Effective Activism

Put on Your Tolerance Hat! Tolerance Week – November 10 – 18

November 16 is International Tolerance Day. But there are so many activities advancing tolerance in Jerusalem, why limit it to only one day? Last year we asked a simple question in our JerusalemTolerance Listserv: How many people are doing things to celebrate Tolerance Day? In a very short period of time we had a list of 15 activities.

How many events this year?

How many events this year?

And thus Tolerance Week was born. This year there are 25 public events, and another 6-7 specially-organized events that are not open to the general public. All of these events are being planned and organized by local activists and organizations. Thank you to all Jerusalemites who are making Jerusalem tolerant! Only in Jerusalem has International Tolerance Day turned into and entire week of activities advancing tolerance…

And of course, many thanks to to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support in advancing tolerance in Jerusalem!

Here’s the full list of events in English:

Friday, Nov 10
9 AM // A joint Arab-Jewish 5 KM race – Runners Without Borders
https://www.facebook.com/events/179477922622647/

Sunday, Nov 12
9 AM // Coffee and Cake, Talmud and Hadith
For those who like to start their week with a good, strong coffee with cardamom and deep philosophic discussions on the eternal topics which bothered even the old wise scholars of the Talmud and Hadith. Add to this some home-made vegan cakes and cosy central location between the East and West of Jerusalem, at Kids4Peace Jerusalem.
RSVP with Ruth
Details here >> https://www.facebook.com/events/128517611247139/

8:30 PM // Face to Face – Mashiv HaRuach host a panel with three Jerusalmite poets in a conversation about the opportunities that arise out of meeting “the other”, at Tmol Shilshom.
https://www.facebook.com/events/233350757199428

Monday, Nov 13
4:30 PM // Arabic-Hebrew language exchange. Space is limited, reserve with Yiftach at marhabagetz@gmail.com.

Tuesday, Nov 14
All day // Dialogue in a Mixed City Conference
https://www.facebook.com/events/286720865156604/

10:00 AM // A special Praying Together in Jerusalem gathering during the Dialogue in Mixed Cities Conference.
Details here >> https://wordpress.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ea237027dafc795a8aa23fdc7&id=445a54711b&e=966f8fffa3

4:50 PM // Tolerant Light Rail Tour – The light rail is the city’s tolerant backbone, connecting between different communities in the city. Come meet the communities that live in Jerusalem that might not live on our street.
https://www.facebook.com/events/2019669138309244/

5 PM // Kids4Peace Jerusalem invite high school youth to a special conference about solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For more information >> bar.rappaport@k4p.org.

8 PM // 0202 Presents: An Evening With Jerusalem’s Haredi Press. How are behind-the-scenes decisions made in the fast moving and contentious world of Haredi media? How does the Haredi population – constituting a third of Jerusalem’s population and an indispensable societal and cultural force within our city – express itself in print and online? All this and more will be discussed with two veterans of the Haredi media world: Yitzhak Matityahu Tennenbaum, editor of Hamodia newspaper and Moshe Grylak, editor of the Mishpacha magazine.
https://www.facebook.com/events/181901239026877/

8:30 PM // Secular and Haredi Jerusalemites talk about the Army – Tarbus invites us to a discussion about the army with Yaakov Weiss from the Jerusalemite Peleg, Itzik Whiskey from the Haredi Unit, secular blogger Shalom Bogoslavksy, and Haredi journalist Eli Bitan.
https://www.facebook.com/events/128794647787455

Wednesday, Nov 15
All day // Dialogue in a Mixed City Conference
https://www.facebook.com/events/286720865156604/

7 PM // The Ex-Religious – an intersectoral conversation about leaving the religious world, hosted by Out for Change.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1629489057071705/

8 PM // Sign Language Workshop and conversation about the hearing-impaired life at Hamifletzet Pub.
https://www.facebook.com/events/158014634935962/

8 PM // Storytelling – Stories about tolerance at HaButke.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1688019527895503

