Gearing Up for Jerusalemite Day

What is your Jerusalem? Who is your Jerusalemite?

This year May 23 and 24 are the days to think about Jerusalem and connect to it. This year, there are dozens and dozens of ways to do it.

Building on last year’s success of A Different Day in Jerusalem, this year we call it: Jerusalemite Day: A Day of the Other.

Jerusalemite Day: Day of the Other

Jerusalemite Day: Day of the Other

How do you want to connect to Jerusalem and its diversity? With tours of the Jewish-Arab seam line, the secular – Haredi seam line? Or Mount Zion, the only site that is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians? Or Jerusalem according to asylum seekers? Commemorating those who perished in the treacherous journey from Ethiopia to Israel? Along the Jerusalem Railway Park or on the Light Rail? At a Kurdish hafla in the Katamonim or a parade on Azza St.?

Right now we have a list of some 70 events. And the list keeps getting longer and longer and longer. See here for the event on Facebook and here for the web site, which is constantly being updated.

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of this program!

And here’s the entire list, updated as of 21.5.17. You can download an English list of events in PDF here:

Tuesday, May 23

15:30 – Hapoel Katamon Neighborhood League  – Year-End Girls Soccer tournament that will include 12 girls soccer teams in grades 4 – 6 from throughout Jerusalem including all sectors – religious, secular, Arab. At the Keshet Sports Field.

15:30 – From Zion Square to Sallah a-DinA Walking Tour of Jerusalem’s Urban Centers.’ A tour that examines connecting and conflict points between the Israeli and Palestinian centers of life in Jerusalem, guided by Eran Tzidkiyahu. Organized by the Ir Amim organization.

16:00  – Weaving – Macrame Workshop with Yaffi Ronen. At the Reading Station, Masryk St.

16:00 Jerusalem: An Ethnic Mosaic: Secular, Religious, Ultra-Orthodox, Arab. Presented by 4 female citizens of the city. Moderated by Daniel Goldman, Chairman of Gesher. Jerusalem Ramada Hotel.

17:00 – Tour of the Interfaith Music Conservatory with Father Alberto. We’ll meet at Damascus Gate and walk together to the conservatory that is within the St. Saviour monastery, which is adjacent to the New Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem.

17:45 Weaving – Macrame Workshop with Yaffi Ronen. At the Reading Station in Mekor Haim.

18:00 – 20:00  – Wandering around the House – A short play in which a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman choose to take an open place and claim it as their house. Come discover what happens afterwards, in a show that expresses the power dynamics of nationality and gender. This event is in English.

18:00 – Curator’s tour of a special exhibit at the Museum on the Seam. The exhibit seeks to examine secular Jewish artists and the influence of Jewish values on them and their art, at the same time looking outward at a new phenomenon of religious artists who draw inspiration from their beliefs and who engage it in a complex dialogue. The exhibit examines the connection between art and faith, both of which deal with the human acknowledgement of the revelation and the need to express it. Cost of the tour: 20 NIS. Pre-registration required.

19:00 – Bat Hur – voices and shadows echo the story of a daughter and mother who were trapped between the walls of Beit Hanson, Jerusalem’s leper colony. Two languages, two actresses, a choir and hidden Jerusalem history. Performance will take place at the Alliance Building.

19:00 – Screening of , “Turn Left at the End of the World,” organized by the Jerusalem Branch of Enosh, the Israeli Mental Health Association. The screening will be followed by a discussion about Jerusalem and welcoming the other. Discussion in Hebrew and English. Shalom Yehuda 29. This event will be held in English and in Hebrew.

19:30 – Martial Arts Advancing Peace – at the El Halev Center.

19:30 – Founder of “Stories on the Way” (Sipur al Haderech), Adv. David (Darsali) Avetta in an intimate discussion about his immigration to Israel, on ‘Yerusalem’ and about the story that an entire community is beginning to tell today. In cooperation with the Israel Association of Community Centers. We’ll meet in Diana Lipton’s house.

19:30 – The Mount Will Answer the Judgment: on Holiness and Sovereignty – The Forum for Regional Thinking invites you to the Researchers’ Community Lounge at the Alliance Building with 2 Jerusalem researchers-Tomer Persiko and Eran Tzidkiyahu, commemorating the 50th Jerusalem Day. We will discuss different perspectives, complimentary and opposing, from which we can look out on the Temple Mount / Al Aqsa.

