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Jerusalemite Day – Connecting Us To One Another / Celebrating the Diversity of the City

Jerusalem Day, the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar. That day in 1967 that the Israel Defense Forces captured the Old City. Some called it “reunification.” Others called in “occupation.” In all cases, it is etched in the hearts and minds of millions around the world.

For many years thousands descended upon Jerusalem on the 28th of Iyar in celebration of an ideal. But where were the Jerusalemites in these celebrations? Many did not leave their houses. Or they left the city for the day.

Many building blocks to Jerusalemite Day

Many building blocks to Jerusalemite Day

Starting last year, we, together with hundreds of activists and tens of thousands of Jerusalem residents, began to re-claim Jerusalem Day, with a true celebration of Jerusalem and its residents, of every race, ethnic group, religion and community. Our vision sought to create a day to celebrate Jerusalem – of Jerusalemites, by Jerusalemites and for Jerusalemites. Last year, 50 initiatives and thousands of people showed us that such an initiative was answering a real need in many residents hearts and minds. We had started a tradition in one single year. There was already talk of “what we’re going to do next year” before the sun set on A Different Day in Jerusalem 2016.

Our Director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, talked about this in the May 19 edition of the Jerusalem Post’s In Jerusalem section:

Jerusalem Post, In Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post, In Jerusalem

“This is our second year, which is really great. Last year people thought we were crazy, but now we have made it clear that it is the right thing to do.”

You can download a .pdf version here.

And then we we came to 2017. This year we called the day, Jerusalemite Day of Diversity.

Here’s a 2-minute video about some of the day’s 80 events:

Here’s a version in Hebrew/Arabic as well. There is also a dedicated web site with all the events, and here’s a complete list of  the events in English.

This year was even more complicated than last, being 50 years since the 1967 war.  One of the most often-used phrases  this year has been: “ירושלים – עיר שחוברה לה יחדיו – Jerusalem – A city that has been joined together” – (Psalms 122: 3)

Many use this phrase in the political sense, describing the reunification of Jerusalem. This year, we emphasized a different, non-political reading of the Hebrew verb, לחבר – lechaber, which encapsulates in one word our vision for Jerusalemite Day of Diversity.

Connecting through knitting in the Katamonim

Connecting through knitting in the Katamonim

In addition to ‘join together,’ lechaber also means ‘to connect.’  This is exactly what we are trying to do in Jerusalemite Day of Diversity.  In this Times of Israel blog post, Michal Shilor, our Coordinator for the Campaign for Grassroots Tolerance, wrote:

“we seek to connect residents to each other – neighbor to neighbor, community to community, people to people. When we connect to one another, we find common ground, argue about differences and see one another as individuals and not representatives of an entire community.”

As in most successful initiatives, Jerusalemite Day of Diversity wasn’t born in a day. In February we sent out a call for initiatives, asking residents to propose activities / initiatives / ideas for Jerusalemite Day, and in March we had our first Open Technology meeting for planning. Since then, we’ve been working with dozens and dozens of activists, helping them to plan, produce, and carry out their initiatives. Itamar Farhi, a Jerusalem storyteller who organized an evening of storytelling at the Shutaf Cooperative, noted that

What makes me love Jerusalem more than anything else is its variety and its contradictions, which are interwoven together, Arabs Haredim, secular, religious Jews, Muslims, Christians, people from all ethnicities and of all types. Together they create a special shatnes [mixture]. Sometimes it’s complicated and disheartening, but sometimes, it creates magical and special moments like yesterday [at the story telling evening].

Our job was to spark and mentor the passion of activists, spotlight and showcase their activities, and re-frame the whole to make one beautiful celebration of Jerusalem and its spectrum of residents. And the vast range of activities throughout the Day sought to do just this. You could choose from playing sports, such as soccer with Jewish and Arab girls in Hapoel Katamon’s Neighborhood League Tournament,

Religious and secular, Jewish and Arab girls playing soccer

Religious and secular, Jewish and Arab girls playing soccer

and martial arts on the midrachov (Ben Yehuda St. In west Jerusalem’s city center) with Mosaica,

All passersby welcome to learn ju jiistu

All passersby welcome to learn ju jiistu with “Mosaica”

To tours of Jerusalem’s urban centers in both East and West Jerusalem with Ir Amim,

With Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

With Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

of Mount Zion as a symbol for the complexities of Jerusalem with Window to Mount Zion,

With our very own Window to Mt Zion

With our very own Window to Mt Zion project

on the seam line between Haredi and non-Haredi Jerusalem by Tarbus,

Between Haredi and non-Haredi Jerusalem

Focusing on Nahlaot, Jaffa Road, Mekor Baruch

of the National Library

"City of Dreams" Exhibit at the National Library

“City of Dreams” Exhibit at the National Library

and of Jerusalem from the viewpoint of African refugees and asylum seekers, by members of the Jerusalem African Community Center.