8 PM // Inter-Feast – An Inter-Feast is an opportunity for people who are passionate about their foods, cultures and identities and who have an urge to share them with others interested in listening. Sitting down for a meal is one of the most natural and impactful human connectors. The memories, nostalgia and foundational identities derived from the diverse foods and flavors from our traditions are meaningful, worth keeping and most importantly – worth sharing. I invite you to come and experience an evening filled with meaningful discussion, homemade food and wonderful people.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1922582034433733/

8:30 PM // Stories on the Way at Shira Meirson’s house in the Katamonim, in light of the Sigd holiday. Come hear the personal story of an Ethiopian Oleh!
http://www.sipur.org.il/page.php?type=event&id=5454

Thursday, Nov 16
10:30 // Joining the Sigd Holiday at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, together with Tali Ysia from Open Holidays.
https://www.facebook.com/events/227779467759541/

12:30 – 18:00 // Kehilat Zion invites us to volunteer at the thrift store that brings together Christians, Muslims, and Jews from East and West Jerusalem.
https://www.facebook.com/events/300029750403413/

2 PM // The Roma Club Gerusalemme soccer practice – come see the weekly soccer practice where Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian kids play weekly. Must coordinate with Samuel –
giannetti@012.net.il.

3 PM // Beyond the Shuk – Ir Amim in a special tour about daily life in East Jerusalem.
https://www.facebook.com/events/384712788624045

7 PM // Souls Meet – A special meeting with people with mental disabilities through games, music and soup.
https://www.facebook.com/events/165104120743269/?

7:30 PM // Sigd Celebration at Beit Avi Chai
http://www.bac.org.il/music/sdarot/hvggym-at-hasygd-bbyt-aby-hy

7:30 PM // White Night at the Museum of Islamic Art with a special Jewish-Arab backgammon tournament.
https://www.facebook.com/events/128224907946278/
https://www.facebook.com/events/124527448228356/

Friday, November 17
2 – 4 PM // Jerusalem Stories – Let’s rebuild our sense of human connection by sharing and listening to eachother’s personal stories about Jerusalem. Come together to share at least 2 minutes of personal Jerusalem story-telling with a stranger. In Jerusalem, with this event, we can begin to acknowledge each and one of us as human beings and Jerusalemites in all our rich diversity.
https://www.facebook.com/events/704992389695528/

//Coming Soon//
A widespread campaign to learn basic Yiddish and Arabic, by Tag Meir.

//Events not open to the public//
– Tolerance activities for schools at the Museum of Islamic Art
– Stories on the Way at Argentina Elementary School
– Sigd activities at Evelina de Rothschild Middle and High Schools
– Sigd activities at Dror High School
– Meeting various Jerusalemite figures from all backgrounds at Harel High School
– 5 meetings with children and parents of the Kids4Peace Jerusalem branch.

And here’s the Facebook event:

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MiniActive – Teaching First Aid for Teachers and for the General Public

As in the past, this year MiniActive is again offering a range of courses to help participants as mothers, and to grow as people.

Teaching critical first aid to educators

Teaching critical first aid to educators

Last week, on October 17, 20 teachers and teachers’ aides began a 44-hour advanced first aid course, designed only for educators. This course will be approved and its graduates will be qualified by the Ministry of Education, and it will run until December.

Learning the basics of CPR

Learning the basics of CPR

This is the second such course that MiniActive has offered over the past few months.

Learning First Aid to help their families

Learning First Aid to help their families

In August they held a short, 22-hour introductory course, for 35 Palestinian women from all over East Jerusalem.

Different aspects of urgent first aid care

Different aspects of urgent first aid care

The course consisted of 5, 4 – 4 1/2 – hour meetings. This was one of the first activities held at MiniActive’s new offices in Sheikh Jarrach.

Learning CPR

Learning CPR

All came out of the first meeting enthusiastic for the rest.

Measuring blood pressure, pulse

Measuring blood pressure, pulse

Here’s a Facebook post from the MiniActive Facebook page at the beginning of the 44-hour course:

And at the beginning of the shorter course in August:

And here’s a Facebook post from the end of the August course:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of the MiniActive program!