20:00 – Ask for the Heart of Jerusalem, organized by Out for Change. In honor of Jerusalem Day, Out for Change will bring together two sectors that are intertwined with each other: Haredim and those who were formerly Haredi. We will try to bridge the gaps via a mind that seeks to know and a heart that seeks to listen. The interviewer: Pini Via, who grew up and was raised Haredi, and Mr. Benahu Tevila, a graduate of rabbinic and halakhic law studies, M.A. in Philosophy, Ministry of Education Supervisor for Haredi secondary schools, and an activist in Haredi society.

20:00 – Souls (Nefashot) – Coping through Art.  A special evening in which we’ll try to bridge the gap between the headlines and the stigmas about people with emotional disabilities and their abilities. A variety of performances will tell us about their experiences in special ways: original music, spoken word, stand-up comedy, open galleries, and more. At the Abraham Hostel.

20:00 – Heroes: Dance performance -Israel, Jerusalem and the ‘Others’ within It: Because Israeli-ness isn’t a melting pot – it is the Land of Israel in all its glory, which stretches out to all those who inhabit it, to the edges that don’t connect. The performance is by the Ka’et Ensemble and will take place in the C.A.T.A.M.O.N. studio in the Alliance Building. Cost: 30 NIS

20:30 – My Heart is in the East – Jerusalem in the Eyes of North African Liturgy. Jerusalem liturgy in Hebrew, Moroccan-Arabic and Matruz, by the Paytan Maimon Meny Cohen and a musical ensemble. Organized by Kehillot Sharot.

21:00 – Visions of the Gazan youth – An unofficial meeting with Sami, a freelance journalist and peace activist from Gaza. Join a discussion about the possibility for a better future and the missing dialogue between Israelis and Gazans. This event is in English.

21:00  – Holiness and Politics: Jerusalem of Three Religions – A panel by the Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue (Formerly JCRC) invites us to a workshop in which we’ll examine the character of none other than King David, who appears in holy writings of the three monotheistic religions. Through him, and through the Jerusalem sites that are associated with him (David’s Tomb, for example), we’ll learn about the holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and we’ll attempt to understand the political connections behind that holiness.

21:00 – Bat Hur – voices and shadows echo the story of a daughter and mother who were trapped between the walls of Beit Hanson, Jerusalem’s leper colony. Two languages, two actresses, a choir and hidden Jerusalem history. Performance will take place at the Alliance Building.

21:00 – 02:00 – Ma’aleh Movie Marathon. Ma’ale School of Television, Film & the Arts invites the general public to enjoy a nighttime marathon of the best new graduate movies that are participating in film festival around Israel and the world. The marathon will include films that deal with and take place in Jerusalem, covering the entire spectrum of lifestyles. The movies will be screened throughout the school. Come to a virtual-cinematic tour of the Haredi neighborhood and synagogue communities, through the crowded streets of Nahlaot, the city center, and Talpiot, to the mysterious, hidden monasteries. 20 Shivtei Yisrael St.

Wednesday, May 24

8:00 – Tour of the Rahel Checkpoint – That’s How We Do Zionism, Tolerance and Human Rights – a special tour of the Rahel Checkpoint that connects between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, by the Blue&White Human Rights group. This is a rare opportunity to hear and see up close the reality at the checkpoints, to meet the people from the field and to discover how to combine Zionism and human rights. The tour is free but pre-registration is required.

9:00 – Status Quo in Jerusalem – Tour of Mount Zion – between holy sites, forgotten stories and a delicate status quo, monks, yeshiva students, artists and business owners live side by side. Let’s get to know the viewpoints of the residents and the visitors of Mount Zion, about the shared living there and about the delicate and fascinating cooperation that takes place today. During the tour we will meet with the deputy director of the Diaspora Yeshiva Ely Dan, and Father Daniel, a monk from the Dormition community. The tour is free but pre-registration is required.

9:00 – Jerusalem is Tiptoeing In – The Djanogly Visual Arts Centre is hosting the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education and invites the general public to take part in a unique event that is completely Jerusalemite art – a rich collection of works that weaves the new-old narrative of Jerusalem from its artists’ point of view. Moving through the space we will discover new corners and faces of Jerusalem. We will examine how tensions, feelings and people build yet another story of Jerusalem.