By the Jerusalem African Community Center

With active residents from the Jerusalem African Community Center

You could also choose to see performances. There was Bat Hur at Beit Hansen,

Bat Hur at Beit Hanson

Bat Hur at Beit Hansen

Beit Alliance,

"Heroes" by religious male dance troupe, Between Heaven and Earth

“Heroes” by religious male dance troupe, Between Heaven and Earth

the Abraham Hostel,

Souls (Nefashot) – Coping through Art

Souls (Nefashot) – Coping through Art

The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem (Click here to go to the project’s web site),

50 Years 50 Faces Project

50 Years 50 Faces Project, 50 short films about Jerusalemites

Wandering Around the House, on roofs in the Old City

Wandering around the House

Wandering around the House, short play in which a Palestinian man and a Jewish woman choose to take an open place and claim it as their house

at the Museum of Italian Jewry,

Staged Reading of ‘Everything Private,’ play based on meeting minutes of the Barashi synagogue’s board in Nahlaot

Staged Reading of ‘Everything Private,’ play based on meeting minutes of the Barashi synagogue’s board in Nahlaot

And the First Station.

My Heart is in the East – Jerusalem in the Eyes of North African Liturgy

My Heart is in the East – Jerusalem in the Eyes of North African Liturgy

There was also a movie marathon at the Ma’ale School of Television, Film and the Arts.

Student films that dealt with and take place in Jerusalem, covering the entire spectrum of lifestyles

Student films that dealt with and take place in Jerusalem, covering the entire spectrum of lifestyles

There were also a number of lectures and discussions, including discussions with Haredim, new Harediam and the formerly religious,

Israelis of Ethiopian descent, describing their sometimes arduous aliyah stories,

To discussions about Jerusalem

Holiness and Politics: Jerusalem of Three Religions – A panel by the Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue (Formerly JCRC)

Holiness and Politics: Jerusalem of Three Religions – A panel by the Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue (Formerly JCRC)

And of course we can’t leave out the major events in the public sphere. The Jerusalemite Parade, with 3,000 marchers along the Jerusalem Railway Park, was one of the major events.

All Jerusalemites marching along the Jerusalem Railway Park

All Jerusalemites marching along the Jerusalem Railway Park

Along the way, marchers were invited to design cookies that represented their Jerusalem, a tolerant Jerusalem:

Cookie decorated with, "Everyday Jerusalem," produced by Jerusalem Cake Design

Cookie decorated with, “Everyday Jerusalem,” produced by Jerusalem Cake Design

In parallel, cookie and cake designers from all over the world were invited to design cookies for Jerusalemite Day, in an initiative called, “Let’s Bake a Difference.” Here’s an example from a decorator from Malaysia:

"With the support of peace, respect, hope, gratitude and loves bloom the flower of tolerance in Jerusalem," commented the artist

“With the support of peace, respect, hope, gratitude and loves bloom the flower of tolerance in Jerusalem,” the artist wrote

Afterward, participants were invited to take part in the Believers festival at the First Station.

Believers – An evening of inter-religious prayer and listening circles, on listening and the Holy City, with Kehillat Zion, Marsh Dondurma, Tahrir Eastern Bar and the Yerushalmim Movement, and Arab and secular and Haredi Jewish leaders.

An evening of inter-religious prayer and listening circles, on listening and the Holy City, and Arab and secular and Haredi Jewish leaders.

Nearby, residents of the Katamonim neighborhood celebrated their Jerusalem-ness with workshops on knitting, kubbeh-making, songs and dances, and much more.

Making kubbeh with Hannah

Making kubbeh with Hannah

In town, there was of course the 200-strong Flower Parade organized by Tag Meir, that distributed flowers to the Palestinian residents of the Old City, before the Flag Parade.

Gathering with flowers before going into the Old City

Gathering with flowers before going into the Old City

At the light rail station at Safra Square, the Ruach Nachon pre-Army Preparatory Program operated the Tolerance Stop, which greeted passersby with music and activity to demonstrate the necessity of working together.