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0202 in the New York Times!

Congratulations to our mentee 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem! As well as Mekudeshet and Jerusalem Double, all Jerusalem-based initiatives aimed as advancing tolerance in Jerusalem. They’ve been mentioned in the New York Times!

Here’s the opening headline:

Here's the headline

Here’s the headline

Here’s a link to the article online, and the text is below. (You can download a .pdf version here.) It was a great article, not only about 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem, but about a range of activities that are giving hope to those in Jerusalem, and throughout the world. Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their ongoing support of our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem, and to the Leichtag Foundation for the support of 0202.

Here’s the text of the article:

In Jerusalem, Looking for Peace in Backgammon and Music

As the moon rose over the ancient stones on another night, 2,000 people, most of them Israelis but including scores of Palestinians, squeezed onto benches at an outdoor pop concert in Arabic and Hebrew.

Part of the annual Mekudeshet festival, the concert was called “Kulna”— Arabic for “all of us,” and close to the Hebrew “Kulanu” of the same meaning — and was billed as “a night without borders” and a glimpse of “the Middle East of our dreams.”

Just weeks earlier, the Old City and its environs seemed on the verge of explosion, the focus of mass Muslim prayers, protests and bloody clashes prompted by the latest crisis over the Aqsa Mosque compound.

A deadly wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks that broke out two years ago is still fresh in many residents’ minds, and the 50th anniversary celebrations of Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the June 1967 war only accentuated the city’s deep political, religious and social divisions.

Still, after years of impasse in the peace process, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians seem to be searching for creative ways to bypass politics, reaching across the divide to find professional peers, new resources and receptive audiences. And a number of recent events have sought to provide a common language for Israelis and Palestinians here.

On Sunday, thousands of supporters of Women Wage Peace, a Jewish-Arab movement established after the Gaza war of 2014, converged, first in a reconciliation tent in the desert near Jericho in the West Bank, and then at a rally in Jerusalem. And a website, 0202, named for Jerusalem’s 02 telephone area code, translates local news into Hebrew and Arabic.

Riman Barakat, an East Jerusalem-born Palestinian peace activist, is involved in both the Mekudeshet festival and Women Wage Peace. “You may think I’m naïve,” she told a group of Israelis on a recent tour of the seam between East and West Jerusalem, “but there can’t be any other way for me.”

Given the history, organizing anything in this city is a complicated, risky business, particularly if it involves both Israelis from the predominantly Jewish west side and Palestinians from the east, which Israel annexed in a move that was never internationally recognized.

“We understand it’s a risk, and that’s the inspiration,” said Karen Brunwasser, the deputy director of Mekudeshet, adding, “It’s all about showing people, even Jerusalemites, what they have not yet seen.”

The festival producers were in the midst of selling tickets when Israel unilaterally placed metal detectors around the Aqsa Mosque compound, a contested and volatile holy site, after a shooting attack that killed two police officers.

“People were phoning the box office saying they wanted to book, but is it safe?” Ms. Brunwasser said. “These are the liabilities of living in and producing a festival in Jerusalem. But when it works it’s the most extraordinary thing.”

The Kulna concert brought together an eclectic cast of artists. The king of Palestinian rap from the Shuafat refugee camp in northeast Jerusalem teamed up with a Tel Aviv poet of Yemeni descent known as the angry voice of Israel’s Mizrahim, or Jews who hail from North Africa and the Middle East.

An Armenian from Jerusalem’s Old City sang duets with a soulful Arab Israeli singer, and Jews sang in Hebrew and Arabic. An after-party at a club in West Jerusalem featured Palestinian hip-hop artists from East Jerusalem and, in what was probably a first, fellow rappers from Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

One factor contributing to the new collaboration is the so-called Mizrahi awakening of a younger generation connecting with its Arab cultural roots.

The after-party was organized by the Jerusalem disc jockey Ram Spinoza, a.k.a. DJ Ramzy, whose grandmother came from Syria, and who specializes in contemporary Middle Eastern music. Mr. Spinoza, who served in the Israeli Air Force, regularly holds his signature “Monolingua” parties in West Jerusalem’s alternative music venues, letting the music do the talking.

