MiniActive – Helping to Relieve Tensions from Unsettling Situation

Over the past several weeks, life in East Jerusalem has been very unsettled, and violence abounds. Mothers are afraid for their children. Their teenagers, or younger children, want to do something, to show their anger and frustrations about the situation.

MiniActive responded, offering special workshops (a total of 5) to help Palestinian mothers build resilience – for themselves, and for their families. The workshops helped the mothers understand the severe stresses, and receive tools to help cope. They were extremely well-attended, drawing upwards of 80 participants each time. Feedback was amazing – mothers raved of how much they helped them deal with a very sensitive situation.

Helping women deal with the stress of the period

One of the workshops took place on Monday, May 17, with 35 women participating.  Another workshop was held on May 20, with over 80 participants! That workshop focused on: How to deal with fear and anxiety in the current circumstances, including: 1-How to deal with children’s excitement; 2-How to channel their energies; 3-How to deal with fear and stress; 4-How to help them in their studies. circumstances

Here’s the post (in Arabic) from MiniActive’s Facebook page from the May 17 workshop:

Here’s the post from the May 20 workshop:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, to Natan and to the Leichtag Foundation‘s Jerusalem Model for their ongoing support of MiniActive!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-06-17T16:13:05+00:00May 28th, 2021|Blog, MiniActive|

MiniActive Youth – Back in the Fresh Air

We’ve written here and here how MiniActive Youth has been limited because of Covid-19 and Covid regulations, and how we’ve done what we can, but it hasn’t been easy.

Working in the outdoors

Working in the outdoors

As new cases throughout Jerusalem seem to be going down and restrictions are being lifted, MiniActive Youth are also able to meet again.

Continuing to improve the environment

Continuing to improve the environment

On April 4, they met outside the Sur Baher Community Center to work in the adjacent garden.

Finally, being able to meet and work outside

Finally, being able to meet and work outside

This is how it looked before the work

Before the work

Before the work

And how it looked after

After

After

And here’s a post on the MiniActive Facebook page:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, to Natan and to the Leichtag Foundation‘s Jerusalem Model for their ongoing support of MiniActive!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-05-06T07:43:13+00:00April 14th, 2021|Blog, MiniActive|

Israeli Forum for Employment Diversity

We’ve given lectures as part of the diversity management course of the Israeli Forum for Employment Diversity for several years. In the course, we present the JICC’s activities in cultural competency, and present relevant tools. The current course opened in January 2021, and includes 18 participants from leading organizations and companies in Israel, including the Israel Police, Strauss, Weizmann Institute, the electric company, Elbit, a large legal office, and more.

the course participants

the course participants

This year, because of Covid, the course is taking place via Zoom. The first meeting (of the two we were invited to) took place on February 10 and was led by Dr. Rachely Ashwal and Orna Shani Golan, who are leading the Cultural Competency Desk at the JICC. We presented tools to help organizations improve their ability to include everyone, not through broad organizational activities, but through personal skills that each diversity manager should have: tools for effective work in the face of generalizations, and tools to deepen inter-cultural dialogue.

 Dealing with generalization

Dealing with generalization

The meeting ended with a simulation in which a manager had to address an employee’s request to take vacation on the Novi God holiday, after the organization had decided not to give vacations. The simulation engaged all in understanding the unique cultural aspects of this request. In the next meeting we’ll play the HoliGame, a unique tool we developed together with the Israeli Forum for Employment Diversity to deal with social and political tensions in an organization.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-03-30T16:09:21+00:00March 21st, 2021|Blog, Cultural Competence, Cultural Competence in the Workplace|

Cultural Competence in Academia

It’s no secret that Cultural Competence affects all areas of life – from healthcare, to welfare to businesses and academia.  We’ve written here and here about our work with academic institutions.

Cultural Competency in Academia

Cultural Competency in Academia

Throughout Covid academic institutions have continued to hold class, online. And like many aspects of our everyday lives, post-secondary studies, as well as the online format, raise numerous inter-cultural and inter-identity issues, which cultural competence can help to address effectively. This year, we’ve been working with the Zefat Academic College, the Sapir Academic College in Ashkelon, Shenkar College – Engineering. Design. Art and Bar-Ilan University.

