its support of our efforts both with residents along the Railway Park and to promote tolerance throughout Jerusalem. Many thanks also go to the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of our work.

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Meeting in the Square for Interreligious Discussions

April 7th, 2017

Last Thursday was a special day in the world of inter-religious activities and working toward tolerance in Jerusalem.

It started off with a great group of Jews, Christians and Muslims, Praying Together in Jerusalem, who get together monthly for interfaith prayer. This month, after their inspiring prayer, they joined other groups that we work with, Speaking in the Square and Meeting Place of the Yerushalmim Movement, for an an unforgettable evening of dialogue and tolerance in Zion Square. Later, ‘Living Together,’ a group of religious leaders from around Israel, joined in on the discussions.

Many faiths speaking in the square

Many faiths speaking in the square

Peta Jones Pellach was one of the organizers of the Praying Together in Jerusalem event. Afterwards, she wrote this in a blog post for the Times of Israel:

“After introductions, I posed the questions, “Can we be friends with people of other faiths? Isn’t his dangerous? Isn’t it also a little ingenuous – after all, don’t we always hold back a little in interfaith friendships?”

My Muslim friend was incensed! Of course you can have deep friendships with people from other faiths! She was passionate. The interchange led one of the young Jewish participants to exclaim that she was overcome with emotion. This was her first genuine interfaith experience. Indeed, none of the participants in the circle was prepared to acknowledge that interreligious friendships can be challenging. Whether or not it is always true, this group felt that difference in religion was not a barrier to a positive relationship.

The conversation flowed. Many of the Jewish participants took the opportunity to ask Christians about their faith and the Christians were delighted to be able to explain their beliefs.

….This is unity through diversity.”

Here’s the Facebook post of the event:

Here’s the link to the full post:

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/we-need-to-talk/

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support in helping us to promote tolerance throughout the city.

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MiniActive Celebrating its Volunteers

April 1st, 2017

On Thursday, March 23, MiniActive again celebrated its volunteers. This time, they took them on a special picnic to the Canada Park, about 45 minutes outside of Jerusalem.  A year ago they celebrated the Family/Mother/Women day with their families in Jerusalem)

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

The 120 women were honored by the presence of writer Nuzha Abu Ghosh who told then some of the historical events in the history of the village of Emmaus. Then they toured the area, its ancient and more modern ruins,

What was this oh so long ago?

What was this oh so long ago?

And held a scrumptious picnic lunch.

Looks yummy

Looks yummy

Many thanks to the MiniActive volunteers for their hard work and persistence throughout the year.

Continuous work

Continuous work

Here’s the post from the MiniActive Facebook page (in Arabic):

And here is the post in English (thanks to 0202):

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

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Gearing Up for Jerusalemite Day

April 1st, 2017

Jerusalem Day. Every day in Jerusalem is a meeting point between East and West, of Walls and Gold. Jerusalem – surrounded by hilltops, the subject of wonder. Jerusalem – with many, many different peoples.

Between the clichés and the syndrome (click here to read about Jerusalem Syndrome), everyday Jerusalem – and the Jerusalem of our dreams  – awaits.

 

Gearing up for Jerusalemite Day

Gearing up for Jerusalemite Day

We believe that Jerusalem Day is an ideal day to celebrate all that is special, unique and diverse about Jerusalem. Last year, we began this celebration, with A Different Day in Jerusalem, list of 50 events celebrating the diversity of Jerusalem. This year, we seek to build on that tradition, with “Jerusalemite Day – a Celebration of Diversity in Jerusalem”.

Principles of Open Space Technology

Principles of Open Space Technology

Last Thursday, March 16, we held, at Beit Yehudit – Ginot Ha’Ir Community Center, the first meeting for initiatives that seek to organize something on Jerusalemite Day. We had some 25 activists, all seeking to be part of this special production.

Small groups to advance individual initiatives

Small groups to advance individual initiatives

Some projects looking to be part of the action include: using music to build bridges, using religious texts as the basis for inter-religious encounters, a diversity march / happening, encounter between different ethnic groups, and much more.

The other side of the room

Thinking big

In addition to this meeting, we’ve put out a general call for initiatives to be carried out. Thus far we’ve got about 40, and expect dozens more by Jerusalemite Day, May 24.

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

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The Tolerance Train Comes Round Again

March 24th, 2017

We described here the first Tolerance Train Stop, which took place on January 19, by the Ruach Nachon pre-army preparatory program, the Citipass company that operates the light rail, and with our mentoring.

Next stop - Tolerance Station!

Next stop – Tolerance Station!

On Sunday, March 19, we had another one, this time with Boyer High School. Students also underwent a special workshop on tolerance before heading out onto the street.

This is part of what they hope is to become a monthly tradition. Ruach Nachon also seeks to open other Tolerance Train Stops along the light rail line.

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

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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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0202 – It’s Been Two Years?!?!?

March 10th, 2017

Almost unbelievable, but true. 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem, which we’ve been mentoring since the start as part of our effort to increase tolerance in Jerusalem, just celebrated its second birthday. And as a birthday present to itself, it made this great short movie:

In two short years, 0202 has grown from one page to three, now featuring Arabic news items translated into both Hebrew and English, as well as a special Ultra-Orthodox-to-general Jewish population page. These pages have together garnered 100,000 followers and reach an audience of 120,000 people per week in Israel and around the world.

0202 site-header – different glasses…..

0202 has impacted Jerusalem offline as well: In addition to having become a credible source of information for Jerusalem municipality members, Israeli journalists, and human rights organizations, we have actually been the cause for change in municipal actions in East Jerusalem.

We’d like to thank the Leichtag Foundation for its support of 0202, as well as the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of all our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem.

And for our Arabic/Hebrew listeners, here is the video with subtitles in these languages:

 

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MiniActive Youth – Now Operating in Beit Safafa

March 4th, 2017

MiniActive Youth continues to make the streets of East Jerusalem brighter! This time, in Beit Safafa.

Making significant changes

Making significant changes

The painting project was carried out in cooperation with the local community center.

It was a real group effort

It was a real group effort

The activity took place on a sunny Sunday, February 26.

Looks amazing!

Looks amazing!

Neighborhood by neighborhood, improving the environment in East Jerusalem.

An accomplishment to be proud of

An accomplishment to be proud of

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

Here’s the Facebook post, in Arabic:

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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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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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