Working together, building Jerusalem

Working together, building Jerusalem

Further on down the light rail, at Davidka Square, we, together with the Citypass company (that runs the light rail) and Lego, ran a station that invited passersby to build their Jerusalem out of Lego. (There were even specially-painted gold Lego pieces to build Jerusalem of Gold!)

Diverse Jerusalemites building Jerusalem from lego

Diverse Jerusalemites building Jerusalem from lego

People built the Calatrava Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem

Do you know how many times this fell apart before it worked?

Do you know how many times this fell apart before it worked?

A mosque

Building all parts of Jerusalem

Building all parts of Jerusalem

And even “Jerusalem” in Chinese! (this has been checked for accuracy with a fluent Chinese-speaker)

Jerusalem in Chinese

Jerusalem in Chinese

Nearby at the Alliance Building there were more celebrations with the Jerusalem for All of Us festival, which featured a stage for Jerusalemite performers, a panel on Jerusalem entrepreneurship, stands selling art, art installations and a poetry slam.

Jerusalem for All of Us

Jerusalem for All of Us

Close to the Ben Yehuda midrechov, Shir Ezra, working independently, wrote questions about Jerusalem on a large white sheet, such as: Is Jerusalem open? Is it tolerant? Does it represent us all? She invited passersby to write their answers, also on the sheet. She reported that many interesting discussions arose from this activity.

Is Jerusalem reunited? Tolerant? Open?

Is Jerusalem reunited? Tolerant? Open?

And in the Haredi neighborhood of Mekor Baruch, graffiti artist Salomon Souza led Haredi boys and girls in decorating the walls of their neighborhood, with a number of onlookers.

Organized by the Artists Shelter that works in the area

Organized by the Art Shelter Gallery that works in the area

After all those pictures, here’s the 2 minutes video again:

The event was also covered in the press. In addition to the Jerusalem Post article above, there were a number of articles in the Hebrew Israeli press before and after the event. This included a mention in the May 17 edition of the national  Ha’aretz daily newspaper, in both its Internet and print versions. Here’s a picture of the print article. You can download the .PDF version here.

First page, Ha'aretz Article

Ha’aretz Article, “A New Agenda for Jerusalem Day”

And here’s the second page:

Second Page, Ha'aretz article

Second Page, Ha’aretz article

This article quotes JICC Director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir:

The point is that Jerusalemites are saying that they want to take back the day for themselves. I’m a Jerusalemite, what does this discussion about moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem have to do with me? We don’t want to argue about whether we re-unified or occupied. We want to celebrate the diversity of the city.

On May 18, we appeared in Globes, a major national financial newspaper:

Globes article

Globes article

 

In addition, Michal Shilor was interviewed in Hebrew on the national Galei Zahal radio station on May 22, (minute 5.30).

Hagai was also interviewed (in Hebrew) on the national Educational Television station:

There were also stories in the local Hebrew-language Jerusalem news site about the Lego initiative and the wall art. In addition, Eetta Prince-Gibson wrote about us in her opinion piece for Moment magazine, “It’s Hard to Celebrate on Jerusalem Day.”

Over 80 initiatives, tens of thousands of people, celebrating Jerusalem’s diversity. Can’t wait for next year!

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of this and other activities that promote tolerance throughout the year. And a huge thanks to all the organizations, initiatives, activists and participants who took part! Thank you for helping to make Jerusalem a city that represents all Jerusalemites.

 

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Why a Community Cleanup Operation is Such a Big Deal

Community clean up operations are always good – they show citizen involvement, a desire for the resident-on-the-street to make a noticeable different in his or her immediate surroundings, more pleasant environment. But sometimes, they represent much, much more.

Cleaning up, repairing stairs in Ras al-Amud

Cleaning up, repairing stairs in Ras al-Amud

The community clean-up that took place in Ras al-Amud in mid-May by students of the Boys Comprehensive Junior  / Senior High School, is one of those cases. For the first time, this community clean-up operation was organized and overseen by a newly-trained Parents Association.

Continuing to work

Continuing to work

Over the past year, we’ve been working, steadily and surely, with Parents Associations in Ras al-Amud and Silwan, as well as in Sur Baher. This work has included training on the rights and obligations of the Parents Association, on how to hold meetings and elect members, on potential work directions, and more. Slowly but surely, Parents Associations have been formed in 5-6 individual schools, plus central Parents Associations in each of the neighborhoods to coordinate efforts. Successes include:

  1. Organizing a graduation ceremony at a school in Ras al-Amud after the principal decided not to organize one.
  2. Organizing the community clean-up operation seen above
The stairs after. Well done!

