Monthly Archives: March 2017

Window to Mount Zion – Cleaning the Dejani Cemetery

Adjacent to the David’s Tomb complex is the Dajani cemetery. It is an historic Muslim cemetery where the Dajani family, a well-known, well-established Jerusalem family, buried its family members. This includes a former Mayor of Jerusalem and other VIPs.

Before the Clean-up March 2017

Before the Clean-up March 2017

For a long time this cemetery stood locked and neglected, and was an eyesore to anyone (some 2 million tourists (!) per year) who visited the area of David’s Tomb.

Organizing the volunteer workers

Organizing the volunteer workers

Until Window to Mount Zion decided to to something. Window to Mount Zion organized a unique clean-up mission, together with our volunteers, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Israel Police, and the Dajani family. Thanks to our volunteers, all the different bodies came together for the project.

Hard at work

Hard at work

The clean-up took place on Monday, March 20. They weeded, cleaned up, and cleared away tree trunks and other unnecessary vegetation and garbage that had sprouted and multiplied over the years.

Eran, one of the volunteers, had a special experience. Together with a descendant of the Dajani family, he cleaned up the area around the grave of Abd el-Kadr Tahbub, who was the supreme judge of Jerusalem. Together, they also read the special poem that was written on his gravestone.

Cleaning up a special grave

Cleaning up a special grave

Work in the cemetery isn’t finished. In the future, we also seek to map the cemetery and fix some of the gravestones that have been damaged over the years.

Here’s the Facebook post (in Hebrew) about the work:

Many thanks to all the partners who helped take part in this special cleanup – the Jerusalem Municipality, Israel Police, the Dajani family, of course the volunteers. Here’s to additional fruitful, intercultural and inter-religious partnerships in the future.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continuing support of our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem.

The Tolerance Train Comes Round Again

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.

The Little Prince – Dutifully Making Sure Jerusalem is Clean

“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…

0202 – It’s Been Two Years?!?!?

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:

MiniActive Youth – Now Operating in Beit Safafa

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:

Continuing Cultural Competency Training at the Municipal Welfare Department

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:

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

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.

2017-03-25T08:46:55+00:00 March 1st, 2017|Attaa, Blog, Identity Groups and Conflicts, Palestinians/Arabs|