“I stopped hoping for a peace agreement,” Mr. Spinoza said in an interview, “so I do it my own way — I live the peace.” Of the more traditional methods of fostering coexistence in the city, he added: “Dialogue groups are not the best fun. This is fun.”

Mr. Spinoza often hosts Palestinian rappers like the duo Muzi Raps, from the Old City, and Raed Bassem Jabid, from the Palestinian neighborhood of At-Tur on the Mount of Olives. “If you’re looking for peace,” Mr. Jabid said, “you’ll find the peace.”

Even in peacetime, though, attempts to escape politics can be viewed as political. Many Palestinians, for instance, reject what they call cultural normalization with the Israelis.

The Jerusalem-Armenian musician, Apo Sahagian, whose guitar was recently held by the Israeli airport authorities for extra security screening, appeared to be grappling with those sensitivities.

On the day of the Kulna concert, a post appeared on the Facebook page of Apo & the Apostles, Mr. Sahagian’s band, denying rumors that it was scheduled to perform in Jerusalem. The band, most of whose members come from Bethlehem, in the West Bank, declined to comment and the post appears to have been taken down.

The backgammon tournament did break down a few barriers. The idea came about when a group of Israeli and Palestinian activists took a break from a tense brainstorming session and looked for an activity that would let people engage with one another. They ended up playing backgammon.

Karem Jubran, a Palestinian from the Shuafat camp, said his friends came to the tournament for “the love of the game.”

A youth from the camp, Abdullah Jubran, 16, said he had taught himself to play by watching YouTube and hoped to win the 25,000 shekel (almost $7,000) prize. He was knocked out of the competition early, though a friend of his father reached the finals.

Hundreds of players faced off across rows of tables in qualifying rounds in the Armenian and Jewish quarters of the Old City and on the grassy verge outside the Damascus Gate to the Muslim quarter, the scene of numerous attacks in the past two years.

Zaki Djemal, an Israeli of Syrian descent and a founder of the tournament, acknowledged that many of the Israeli players assigned to the Damascus Gate area were frightened and asked to be moved.

But Mr. Djemal said he was not nervous. “It’s a state of mind,” he said.

Here’s the Facebook post from our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance Coordinator, Michal Shilor:

 

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MiniActive – Opening Our Own Offices in East Jerusalem

After 5 full years of fantastic activity, engaging over 1,000 Palestinian women and teenage girls in East Jerusalem, and affecting tens of thousands of Palestinian residents throughout East Jerusalem, MiniActive finally has offices of its own. At the beginning of August, MiniActive began renting its own suite of offices in Sheikh Jarrach.

Welcome to MiniActive's new offices

Welcome to MiniActive’s new offices

MiniActive will continue to operate under the auspices of the JICC. But from now on, the new offices will be the epicenter of MiniActive activity in East Jerusalem.

One of the activities rooms, painted and decorated by MiniActive Youth

One of the activities rooms, painted and decorated by MiniActive Youth

The new space features an office and two larger classrooms –

"Intisar, Program Director," one of the many housewarming presents

“Intisar, Program Director,” one of the many housewarming presents

One that holds about 30 people (above), and one that holds about 40 people (below).

Learning first aid

Learning first aid

Upstairs is the studio (that includes showers and changing rooms) where Zumba and other exercise classes take place that MiniActive uses separately.

Zumba to improve health

Zumba to improve health

The new location is a big plus on all counts. It’s much more centrally located and easier to get to than other locations that activities have been held in. Its rooms are always available, as opposed to needing to work around other centers’ activity schedules. Its setup facilitates more order – more orderly registration, more orderly organizing of classes, more orderly documentation of requests, complaints and campaigns. More order, more professionalism, and we hope, even more success!

More housewarming presents, in green

More housewarming presents, in green

We wish MiniActive and all its participants a wonderful and fruitful year!

And of course, many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of MiniActive.