The stairs after. Well done!

After the Ramadan holiday, all Parents Associations are already gearing up for the upcoming school year, creating lists of repairs that need to be made, setting out potential activities that can be organized and implemented, and more. May this be the beginning of fruitful partnership of the parents in East Jerusalem in their children’s education.

Many thanks to the Leichtag Foundation for its support of this program.

 

 

 

 

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Wouldn’t You Like to Know What He’s Saying?

Doesn’t this tour look interesting?

It’s on Salah a-Din St. in East Jerusalem, where Jerusalem’s Ramadan cannon is located. The Ramadan cannon is traditionally used to announce the end of the daily fast during the Ramadan month.

This past week, our veteran Arabic teacher, Dr. Anwar Ben-Badis, took students on a tour of cemetery, where Jerusalem’s Ramadan cannon is located. Since they’ve been studying Arabic all year, his talk was of course, in Arabic.

Looking to learn Arabic for communication? Feel free to sign up for our 2017-2018 courses. (Click here for the online form in Hebrew.) But hurry! Places are filling fast!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of our language courses.

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MiniActive Women Leading Ramadan Food Drive

MiniActive never stops. Not even for the month-long Ramadan holiday. During this time, which commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, many Muslims fast during the day and eat before dawn and after sunset. It is considered a festive month, so although Muslims do not eat during the day, much time, effort and food are invested in preparing the nightly evening meals, (or Iftar).

Food ready to be divided up

Food ready to be divided up as part of a MiniActive food distribution project

Given the severe socio-economic standing of most Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem – some 80% live beneath the poverty line – the month of Ramadan can often be a difficult financial burden. In response to this difficulty, the MiniActive network ran a Ramadan food drive for 100 needy families during the first week of June. MiniActive women not only led the drive, they were the ones who donated and collected the foodstuffs. Afterward, the MiniActive staff prepared and distributed the packages.

Baked goods waiting to be distributed

Baked goods waiting to be distributed

Foodstuffs were distributed through baskets and re-usable shopping bags. Packages included staples such as flour, salt, sugar, rice and oil and pasta, canned goods as well as other goodies, that will make their Iftar meals festive occasions.

Food packages ready to go

Food packages ready to go

Ramadan Kareem!

Here’s 0202’s English translation of the original Facebook post:

And here’s the original Facebook post in Arabic:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive project!

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Learning Arabic through Living It

There’s nothing better in learning a language than living it. What more fun can it be than to live the language than by taking a tour in it, on Arabic heritage?

Touring the Nature Museum

Touring the Nature Museum

This is what 173 out of our 220 students of Arabic did over the past few weeks – taking part in tours of the Dean’s House at the Natural History Museum in the Talbiyeh neighborhood.

Or they heard a lecture by journalist and author Makbulah Nassar from the village of Arabeh in the north of Israel.

Speaking to Arabic classes

Speaking to Arabic classes

She spoke about the Arab woman in Israel from a journalist’s standpoint, as well as from a woman’s standpoint, to about 60 Arabic students.

Listening intently to the lecture

Listening intently to the lecture

Interested in learning Arabic for yourself? Registration for the 2017 – 2018 is already underway. But hurry! Places are filling fast! Click here for the registration forms (in Hebrew).

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

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Santé Israël – Leading Francophone Public Health Awareness in Jerusalem

There are many French-speaking associations and professionals to help the Francophone immigrants in the city. However, only one – Santé Israël – has a comprehensive view of all health-care issues, and how they specifically affect Jerusalem’s French-speaking population.

French speaking health care fair at Ginot Ha'Ir Community Council

French speaking health care fair at Ginot Ha’Ir Community Council

For this reason, Santé Israël, together with the Ginot Ha’Ir Community Center, the Municipal Absorption Authority, and others, held a “Health in French” happening at the Ginot Ha’ir Community Center on May 22.

Proper brushing - very important!

Proper brushing – very important!

The event presented a number of associations and professionals for French-speaking immigrants, as well as activities for all ages. Magen David Adom was there with an ambulance, distributing information and presenting a first aid seminar. The different HMO’s were there, presenting the different services they offer for French speakers. Representatives of the municipal health services such as a local well-baby clinic and dental clinic, French-speaking opticians, the French Pharmacy, and a range of alternative therapy practitioners were also on hand to demonstrate their techniques. Representatives of immigrant organizations were there as well for further assistance. The children enjoyed jumpy castles, large bubbles and games run by the Jerusalem Lions football club.

