Monthly Archives: April 2016

Baka’a – a Neighborhood of Many Colors

We knew that Baka’a was a neighborhood rich in diverse groups, hailing from all over the world. Now, it is indeed, a neighborhood of many colors.

Neighborhood of Many Colors

Neighborhood of Many Colors

On Wednesday, April 27, parents and children, religious and not, speaking multiple languages, decorated a local park on Lipschitz St. with beautiful signs of tolerance. Let’s let the pictures tell the story:

Starting with a blank canvas

Starting with a blank canvas

There were many kinds of participants, of many ages:

Many kinds of participants

Many kinds of participants

To each one, tolerance meant something different. It could mean this:

One view of tolerance

One view of tolerance

Or this:

A different view

A different view

Or this:

All you need is love

All you need is love

But in the end, all these different expressions of tolerance shared the same space:

Tolerance throughout the park

Tolerance throughout the park

The Baka’a Tolerance Team is part of a citywide network of Tolerance Teams that aim to promote pluralism and acceptance of the ‘other’ throughout Jerusalem, supported by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation.

MiniActive – Waiting for the Bus in Style Beit Hanina

Yes, in Beit Hanina, you can now wait for the bus in style.

Renewed bus stop in Beit Hanina

Renewed bus stop in Beit Hanina

In this neighborhood, as in many Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, residents suffered for a long time from poor infrastructure in general, and specifically, from broken bus stops, many of which did not have benches or seats or backs.

Now you can lean back as well as sit

Now you can lean back as well as sit

As we wrote here, MiniActive was recently in contact with the person in charge of bus stops for the Jerusalem Municipality. This led to all the bus stops in the neighboring Shuafat neighborhood being either replaced or repaired. Here’s the our Facebook post:

This past week, it was Beit Hanina’s turn. The contractor in charge of installing and repairing the bus stops had toured the neighborhood with local MiniActive women, and this week, we finally saw new bus stops.

A ticket to ride and a seat to wait

A ticket to ride and a seat to wait

Congratulations! Next scheduled stop – ????? We’ll keep you posted.

The Arabic Sounds of Passover from Katamonim Tolerance Team

Passover songs in Hebrew, Passover songs in Aramaic, Passover songs in English. Passover songs in Arabic? Why not?

Throughout the ages Jews from all over the world wrote and sang songs and prayers in the language of their land. On Sunday, April 17, in preparation for Passover, the Katamonim Tolerance Team presented “Passover according to the Syrian Tradition,” baking soft matzot and singing Passover songs in Arabic.

The Arabic sounds of Passover

The Arabic sounds of Passover

The evening was led by musician Shmuel Nelson. In addition to the music, the evening featured soft matzot baked in the Syrian tradition. Yum! (can we say that about matzot?)

Soft Syrian matzot

Soft Syrian matzot

And here’s a taste of the musical tradition:

The Katamonim Tolerance Team, part of our citywide Tolerance Team Network supported by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation.

Creating a Different Jerusalem Day – “a Different Day in Jerusalem”

As our name states, we’re all about Jerusalem. Especially about Jerusalem and all its cultures, ethnicities, religions, nationalities. On this upcoming Jerusalem Day, we, together with a number of prominent Jerusalem-based partners seek to show this love for Jerusalem, in a way that is different than what has developed in recent years. We were recently featured in an article in the local Kol Ha’ir newspaper. Click on the picture for the PDF version:

The Hebrew article, from Friday, April 15

The Hebrew article, Friday, April 15

In the article, Michal Shilor, our coordinator for the Grassroots Campaign to Promote Tolerance in Jerusalem, said,

“Over the last few years we are witnessing more and more incidents of hate and violence on Jerusalem Day. Many of the events that take place in the city do not leave room for most of the city’s residents to mark that day in a tolerant manner, and I, like many residents of the city, hide away at home or leave the city on that day in order to get away from the blatant racism that is expressed in the streets on that day. This year, I’m excited to be a part of making this city more tolerant in general, and on this tension-filled day in particular. Most of us are looking for a different way to mark Jerusalem Day, one that respects and celebrates Jerusalem’s political, social and cultural diversity – and now we have a chance.”