In February we led an online workshop for 20 participants, which dealt with issues such as culturally competent academic teaching, dealing with bias and stereotypes, cultural axes, adaptations that are necessary for different identities, and more.

In March we began a four-workshop series at Shenkar, and we’re scheduled to play the HoliGame in April with faculty and staff from Bar-Ilan University.

Here’s the Facebook post from our Dr. Rachely Ashwal from the meeting in February with Sapir Academic College:

And this trend will hopefully continue in the next months and years! The message of cultural competence in academics will spread to more campuses!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Training the Trainers for the Man and Medicine Course

For the past several years the Hadassah – Hebrew University School of Medicine (located at Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem) operates a course called “Man and Medicine,” which seeks to give medical students tools and awareness about the meeting with the person behind the sickness, and to help the future doctor look not at the sickness to be treated, but at the person as well. Members of the JICC’s Cultural Competency desk have been lecturing in the course almost since its beginning. We lectured, operated simulations and played movies to help impart the principles of cultural competence.  After a few years, the course structure was changed, and we trained the course instructors how to use our training videos and teach the principles themselves.

Talking about Stereotype

Talking about Stereotype

On March 10, 2021, an orientation meeting was held for 30 course teachers (each one works with 12 – 13 students), most of them senior physicians at Hadassah Hospital. We were asked to give them tools to guide the students they mentor. This included: reviewing cultural competency and its principles, reminding how to use the training videos, as well as tips of how to do this via Zoom, since most of the course is currently being held remotely. The training was led by Orna Shani Golan, Director of the JICC’s Cultural Competency Desk.

The two-hour training included how to deal with generalizations about different groups, such as: “Muslim women don’t get epidural shots,” or “Ethiopians don’t look you in the eyes,” or “Vegans are anti-vaxxers,” and more. The participants discussed the communication gaps that arise when there are cultural gaps. Overall, they understood how to teach their students how to have an inter-cultural dialogue understanding the patients’ point of view from a cultural standpoint.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its support of cultural competency in Jerusalem since its inception, and to the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine – Hadassah Medical Center, for their long-time partnership.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-03-20T08:21:43+00:00March 17th, 2021|Blog, Cultural Competence, Cultural Competence in Health Services|

Cultural Competency with Division for the Advancement of Youth, Jaffa

We’ve written here. here, and here how Cultural Competency deals with inter-cultural communication, and how to ‘read’ the person sitting in front of you and ensure maximum communication.

It’s not always between cultures, it’s also sometimes between ages, and between different groups of people.

Ezadeen with Youth Center Director

Ezadeen with Youth Center Director

Such was the case on March 9, 2020, when our Ezadeen Elsaad led a cultural competency workshop for the Division of Advancement of Youth in Jaffa. Ezadeen spoke with them about methods and skills to cope positively with diversity and how to create a sense of belonging even when they face differences between students and colleagues in their daily routine.

The discussion included how to engage the youth, and how to de-stigmatize the youth center and turn it into a place where youth would want to come. He also spoke about ways to listen to the youth and engage with them on an eye-to-eye level, in order to help them understand their own way forward.

Applying principles of cultural competency in everyday work with at-risk youth

Applying principles of cultural competency in everyday work with at-risk youth

Here’s a Facebook post (in Arabic) by the director of the Center for Youth at Risk:

This is part of our work with a number of offices of the Division for the Advancement of Youth throughout Israel. Stay tuned for more updates!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

New Arabic-language Digital Tools to Fight Covid

We’ve been on the front lines helping to fight the spread of Covid in East Jerusalem for the past year, the first NGO ever invited to join a public command center that was set up together with the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry of Health, and the IDF’s Home Front Command, among others. At the same time, we actively set up and coordinated a Forum to Fight Covid in East Jerusalem, network of 150 Arab Palestinian civil society actors in East Jerusalem, representing some 80 organizations.

The new web site lists the updated numbers of cases in East Jerusalem

The new web site lists the updated numbers of cases in East Jerusalem

As a result of this work, an idea was raised to create a go-to web site that included all the possible information about Covid – healthcare information, where to go for testing, information vaccinations, information to counter fake news, and more.