 

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MiniActive – Day Trip to Haifa and Acre

We’ve mentioned here and here how we like to show our MiniActive volunteers how much we appreciate their hard work and tenacity. On August 27, we did it again.

Enjoying a beautiful August day

Enjoying a beautiful August day

This time, the bus traveled north to Haifa, visiting the Baha’i Gardens,

The Baha'i Gardens, from the top of the hill

The Baha’i Gardens, from the top of the hill

and to Acre.

Acco meets the sea

Acre meets the sea

They also enjoyed a boat ride

Enjoying the water

Enjoying the water

Here’s the Facebook post, in Arabic:

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

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0202 Holiday Bringing Jewish and Muslim Holidays Face to Face

A Jew and a Muslim walk on the streets of Jerusalem and talk – High Holidays?

That’s what happened last Thursday, August 31. Organized by 0202-Points of View from Jerusalem, the tour in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and the Jewish practice of Selichot before the Jewish High Holidays gave participants a first-hand glimpse of events that are central to both religions. Like the Internet and Facebook pages aim to do, the tour led participants into a world that is completely different than their own. A seeming parallel reality of their everyday lives, yet still in their home city of Jerusalem.

Anwar beginning the tour at the New Gate

Anwar beginning the tour at the New Gate

The tour was actually two separate tours, one right after the other. The first tour began outside the New Gate of the Old City. Guides Tamer and Anwar (in two separate groups, since the first group filled up quite quickly) took participants through the Muslim Quarter as the pre-holiday fast ended and the Eid al-Adha festival began. They revealed how the holiday is celebrated by Muslim Jerusalemites.

Tamer took participants on whirlwind tour of different groups in the Old City, as a way to shed light on the its diverse religious make-up.  They walked through the main thoroughfares of East Jerusalem, viewing the wondrous decorations and observing how this part of the city slowly woke up from its day of fasting. As night fell thousands of Jerusalem vendors, musicians, artists, families and performers came to the Old City to celebrate the holiday. As is custom on Eid al-Adha, people were getting haircuts and buying new clothes. Barbershops all over the city were filled to the brim with Muslims coming to get a new trim in honor of the holiday. Tamer also told about his own family traditions during the holiday. Toward the end of the tour Tamer also spoke about the identity of the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem.

When the first tour ended, the second tour, of traditional Selichot prayers in Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, began. Ultra-Orthodox guide Ephraim led the groups. Ephraim took the tour to different yeshivot in order to explain the different practices surrounding Selichot. From Sephardim and Ashkenazim to the Hassidim to Mitnagdim, to the newly religious to kabbalah, they discussed possible parallels between Islam and Judaism. Both tours were riveting.

Ariella Bernstein, Chief of Staff at the Jerusalem Foundation who writes about her weekly Jerusalem unsung heroes, was so moved by the tour that she made the tour guides this week’s My Jerusalem Heroes:

Here’s the text of her post:

       I am not sure that Efraim Levy (אפרים לוי) and Tamer Said would have met without the moon. It’s the moon that sets Jewish and Muslim calendars and it is the coincidence of Muslim and Jewish holidays that brought them together. This weekend, Muslims celebrate the holiday of Eid Al Adha, the “Sacrifice Feast” honoring the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is but a few weeks away and now is a time of serious contemplation.
       Efraim and Tamer honored each others’ faiths last night in a one-of-a kind tour organized by 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem and 0202 – מבט מירושלים החרדית, organizations that offer a glimpse into Jerusalem’s real people. Tamer, a Jerusalem-born Muslim, kicked off the evening as Eid Al Adha holiday celebrations began. Onward they walked as Efraim, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, led the group to take part in “Selichot,” penitential prayers chanted during the late night hours in the month before Rosh Hashana.
       Efraim and Tamer never met before last night yet they walked away with a better understanding of each other. “I learned about Islam’s diversity, its character, and how Eid Al Adha is celebrated,” said Efraim. Tamer saw commonality. “There is a faith-based understanding and acceptance, and what brought me closer was my feeling that I can identify with ultra-Orthodox society,” Tamer explained.
       What amazes me is the humility I heard in their voices, the reluctance in accepting the extraordinary nature of their cooperation. “I don’t think I have much to contribute above anyone else – I’m just an ultra-Orthodox student learning economics,” Efraim proclaimed. “Someone should represent Islam from the Palestinian perspective and talk with Jews on an interfaith level,” said Tamer. For their humility alone, Efraim and Tamer are #MyJLMHeroes this week.
       Your partnership last night was exceptional. You are the epitome of all that is sacred in #Jerusalem. Too bad the world wasn’t here to see it but at least the moon bore witness.