This initiative, called, “a Different Day in Jerusalem“, is a collaboration between the Jerusalem Intercultural Center, This is Jerusalem, the Young Adults Center and the Jerusalem Foundation. It is supported by the UJA-Federation of New York .

There’s already a long list of projects and programs taking part in the day’s events. On Sunday, May 15 we’ll be holding an additional Open Space Technology meeting to garner even more.

Here’s the link to the Facebook event (Hebrew).

And this is the link to the internet site that features all the events of “a Different Day in Jerusalem.

Mark your calendars for June 5. It’s going to be something special!

Cultural Evening for Arabic Language Students

On Tuesday, April 12, we held yet another evening of culture  – a lecture by Mr. Omar Othman, renowned teacher of Arabic and well-known author Arabic-language books, of for our students of Arabic. For the first time, this lecture was geared to our students in levels one and two. (Previously, events were held for more advanced students.)

Omar Othman

Omar Othman

Mr. Othman has been teaching Arabic for some 40 years to non-Arabic and non-Hebrew speakers. In simple language (for the students), he told fascinating stories of his life. The 45 students listened, enraptured, throughout the entire presentation and discussion.

Students in the audience

Students in the audience

He told about his childhood in Beit Safafa, and how his family moved to Bethlehem as a result of the 1948 war. He and his 5 brothers stayed with their mother in Bethlehem while his father traveled to Jordan to work. In 1951 his father returned to Bethlehem, and after much effort, they returned to their family home in Beit Safafa. At that time he went to work in the Mahane Yehuda market as a porter and selling vegetables and herbs in order to help his family’s income. He told about his determination to continue his studies and how, together with his cousin, he traveled from Jerusalem north to Tira in order to become accepted into a high school and how he returned once a month to see his family. He told how he became a teacher in the village of Ein Rafa, a principal in Abu Ghosh (adjacent to Ein Rafa), and at the same time how he finished his B.A. at the Hebrew University and even continued his studies.

Omar eventually returned to teach in Beit Safafa and became the principal of its high school, one of the few in Jerusalem that teaches both the Israeli bagrut track as well as the Jordanian tawjihi track for matriculation (prevalent in East Jerusalem). In 1991 he retired and began teaching Arabic and writing Arabic language instruction books.

“Omar has dedicated much of his time and energy in teaching the Arabic language, and his story inspired us all,” said Orna, one of the participants.

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

MiniActive Women – New First Aid Course

MiniActive is affecting women’s lives – and the lives of so many other Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem – in so many ways – from fixing public nuisances, helping the environment, learning Hebrew to better communicate with service providers, baking, exercise, and more. Now, they’re learning first aid.

Learning first aid

Learning first aid

There have been first aid courses in the past, and this is an important part of their involvement in improving life in the community. There are currently 25 women in this class.

First lesson

First lesson

The post from the MiniActive Facebook page in Arabic:

More recently they learned about preventing accidents in the home

The dangers of home accidents

The dangers of home accidents

And the beginning of CPR:

Beginning the principles of CPR

Beginning the principles of CPR

Here’s another post from the MiniActive Facebook page:

First Time Ever! Training for Cultural Competence at a Hospital Chain

As we’ve developed our programs in cultural competence over the years, one of our goals has been to reach a point of being able to build capacity within each organization, so that cultural competence becomes an inherent part of their DNA.

Thus, a few days ago, for the first time ever, we began working with a chain of hospitals and health clinics. On April 11, we began working with the Assuta Medical Center, a network of four hospitals and six medical centers throughout Israel, in the first of three workshops.

First workshop with Assuta

First workshop with Assuta

This workshop included 60 facilitators, from all disciplines at Assuta, who will lead cultural competency workshops for all Assuta employees. It is taking place in Assuta’s School of Professionalism, which opened two years ago. After the training these facilitators will hold cultural competency workshops for all of Assuta’s 2,800 employees in the upcoming 6 months.

Congratulations Assuta! We’ll keep you posted on the additional workshops.

MiniActive Youth Project Finale

Did you ever think that a school guard’s hut could look like this?