This web site draws from official sources and authorities to ensure accuracy of information.  Also critically important – the web site is considered an independent initiative. Official Israeli channels are often regarded with suspicion in East Jerusalem, so the fact that it is independent adds to the website’s legitimacy.

Updated testing information also listed

Updated testing information also listed

You can view the website here.

And the Facebook page here:

For example, here’s a post about vaccinations in the Shuafat Refugee Camp:

And another, a video by Jerusalemite doctors about the importance of the vaccine:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, the Russell Berrie Foundation, and the Leichtag Foundation for their emergency support of our efforts to stop the spread of Covid in East Jerusalem.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Even in Lockdown, We Continue to Learn Arabic – JICC Arabic Classes Featured in Jerusalem Post Article

This year, Arabic classes were held as they have been over the past 15 years, but this year, they’re taking place online.

Continuing to study Arabic online

Continuing to study Arabic online

The year began on September 6, with 174 students studying in 15 groups over 5 levels, with a maximum of 12 students per group.

One of our students, Linda Gradstein, is also a veteran reporter in Israel and throughout the Middle East. She recently wrote about the surge in Arabic study for the Jerusalem Report, which was published on the Jerusalem Post web site. You can read the entire article here. Here are selected parts:

The Jerusalem Intercultural Center, which runs the Arabic language center, has more than 200 students annually, although this year it is closer than 170, as some students said they didn’t want to learn on Zoom.
The center’s director, Hagai Agmon Snir, says that the population studying Arabic at the center has changed significantly.
“Years ago we assumed that most people studying here were from the left,” he says. “Now we have as many people from the right and we even have a few settlers who learn with us.”
Snir says that there are sometimes political arguments in class, which is fine with him as long as the arguments take place in Arabic.
He says that the reason that most people study Arabic has also changed – a change he welcomes.
“Until ten years ago people learned Arabic because of ideology,” he says. “Now most people who learn it do it because they need the language either for work or volunteering. Arabic is hard, and that is a better motivation.”

The article features not only JICC Director Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, but also Dr. Michal Schuster, a long-time lecturer in cultural competency for the JICC, and also a student of Arabic:

For some students, it is specifically violent Palestinian attacks that pushed them to intensify their study of Arabic.
Michal Shuster, who teaches community interpreting at Bar Ilan University, has always had many Arabic speaking students. She used Arabic during her army service, but hadn’t taken an Arabic class in many years.
But in 2015, when lone wolf Palestinians began attacking Israelis, she decided to start speaking more Arabic to friends and colleagues as a way to bridge the mutual fear that Arabs and Jews felt during that time.
“Palestinian friends said they were afraid to speak Arabic in the street,” she says. “My response was to start speaking Arabic with friends and colleagues, even if I make mistakes. I wanted to dome kind of trust-building measure using the language to connect. I decided to take the Arabic out of my head and I waited for the opportunity to start learning again.”
This year, with the classes of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center on Zoom, she joined an Arabic class. She said many Arabs are surprised when she approaches them or answers them in Arabic. She said there is an Arab restaurant in the Galilee that she often stops in. A few months ago, she said she was able to have a “real” conversation with them in Arabic, and the owners encouraged her to keep studying Arabic.
“It is such a shame that not many Jewish Israelis speak Arabic,” Shuster says. “It shouldn’t be so exceptional but it still is.”

Thank you Linda, for the wonderful and interesting article. Hope we can all meet in class soon!

Interestingly, while of course the regular in-person meetings are missed, many are telling us that there are advantages to remote learning. Since the classes are recorded, they can review the material learned in class by re-playing the class itself.  Not to mention the savings in travel time, parking and gasoline.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its support of the Language Center almost since its inception.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-02-13T12:45:42+00:00February 17th, 2021|Blog, Language Center|

Parents Association Handbook: Definitive Guide to Parents Associations in East Jerusalem

One of the side products of lockdown is having the opportunity to summarize knowledge gained from unique processes, and being able to compile it all in one place. Such is the case with the Parents Association Handbook, which was recently finished by our East Jerusalem Desk Director, Ezadeen El-Saad, who has been working with Parents Associations in East Jerusalem for the past 5 years.