10:00 – Heterotopia in MusraraTour of the Art Trail (for men), of the Studio of Her Own project. Art in the public space in northern Musrara, the third wall. Two tours, one for men (at 10:00) and one for women (11:00), guided by Rabbi Aharon Kedem from the Breslev Hassidim, and Tzipi Mizrachi from the Studio of Her Own.

10:00 – Stories on the Way at the Sieff & Marks Community Center in Beit HaKerem. The group of volunteers of the Shalem Movement will meet with Eitan Penethon for an open discussion about the story of Israelis of Ethiopian descent, on ‘Yerusalem’, and on the possibility to create change in Israeli society.

10:00 – Stories on the Way Discussion Circles – The story of the Ethiopian-Israeli Aliyah, by the Olim themselves. The discussion circles will take place at Mount Herzl, right before the official ceremony that will take place at 11:00.

10:30 – I Saw a City: Jerusalem between Dream and Reality – Tour about Jerusalem in the National Library: We will meet original objects from the Six Day War, we will view the largest stained glass window in Israel, we will become acquainted with the ancient map collection of Jerusalem and we will visit the exhibit, “City of Dreams: Jerusalem from the Imagination’s View,” Jerusalem as seen in the imaginations of Jewish, Muslim and Christian artists.

11:00 – Heterotopia in MusraraTour of the Art Trail (for women), of the Studio of Her Own project. Art in the public space in northern Musrara, the third wall. Two tours, one for men (at 10:00) and one for women (11:00), guided by Rabbi Aharon Kedem from the Breslev Hassidim, and Tzipi Mizrachi from the Studio of Her Own.

11:00 – Official ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished in Sudan. The public is invited to become acquainted with a different story that is commemorated on Jerusalem Day. The ceremony will take place at Mount Herzl. There will be discussion circles, operated by Stories on the Way, on the immigration stories of Ethiopian Jews.

11:30 A special workshop on the secrets of mediation and self-defense. Participants will learn how to correctly handle any conflict through a proper balance of wisdom and listening and action. Operated by the Mosaica Center for Conflict Resolution and The Jerusalem School of Traditional JuJitsu and Self Defense.

12:00 – 16:00 – Tolerance Stop on the light rail line, operated by the Ruach Nachon pre-army preparatory program, in cooperation with the Citypass company that operates the light rail and the Jerusalem Municipality. The stop seeks to create a Jerusalem mosaic and increase tolerance at the Municipality light rail stop.

12:30 I Saw a City: Jerusalem between Dream and Reality – Tour about Jerusalem in the National Library: We will meet original objects from the Six Day War, we will view the largest stained glass window in Israel, we will become acquainted with the ancient map collection of Jerusalem and we will visit the exhibit, “City of Dreams: Jerusalem from the Imagination’s View,” Jerusalem as seen in the imaginations of Jewish, Muslim and Christian artists.

15:00 – Wall art for girls in the Art Shelter studio in the Mekor Baruch neighborhood, together with Solomon, the fantastic graffiti artist! Children (and adults) welcome.

15:30 – 18:30 – The Jerusalem March along the Jerusalem Railway Park, by the Yerushalmim Movement. Jerusalem communities march together and celebrate Jerusalem’s diversity. There will be 3 starting points:

            15:30 – Beneath the Baram Bridge, the long route

            16:00 – Gonenim Park, the general route

            17:15 – Oranim Junction, the Family March

            18:15 – Festive event at the First Station.

The march will be accompanied by Marsh Dondurma, Tahrir Eastern Bar and Kehillat Zion. Activities for children, music, balloons and a range of surprises will be distributed along the route!

16:00 – 21:00 Building Our Own Jerusalem with Lego – A building site for Jerusalemites from all ethnicities, religions and opinions. Building together a tolerant and inclusive Jerusalem from tens of thousands of Lego pieces. At the Davidka Light Rail Station. No Hebrew required.

16:00 – Street Beit Midrash on the Ben Yehudah Midrachov. A special session about tolerance and Jerusalem.

16:00 – Ascension Ceremony at the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives. At 16:00 all the Christian churches will begin their ceremonies. At 16:45 the Catholic Franciscan evening service will begin. It is a Christian ceremony, please come dressed appropriately.

16:00 – Traditional Flower Parade organized by Tag Meir: Light instead of Terror. Let’s distribute flowers to the residents of the Old City.