You can access the original post here.

0202 began in 2015 with one Arabic-to-Hebrew page, and received extensive mentoring from the JICC. 0202 has continued to develop, and today it consists of 3 Facebook pages (Arabic – Hebrew, Arabic – English, and Haredi – non-Haredi Hebrew), and reaches 150,000 people each week. Future plans call for 4 constantly-updated pages, tours like this and other events, making all of Jerusalem’s major populations accessible to everyone, world over.  We’re so proud of 0202, and we’re happy to offer them any more help they might need.

Thanks Tamer, Anwar and Ephraim! Thanks 0202 for the fantastic tours! Here’s the photo album that was posted on the 0202 Facebook page:

And many thanks to the Leichtag Foundation and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of 0202-Points of View from Jerusalem and other efforts to promote tolerance in the city.

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Hacking Jerusalem Clean

It all started with #Made in Jerusalem‘s #HackJLM –  a bimonthly series of hackathons, dedicated to helping the tech platforms of a wide variety of nonprofits for social change in Jerusalem – that is helping to advance our Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together program.

Hi-tech for social change at #HackJLM

Hi-tech for social change at #HackJLM

Tal Kligman, the director of “the Little Prince” program, Michal Shilor, our Coordinator for Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance and in-house tech guru, and Lionel Wolberg from the Jerusalem Green Fund put out a call to hackers that they were interested in developing tech-based solutions to garbage problems. At the hackathon, Tal, Michal, Lionel, JICC Director Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir and activist/hi-tech professional Polina Sklyarevsky, met up with a group of techies, and together they brainstormed about who, what and how this project should work.

Pausing to take a group picture

Pausing to take a group picture

During the evening they came up with an idea to develop an extremely simple to use mobile app for trash and other dangerous reports. The idea is that you in one click photograph the spot with your phone and send it directly to the Municipality, which will put it in its work plan to be taken care of. This app will operate in both Hebrew and Arabic. All this, without needing to call (and wait for) the Municipality hotline that deals with these issues. Hopefully, a more advanced version will include automatic GPS coordinates, so that Municipality workers will know exactly where to go. (Here’s a link  to the app that they’re trying to develop.) Right now, they’ve developed the first model of the app, and the backend aspects are now being worked on. We hope to have a beta version very soon.

Here’s a Facebook post about the event:

Here’s what #Made in Jerusalem wrote about the evening.

And here’s a video (in Hebrew) of the experience. This initiative starts at minute 17:

 

Wishing the developers well, and good luck to Little Prince!

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MiniActive Youth – Kicking Off the Year

Even before school starts up again, MiniActive Youth is off to a running start. There are several groups – some are just beginning and receiving introductions to the program. They are also learning about the environment and about recycling.

Receiving an initial introduction

Receiving an initial introduction

There were about 20 – 25 girls in this group. This year, we expect to have such a group meeting every day. (That means some 100 teenage girls!)

Here’s the Facebook post (in Arabic) of the first meeting:

In the second meeting, they continued talking about what kinds of projects they’ll be doing, about leadership, and about other aspects of the program.

Beginning to get down to business

Beginning to get down to business

Here’s the MiniActive Facebook post (also in Arabic) of the second meeting.

A third group worked outside a school in Jebel Mukaber.

Working in Jebel Mukaber

Working in Jebel Mukaber

Next to the school there is a station for school buses, that looked awful.