Guard hut

Guard hut

This is one of many pictures that we can share with you from the new MiniActive Youth project decorating public areas in East Jerusalem. (Click here for more information.)

Plastic bottle planters

Plastic bottle planters

From planters made from plastic bottles, to decorative electrical cabinets to painted garbage dumpsters, this group of 17 teenage girls from all over Jerusalem – Jebel Mukaber, Ras al-Amud, Silwan, Issawiya, Beit Hanina, Sur Baher and the Old City – have used recycled objects to make a range of projects. This project seeks to focus on recycling and the environment.

Hard at work

Hard at work

The group’s last meeting was on April 10. Congratulations to all the participants!

We still never tire of these Minions

We still never tire of these Minions

And here’s the post in Arabic from the MiniActive Facebook page:

Continuing to Develop Jerusalem Railway Park

We began our involvement in resident initiatives along the Jerusalem Railway Park more than two years ago, together with the Baka’a, Ginot Ha’Ir and Gonenim Community Councils and a number of local organizations and active residents. This was very soon after the entire length of the Park, which runs from the First Train Station near the city center south toward Malcha and out of the city, had opened.

Since then, the Railway Park has become one of the liveliest centers of activity in Jerusalem. Each month more initiatives are developed to enhance life in, on and along the park.  Some examples include: MusiKatamon:

MusiKatamon Festival in August 2014

MusiKatamon Festival in August 2014

Meeting Point: Under the Bridge (Meaning, under the overpass that leads from the Katamonim neighborhood to Beit Safafa.) Led by the Muslala Group, but included a broad range of local institutions:

Meeting Point: Under the Bridge, Spring 2015

Meeting Point: Under the Bridge, Spring 2015

Chalk Festival, also in 2015:

Chalk Art Festival April 2015

Chalk Art Festival April 2015

Reading Station, an old bus stop that had been re-configured with bookshelves. People drop off and take books freely. (The video is in Hebrew)

BaRakevet (both “At the train” and “Train Bar”) Community Cafe

We continue to accompany the leaders of these initiatives, many of which are resident-led. On April 5, we held a meeting for all those interested in developing new, and refining older, ideas and initiatives. There were some 20 active residents there, some who had initiated the idea of the park, some who are operating social initiatives in the park, some were residents who live along the park, and others were youth from the Telem Scouts movement, from all over the city.

Meeting to discuss resident initiatives

Meeting to discuss resident initiatives

At first we heard some updates of existing initiatives – BaRakavet, Reading Station, local treasure chests (places where people drop off unwanted items and pick up stuff for free). We also discussed several new initiatives – meetings with senior citizens, corner for petting and adopting pets, musical Kabbalat Shabbat at the Reading Station, jam sessions for Jews and Arabs, juggling and music at the Reading Station, a second-hand swap, and more.

Developing ideas, finding partners

Developing ideas, finding partners

Good luck to all the initiatives! We’ll keep you posted here on their development…

MiniActive Event for Families

On March 29 MiniActive held an event for the women and their families. This year, there were 350 women at the event, which was held at the Abnaa al-Quds Community Center in the Muslim Quarter. Program director Intisar Qaraeen praised the women’s accomplishments and encouraged them to continue their amazing work. She later presented cluster coordinators with certificates of appreciation. They are the ones who keep pushing the program forward in the neighborhoods – congratulations to all!

The program also featured a Debka traditional dance performance by young women.

Dancers in traditional garb

Dancers in traditional garb

There was also a lecture by our own Atta’a Center for Rights Realization for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. Daud Alian, Attaa director introduced the volunteer-based service, which helps Palestinian resident obtain their legal rights and benefits, and gave a few examples of rights that can be claimed from the National Insurance Institute or the Ministry of the Interior.

Atta'a lecture

Atta’a lecture

A third highlight was a lecture on religion. The lecturer discussed a number of passages from the Quran – from the commandment to take care of the environment, to the bases of faith, to the importance of women as educators in the family. He spoke about the importance of keeping personal as well as public space clean and well-preserved as an integral part of the Islamic faith.

This annual event seeks to thank the women and their families for their hard work and persistence throughout the year. Now it’s our turn – thank you, shukran!