16:00 – 23:00 – Katatmon’s Wisdom: Katamon Culture in Houses and in the Streets. An entire festival of Katamon-led activity, including neighborhood tolerance activities:

16:30 – 18:00 – “Here There Was…” a tour of the Katamonim neighborhood from the outlook of 3 women from different ethnic backgrounds. Starting from the gat of the Gonenim Park.

17:00 – Writing Workshop: Poetry from Recipes. Recipes from different ethnic groups are written as new Israeli poetry. The workshop will take place at the reading station on the Jerusalem Railway Park.

17:00 – The Parliament. Neighborhood residents from all cultures and ages are invited to the Butka Café to hold a neighborhood parliament, in which we talk about everything.

17:00 – 19:00 – Katamon Portrait. Neighborhood residents take pictures of themselves next to the Well-Baby Clinic.

17:30 – 19:30 – A Knit – A Space for Knitting. A simple space for knitting and learning how to knit, regardless of religion, creed or gender.

18:00 – Ethnic cooking workshops in residents’ homes. Learning about the dish as well as how to prepare Ingra with Abbebe and Kubbeh with Hannah.

18:00 – Kurdish Hafla – A Kurdish dance party with food.

18:00 – Meeting at the Beit Midrash – Asking for Peace of Jerusalem. The Matan women’s Beit Midrash opens its doors for joint learning for women from all backgrounds.

18:15 – Women’s Song: Vocal Creations as an Agent of Change. Vocal artist Faye Shapiro will tell about the “Rivers of Katamonim” project that she led with older women, together with young artists. It will meet at the Gonenim Community Center, and include vocal work and singing.

19:00 – Ethiopian Celebration – songs, dances, food, in the plaza in front of the minimarket on San Martin St.

19:30 – Choosing to Feel Well. Loneliness is a cross-cultural experience. We will hear about Alan’s project, which creates an inviting space for everyone to deal with loneliness together.

19:30 – Singing together songs from Israel and different ethnic groups. Organized by the Singing in the Garden initiative, in San Simon Park.

19:30 – 21:00 – Katamon Portrait 2 – Taking pictures of ourselves in San Simon.

17:00 – Wall art for boys in the Art Shelter studio in the Mekor Baruch neighborhood, together with Solomon, the fantastic graffiti artist! Children (and adults) welcome.

17:00 – 50 Years, 50 Faces – An opening festive event marking the documentary project of the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, commemorating 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, presenting 50 personal stories of Jerusalem residents from all its corners, from the time directly after the 1967 war. It will include video clips, interviews, text and original pictures.

17:00 – Everything Private: Prayers, Stories and Staged Reading of ‘Everything Private’. A play based on meeting minutes of the Barashi synagogue’s board in Nahlaot. The minutes combine the holy with the everyday, and touch on practical details from the everyday life of the synagogue and community. It is spiced with light irony, and sometimes self-humor, yet it preserves the accuracy, honor and the reality of the time. The play has a contemporary and universal message about the unique drama and meaning of worlds that are disappearing, worlds that are being built, and colorful characters that are building them; and on longing and love. At the Museum of Italian Jewry.

17:30 – Black and White Jerusalem – A tour on the seam line between Haredi and non-Haredi neighborhoods to understand the Haredi sector, organized by the Tarbuth organization. We’ll meet in Davidka Square.

18:00 – Jerusalem for All Festival – with performances by Echo, Tito and Jaluk. There will be a stage for Jerusalemite performers. Kelly Halperin and Moshe Waldman will hold a panel on Jerusalem entrepreneurship. There will be stands selling art, art installations and a poetry slam and of course food and drink. The even strives to bring together different groups in the city, emphasizing the human and cultural diversity in Jerusalem. At the Alliance Building.

18:00 – Tour of Jerusalem as a City of Asylum: Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Asylum Seekers who Live There. A tour by the Jerusalem African Community Center.

18:45 – 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.

19:00 – New Haredim, the Formerly Religious, and All that Cholent. Journalist Mendy Grosman hosts Moshe Sheinfeld and Avi Tapilinsky at the Tmol Shilshom Café.

19:30 – Shfuyah B’Haloma (Sane in Her Dream) – A multi-aged, multicultural Jerusalemite panel on the occasion of the launch of Dr. Elan Ezrachi’s new book, Shfuyah B’Haloma. The panel will include: Ora Ahimeir, Keren Brunwasser, Eran Tzidkiyahu, Yossi Klein-Halevi.