The bus stop, before

The bus stop, before

Next to it was a (another) makeshift garbage dump.

Do we want this next to our schools?

Do we want this next to our schools?

The girls worked every day for a week in mid-August,

Making the bus stop a nicer place to be

Making the bus stop a nicer place to be

to make the school bus stop look like this.

Much better

Much better

What an amazing difference!

The fence was painted too!

The fence was painted too!

At the same time, MiniActive women have been working since April to try and take care of that garbage next to the school. Finally, their efforts paid off, and this too was cleared away.

Finally! Much better.

Finally! Much better.

Here’s the Facebook post documenting the painting project:

 

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

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MiniActive – A Tale of Two (Former Makeshift) Garbage Dumps

They were smelly times, and they were actually quite dangerous times. Garbage overflowed in huge garbage receptacles and in empty lots throughout East Jerusalem, but they were rarely emptied.  Garbage kept piling up, especially in Kufr Aqeb, and it became a public health hazard. Sometimes, residents burned the trash, just to get rid of it. But that, too, was a public safety and health hazard.

A really horrible sight

A really horrible sight

Until one day, after MiniActive’s almost 2-year ‘We Won’t Live in Filth!‘ campaign, municipal trucks came and emptied the receptacle. And many were happy – for a minute.

 

Until they saw what the garbage trucks had left behind…….A whole lot of garbage, probably enough to fill another truck. And then it became a public health AND safety hazard, as residents started to burn the garbage in an attempt to get rid of it.

 

We called the attention of this ugly sight to city council members and a deputy mayor through the 0202-A View from East Jerusalem Facebook page, and they promised to take care of it. Indeed, a few days later, it was cleared up. Here’s the tractor that was brought in:

Tractors worked hard to clean up

Tractors worked hard to clean up

Congratulations MiniActive! Good job 0202! Here’s the post from the 0202 English page summing up the incident:

 

And in a second achievement, another public health hazard was cleared away this past week in Wadi Joz, also the result of both MiniActive’s campaign. Our director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, told the back story in a Facebook post:

Some time 20 years ago, someone did work with large sewer pipes in Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem. It might have been the East Jerusalem Development Corporation, it might have been the Gichon (or what was before the Gichon, can’t remember exactly when the Gichon was formed). The contractor, who did the public works, just left broken or extra pipes, each of them 2 meters in diameter, in an empty field, and left, together with more building waste from work that had been done. There was no oversight on him.

An empty field with building waste is a great way to attract more building waste, or just plain waste, isn’t it kind of like a garbage can? And in this way, the situation in this field kept getting worse and worse, and the field became a serious safety and health hazard.

Three years ago, some residents had had enough and began to ask that the field be cleaned up. It’s private land, but there’s no doubt that most of the waste was left there from public works. At one point, our MiniActive volunteers in the area took it upon themselves to get the field cleaned up. They turned to the Gichon, who were very polite and explained that it wasn’t them, it was the East Jerusalem Development Corporation. The East Jerusalem Development Corporation said that they have no records from 20 years ago….After the MiniActive volunteers met with everyone, they sat down and wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Municipality, which said something to the effect of, “Look – we weren’t able to find out who’s directly responsible, but at the end of the day it’s Jerusalem – please take responsibility as the Municipality. Research, examine, demand – whatever you think fit – the main thing is that this hazard – which is also a serious safety hazard – is taken care of.”

The Municipality – from the regional cluster director to the Director General’s office – worked very hard to find solutions. And on July 12, there suddenly appeared heavy equipment that came to take the building waste away.

The area, after cleanup

The area, after cleanup

Hats off to MiniActive for another impressive achievement! Hats off to the Jerusalem Municipality for taking responsibility. Here’s a video of the newly-cleaned area:

 

Here’s Hagai’s Facebook post (in Hebrew):

 

And here’s the explanation of the event that was posted on 0202-A View from East Jerusalem:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive network.

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2017-07-30T12:26:59+00:00 July 15th, 2017|Blog, Effective Activism, MiniActive, Palestinians/Arabs|

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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