Magen David Adom - in French too!

Magen David Adom – in French too!

Some 50 members of the Pharmadom Foundation came to the fair as part of their annual visit to Israel. They met and mingled with the professionals as well as with participants.

In preparation for the event, Santé Israël Director, Marie Avigad, was interviewed on the Radio Studio Qualita. Here she spoke about the work of Santé Israël, and the upcoming event:

 

Here’s the post (in French) about the event:

Many thanks to the to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

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MiniActive – Continuing to Go International

Do you know where Brno is? Did you know that Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic (pop. 380,000) with a considerable population of Roma (est. 15,000 – 17,000), most of whom live in abject poverty?

City of Brno

City of Brno

We reported here about a delegation from an organization from Brno, Czech Republic, who work with the Roma (gypsy) population there, who came to Jerusalem to learn about MiniActive.

In April, Intisar, director of the MiniActive program, and Daud, director of the Atta’a Center, traveled to Brno to provide workshops and hands-on learning to representatives of the IQ Roma organization, one of the largest organizations that works with the Roma population in Brno.

The IQ Roma building in Brno

The IQ Roma building in Brno

It was quite an intensive, 3-day trip. The IQ Roma organization has been working with the Brno Municipality for the past 12 years, includes a rights department, a welfare department and a child care / development center. Intisar  met with professionals, activists and residents. She learned about the Roma population through these meetings, as well as through a trip to the Museum of Romani Culture, which is housed in Brno. She toured the houses and apartment buildings where the Roma population lives (mainly public housing). She answered questions – lots of questions – about the process of the MiniActive program, about challenges, personal and professional, that she encountered, about achievements that they’ve accomplished.

Meeting with residents

Meeting with residents

Through these visits, Intisar learned about the similarities and differences between the Roma population of Brno and the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. They both feel that they are suffering both because of the government actions (or lack thereof) and because of the actions of individuals in their own communities. Both populations have high rates of poverty. However, in contrast to the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, the Roma population does not have a sense of belonging to Brno or the Czech Republic, nor is education for their children a high priority.

Presenting MiniActive

Presenting MiniActive

The latter part of her visit was dedicated to exploring if and how principles learned through MiniActive can be applied in Brno. This included meetings with the person in charge of dealing with the Roma population in Brno and his staff, none of whom were Roma themselves. One of the first recommendations (that was accepted) was to hire a member of the Roma community, to be able to better understand their needs on the ground.

Presenting even in IQ Roma's in-house cafe

Presenting even in IQ Roma’s in-house cafe

Intisar also became part of municipal policy planning for the Roma community. Most of the Roma receive welfare payments, but are required to do 20 monthly hours of community service in order to qualify. She, together with the municipal staff, began planning a program that would include cleaning public areas as part of the required community service. It is hoped that by starting with small steps and the satisfaction of seeing results quickly, will spurn further action and hope for the future.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive and the Atta’a Center programs.

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The Little Prince – Rolling Up Our Sleeves

We all have our differences but one thing that unites us – Arabs, religious, secular and Haredi Jews – is garbage. After years of working in the neighborhoods and speaking with residents from all populations about what they want to change, one thing always comes up – and it’s garbage. Inspired by the successes of our MiniActive project and its ‘We won’t live in filth!’ campaign, the Little Prince project seeks to help all communities in Jerusalem deal with their garbage.

150 people talking garbage

150 people talking garbage

An initial meeting was held in March at our offices on Mount Zion, which set the tone for this unique project. A true mix of the Jerusalem population – 1/3 Arabs, 1/3 secular/ religious Jews, 1/3 Ultra-Orthodox Jews – came to draw the broad strokes of the project.

Discussing ways to take care of garbage - together as well as separately

Discussing ways to take care of garbage – together as well as separately

On Wednesday, May 3, we rolled up our sleeves, and got down to work.

150 people came – 150 people who care about garbage! This included deputy mayors, the Haredi Deputy Mayor who is in charge of sanitation, the professional director of the municipal sanitation department, a number of members of city council, both from the coalition and from the opposition, lay leadership from a range of community centers, active residents, and more. Indeed, since the meeting they’ve been true to their word, helping us to help residents take care of our garbage.