19:30 – Screening of the movie, “The Seventh Day,” and discussion with Suleiman Hattib, founder of Combatants for Peace. Afterward we’ll dive into the sounds of Fuad Abi A-Nam and Friends.

19:30 – Meeting of Stories on the Way with Daressa Atchnepa – his emotional story of immigrating to Israel from Ethiopian. In the home of the Dahan family.

20:00 – Storytellers Evening on Jerusalem and Tolerance at the BeShutaf Cooperative. During the evening Jerusalemites will tell their stories: some sad, some happy, some emotional, some will leave you stunned. But all are real. Facilitated by Itamar Farhi.

20:30 – Beyond the Dark Mountains – a journey near home. We will commemorate 50 years since the Six Day War, which are also 50 years of shared living between Jerusalem residents from eastern and western parts of the city. Eliezer Ya’ari will take us on a journey to the people who live in East Jerusalem, part of the capital of Israel, and will enlighten us about their thoughts and dreams, on shared living in the city, on the daily reality, and on the future. We will meet at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

21:00 – Jibberishalem – Improvising the language, by JLMprov. An interactive improvisational performance on Jerusalem and its characters. We will meet in Alliance Building. No Hebrew required.

21:00 – Bat Hur. Voices and shadows echo the story of a daughter and mother who were trapped between the walls of Beit Hanson, Jerusalem’s leper colony. Two languages, two actresses, a choir and hidden Jerusalem history. Performance will take place in the Alliance Building.

21:00 – Yachas Ham at Birman. A special performance of the Yachas Ham band, paying tribute to Bob Dylan’s birthday (and Shakespeare’s). Let’s hear about tolerance as expressed in Bob Dylan’s songs.

All Day – Teachers Lounge project of “This is Jerusalem.” An exhibition of a year-long program that brought together Jewish and Arab educators. The exhibition will be shown at the First Station.

All Day – Jerusalem Tolerance Cookie Decorating! International competition of cookie artists who decorated cookies to emphasize tolerance in Jerusalem. Organized by Jerusalem Cake Design.

Events Not Open to the General Public

Special activities to advance tolerance at the Dror High School (religious).

Students from the Tag Meir student organization light up Jerusalem – Students will visit high schools throughout Jerusalem and will operate workshops on tolerance in Jerusalem.

The Scouts – all participants in the scouts will have special activities for Jerusalem Day, focusing on Jerusalem, its complexity, its uniqueness and its place in Israeli society.

Workshop by the Center for Middle Eastern Music for students for the Keshet School.

An Accessible City: Photography exhibit. The school at the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital will hold a party celebrating Jerusalem’s many cultures. The program: An Accessible City – a photography exhibit. Songs about Jerusalem in Hebrew and Arabic and a competition identifying places in Jerusalem. The workshop is closed to the public but the exhibit will be open.

Meeting for all group coordinators from the Interfaith Encounter Association to meet each other.

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MiniActive – and Jerusalem – Featured in International “Cities of Migration” Newsletter

MiniActive, the Jerusalem Intercultural Center and the Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference are featured in the May 2017 newsletter of the Cities of Migration Network.

As part of the preparation for the conference, Dr. Adit Dayan, our colleague at the Jerusalem Foundation, attended the Cities of Migration Conference in Toronto. Cities of Migration is an international initiative launched in 2008 to identify and disseminate local integration practice in major immigrant receiving cities worldwide.  The project was the first to link global cities around issues of immigrant integration and has been surprisingly successful. Today, Cities of Migration has an international following of over 7000 international experts, practitioners and policy-makers, and its mailing list reaches 16,000 people worldwide.

Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker

Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker at the Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference

After the conference we remained in contact with the Cities of Migration Network.  And this week, they published MiniActive in their May newsletter and as part of their “Good Ideas for Integration”  section on their web site.

Here’s the link to the article:

MiniActive: Local Women, Local Action

And here’s the full text:

MiniActive: Local Women, Local Action

Jerusalem Intercultural Center

May 4, 2017

Empowering local women and minority populations to become agents of community change

Can a functioning street lamp be the key to peace?   Sometimes, it’s almost that simple.