New book on Parents Associations

New book on Parents Associations

Ezadeen has been working closely with several Parents Associations, especially in Sur Baher, Silwan and Ras el-Amud, among others. (You can read a little bit about it here.) The book describes all the processes they went through, from start to finish.

Table of contents

Table of contents

When we started several years ago, the Parents Associations consisted of a few dominant leaders in the community. They met only sporadically, and only when there were specific problems. Meetings did not have set agendas, no one took minutes and there was no official documentation of the meetings. They served mainly to react to actions of a principal, or to a certain problem in the schools. The Parents Associations never initiated anything. They were afraid to act because they weren’t familiar with the bylaws of the national Parents Association or with their rights as an Association or as parents. They did not know that it was their right to work in cooperation with the principal.

As a first step, Ezadeen called a number of meetings with central Parents Associations, including in A-Tur, Silwan, Abu Tor, Jebel Mukaber, Sur Baher and Ras el-Amud, which are considered particularly strong Parent Association. He explained:

  • The different rights and obligations afforded Parents Associations by law
  • What Parents Associations can accomplish
  • How to achieve results, in areas that included: student achievements, maintenance of the school, and in parent involvement in their children’s education, in cooperation with the school principals and school administrations.

At first, representatives were quite skeptical. However, as time went on, he gained the trust of the Parents Associations, and together, they worked, together with the local principals, on a broad range of initiatives that helped to build community – and improve education and school atmosphere – in the schools. After the initial workshops, the Parents Association learned how to build and follow through on specific work plans. They also learned how to create subcommittees – such as cultural activities, behavior, trips, study guidance, maintenance, and more – according to the school’s needs.

The processes, in the words of the parents

The processes, in the words of the parents

In this book, he’s compiled all the instructions, all the relevant materials, all the relevant protocols, case studies from different schools, and more. for an effective and influential Parents Association, one that will help to improve education. It also includes a chapter about learning during the Covid pandemic. Given the intense crowding in East Jerusalem schools, the Parents Associations closed schools in East Jerusalem in March 2020, long before schools throughout Israel were closed, and they stayed closed until the end of the 2019 – 2020 school year. This act was seen as a major contributor to a low rate of infection in East Jerusalem during Israel’s first lockdown in March – May 2020.

Parents activities

Parents activities

The guide includes photos from a variety of activities organized and implemented by the Parents Associations. These included:

Even more parent activities

Drawing and essay exhibit

  • Accompanying the construction of a schoolyard in Silwan;
  • Establishment of Facebook pages to build community, encourage discussion among  parents, and document activities;
  • Production of 12th grade graduation ceremonies in Sur Baher;
  • Produced an exhibit of drawings and essays written and drawn by students;
  • Special days for Teacher Appreciation and Family Day at a special education school in Sur Baher;
Even more examples of activities parents produced with schools

Construction of a school yard, and more

There’s also a page that thanks the Leichtag Foundation and to the Jerusalem Foundation who have supported of the Parents Association project. Many thanks!

Thanks to partners

Thanks to partners

And many thanks to Ezadeen! May we have much more success with the Parents Association project!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2021-03-20T08:20:00+00:00February 12th, 2021|Blog, Effective Activism, On Jerusalem, Palestinians/Arabs|

Little Prince – Continuing to Lead Processes toward a Clean City in Jerusalem

The Little Prince (and its website)has been leading processes of cleanliness in Jerusalem since 2017. One of its main objectives has been to engage the Jerusalem Municipality in adopting policies and practices to make Jerusalem a cleaner city. Indeed, the Municipality has followed suit and made a clean Jerusalem one of its highest priorities. In mid-December, the Jerusalem Municipality opened its own clean city page:

https://www.jerusalem.muni.il/he/residents/environment/

The page describes the Municipality’s efforts to make Jerusalem a cleaner city as well as the entire Municipality’s commitment, including that of Mayor Moshe Lion.

Municipal web page on clean city

Municipal web page on clean city

It also includes links to different areas that contribute to a clean city – recycling, city beautification, sanitation, parks, composting, and more.

Ways to help make Jerusalem clean

Ways to help make Jerusalem clean

And it was reported on here, by JICC director Hagai Agmon-Snir:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and the US Embassy in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for its continued support of the Little Prince!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Go to Top