Monthly Archives: November 2014

Toward a Cooperative Community Café on the Jerusalem Railway Park

How do you want to see your green open spaces? That was the question we raised when we first began working with residents from neighborhoods that line the Jerusalem Railway Park about eight months ago, at the beginning of March, thanks to the support of the UJA-Federation of New York. Using Open Space Technology, a number of initiatives were raised, which we continue to follow up on today.

One of the initiatives that has gained momentum has been a Cooperative Community Café . A Community Café would be planned and operated by residents, for residents, and residents will make all the decisions – regarding what kind of food / drink will be served and at what prices, when it will operate, and what kind of activities will take place there. The goal of the Community Café is to create an informal meeting point for residents in a pleasant and casual atmosphere. All proceeds from the sale of food and drink will be dedicated to the operation and development of the Café, and not for profits.

On September 28 we held a meeting for the leading team that seeks to establish the Community Café in the Jerusalem Railway Park. The goal was to review a number of different models from around Jerusalem and other cities in Israel, and determine what is best of the Railway Park. Below is the comparison of the different characteristics of the various models.

Railway Park Community Café

Railway Park Community Café

We distributed a number of tasks among team members before the next meeting, including finding an appropriate name. Any suggestions?

New Medical Interpreters Course for Mental Health Professionals

Cultural competency in mental health hospitals is moving forward and spreading, thanks to our Cultural Competency Desk. Last month, on 23 October 2014, we finished the first part of a medical interpreting course for some 30 professionals in the mental health fields from seven institutions from all over the country. While we’ve been involved with courses for specific institutions (at Abarbanel and the Jerusalem Center for Mental Health), this is the first time professionals are coming from all over the country for such a course. The idea for the course was brought up at a meeting of the Forum for Cultural Competency Coordinators in Mental Health that was held at the Mazor (Mazra) Hospital north of Acco, which was facilitated by the JICC. What ensued was a unique partnership between public mental health institutions and the JICC, which enabled the course to come to fruition. Many special thanks go to the cultural competency coordinator at Mazra, Mr. Yaron Nachmias, and Dr. Anne-Marie Ullmann, of the Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center.

National Mental Health Interpreters Training

National Mental Health Interpreters Training

In all there were 27 participants, who spoke Arabic, Russian and Amharic. In the course they learned the basics of medical interpretation in the mental health fields, which is one of the most challenging areas, both for the interpreter and for all those (patients, family as well as caregivers) who are involved in the diagnosis and treatment process. Course participants learned about the challenges of oral interpretation, the practiced correct work methods, and dealing with professional and personal dilemmas. They enriched their knowledge in language-specific issues and and terminology in separate groups for each individual language.

Simulation

Simulation of an Interpreted Session in Mental Health

Now, after the end of the course, the greatest challenge is to help the cultural competency coordinators to assimilate cultural competency principles into everyday practice at their institutions. This will mean learning to utilize the services of the trained interpreters in the everyday operations of the hospitals.

Principles of Cultural Competency

Principles of Cultural Competency

Hadassah College – First Academic Institution to Become Culturally Competent

Jerusalem’s everyday reality has become increasingly complex over the past few months, but that the same time, some wonderful things are happening in the field of cultural competency. About a month ago, we began a long-term process to make Jerusalem’s Hadassah Academic College culturally competent. It will be the first academic institution in Israel to undergo this process, and it is happening in Jerusalem.

Hadassah College simulation

Hadassah College simulation

We began with a number of in-depth discussions with different department heads and administration, since we had to adapt our curriculum, which has been developed for the health care system, to the needs of the College. These discussions culminated in an all-day seminar for 30 department heads and administration on September 30. The workshop included principles of cultural competency, as well as a number of simulations, which enabled participants to experience specific culturally sensitive situations, and have guided discussions on methods of dealing with different intercultural challenges. Much of the discussion centered around issues in relation to the college’s Arab student body, which comprises 15% of the total student population. One of the main issues discussed were the obstacles of communication and language gaps between students and lecturers. They focused on a number of sensitive points, from the admissions interview, to regarding the different approaches toward education, and more. The next step will be for the participants to decide on a broader plan of action – who else will participate in the training workshops, and what other steps will the College take in becoming culturally competent.

How did Hadassah come to this? They are very minded about diversity. They have a very diverse student body, and, since they are located close to the seam line between East and West Jerusalem, on Nevi’im Street which designates the border between the secular neighborhoods and the very Haredi neighborhoods of Geulah and Meah Shearim, diversity and multi-culturalism is on their mind. The summer war and ongoing general tensions in Jerusalem made the need even greater.