Including Deputy Mayors and City Council Members

Including Deputy Mayors and City Council Members

“I’m participating this evening…in an amazing initiative of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center,” wrote Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovich. “Those who dream of making a change in the field of clean streets in Jerusalem.” Here’s his Facebook post (Hebrew):

Yael Yechieli, Director of Jewish Pluralism programs at Shatil, happened to be in the Beit Alliance building, lecturing another group about activism. “I was telling them that the first condition for activism is when something gets you mad. The second condition is that other people tell you that you have no chance of succeeding and you ignore them. Then I remembered about the meeting and went downstairs to see more than 100 people, who had gotten mad about dirty streets, and who had been told that there’s no chance they’d succeed. What a wonderful coincidence.”

Here’s her Facebook post (in Hebrew):

This project is unique in that, on the one hand, it encourages different populations to work together. On the other hand, much of the work is done within individual communities. The initiatives are as diverse as Jerusalem’s populations – there are those aimed at individuals, those aimed at neighborhoods, those aimed for implementation citywide. There are those that deal with specific aspects of keeping the city clean (signs, garbage cans), and there are those that are more general (developing an interactive app). Each participant can choose whether he or she wants to work with the ‘other,’ solely advance his or her community, or do both. The true beneficiary – all Jerusalemites. Here are some examples of projects that are being advanced:

  • Connecting – connecting residents with municipal workers through creating a mobile app that will connect and update all factors involved – municipal departments, residents,
  • “Two Pieces of Garbage” campaign – a public awareness campaign to encourage each resident to pick up at least two pieces of garbage a day
  • Adopt a street
  • Adaptation of street cleaning according to special needs in East Jerusalem
  • Our Signs – ensuring that public signage is clean and free from defacing
  • Twinning neighborhoods – enabling two neighborhoods that are similar in character to plan and brainstorm together
  • Clean Neighborhood Committees in individual communities
  • Adopting public sites by local schools
  • Public awareness campaign, “Leave it the way you found it,” on returning garbage cans to their place, with the lids down
  • Increasing reports to 106 municipal hotline
  • Community cleaning events
  • Increasing recycling

Keep updated here for more updates on this amazing program.

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MiniActive Hebrew Courses End another Successful Year

In today’s Jerusalem reality, to get things done – at the Municipality, at the water, telephone or electric companies – you need to know Hebrew.

Learning Hebrew as a tool for communication

Learning Hebrew as a tool for communication

Last year, as part of MiniActive’s efforts to provide professional development to its participants, and in order to improve the women’s effectiveness, they began participating in weekly Hebrew courses, offered by Speaking Hebrew, which takes place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Last year 150 women and teenagers took part. This year, over 200 studied Hebrew from MiniActive!

In class

In class

Last week, they held a year-end party for 300 participants and their families, volunteer teachers, and everyone involved in the program.

Graduation ceremony at Hebrew University

Graduation ceremony at Hebrew University

There were congratulatory speeches.

MiniActive Director, Intisar, speaking at graduation

MiniActive Director, Intisar, speaking at graduation

Graduation certificates were distributed.

Very proud of their accomplishments

Very proud of their accomplishments

And the women shared the fantastic food that they’d prepared for the party.

Fitting finale to a fantastic year

Fitting finale to a fantastic year

The women told of how fun it was to learn in the classes – not the standard frontal lessons, but also games and other interactive methods.

The first of many steps to Hebrew fluency

The first of many steps to Hebrew fluency

See you next year!

Here’s the Facebook post (in Arabic):

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support for this project.

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Cultural Competency in Rights Realization Citywide

Why do Arab residents from East Jerusalem utilize volunteer rights centers in West Jerusalem? What’s the difference between a Haredi person’s usage of B’Ezrat Hashem (With God’s help) or Bli Neder (God willing)? And how would you deal with these questions if faced with a real-life situation?

Listening to a very interesting lecture

Listening to a very interesting lecture

Some 30 volunteers who work in the Municipality’s rights realization centers from throughout the city participated in introduction to cultural competency workshops resented by our Director of the Cultural Competency Desk, Orna Shani, on April 30.  This workshop focused not on the specific answers to these questions, but rather on how to handle the range of cultures and ethnicities that are served by the municipal rights centers. Rights centers are operated by the municipal welfare department, part of the Social Services Division of the Jerusalem Municipality that is undergoing a process of becoming culturally competent. You can read more about this process here and here.

The volunteers learned about the principles of cultural competency, about different meanings of common phrases that often seem to mean the same thing, about what to do when a volunteer has pre-conceived notions about a particular group of people, the different types of requests from different types of people, and more. All in a process to help more of Jerusalem’s diverse populations gain access to rights guaranteed them by law.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of Cultural Competency in Jerusalem.

 

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