In 2011 a group of Palestinian women in East Jerusalem decided they’d had enough of broken street lamps, unrepaired roads and other nuisances that caused daily tensions and disrupted the peace of the neighbourhood.   Local volunteers started using the municipal hotline to demand the repair and replacement of faulty street lamps and were soon meeting with relevant municipal authorities. No, the women explained, contrary to what municipal workers too often said, the street lamps would not be broken by local youth.

Five years later, the street lamps are still working, bus stops have been repaired and thousands of other small and large improvements have been made.

Empowered by a unique program called MiniActive that focuses on community-led action and helping local residents become change agents in their own neighborhoods, MiniActive volunteers are leading the way for civic action in East Jerusalem, and across the city.

From Activism to Action

Conditions for the more than 300,000 Palestinians living in poverty in East Jerusalem often put the health and welfare of local residents at risk. The quarter’s winding streets are poorly maintained, filled with potholes and often littered due to inefficient garbage removal by local authorities. Public stairs and walkways are uneven and unsafe, and few public buildings – schools, welfare offices, community organizations – are handicapped accessible.

Compounding these challenges, residents often lack the tools to self-organize and build the organizational capacity needed to effect changes on their own, leaving them feeling dis-empowered and disengaged from civic processes. Such frustrations can be exacerbated by cultural and language barriers, or unfamiliarity with municipal services.

For these reasons, the success of the intervention by Palestinian women in East Jerusalem around municipal repairs to their neighborhood caught the eye of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC).

Since 2004, the JICC had been engaged in a series of internal discussions about activism as a tool for community change. Since their mission was to help residents of all identities create positive impact within their communities and in the city as a whole, activism seemed an important approach. However, over the years they had noticed that much of the activist energy was non-effective, more cause and complaint than positive impact.

By contrast, the activism of East Jerusalem’s neighbourhood women was practical, positive and place-based.  Its example galvanized the JICC to pilot a new model for community engagement called “MiniActive.”  The central idea? To let people train themselves to change the world, by choosing a very small part of the world to change.

Agents of community change

MiniActive was launched in 2012, with the support and partnership of the JICC and the Jerusalem Foundation and the dual objective of effecting real change and empowering community action. Its goals are to advance human rights in East Jerusalem by creating sustainable grassroots advocacy and empowerment mechanisms; to empower women as agents of change; and to help all residents, but mainly women, take practical steps to improve the everyday lives of East Jerusalem residents.

MiniActive workshops consist of small group meetings in which each of the participants is invited to choose an issue to work on that is both ‘do-able’ and requires working with or convincing others to do something, whether it be neighbours, local agencies or the municipality, because learning to work with others is critical to developing organizational capacity. Examples can be repairing a street light, improving garbage collection in a specific location, fixing a pothole, replacing a safety fence, initiating an event in school, or simply connecting neighbours to meet together over an issue.   The criteria for choosing projects are:

  • Results can be achieved in 1-2 months. The relatively quick results seen on the ground in this model boosts participants’ self-confidence and empowers them to ‘graduate’ on to larger and more complex issues.
  • The solution cannot be achieved alone – some other body or organization must be activated to achieve success. This often includes the Municipality or other service provider
  • A passion for community. The participant has passion to achieve this target issue.

Whether it’s a problem on the street, an issue to be tackled at the local school, or a service improvement at the health clinic, the program empowers participants to identify problems in their immediate community, and helps them to develop effective methods of solving those problems, which can be applied to larger-scale problems in the future as well.

Language classes, recycling, horticulture: a community hub

In 2014 MiniActive upgraded its monthly professional development seminars for their volunteer coordinators from East Jerusalem’s various neighbourhoods. Previously, monthly meetings largely consisted of peer learning and assistance on a case-by-case basis. The new format included workshops on how to map local needs and set priorities; how to navigate the Municipality and its different departments; how to navigate other service providers (phone, electric, water, etc.); how to write letters to these agencies; how to deal with the Municipality’s contractors in the field; who might (or might not) be willing to work with them should a woman be supervising– and more.

In addition to in-service seminars about accessing local services more effectively, Hebrew classes have been organized for more than 200 women to facilitate communication with municipal service providers.  An important project outcome was the addition of Arabic-speakers to the municipal hotline, both to encourage participation and to handle the volume of calls MiniActive outreach was generating.

Since its overall goal is to improve residents’ immediate environment, in 2014 MiniActive began to offer courses and workshops that focused on a broader definition of improving one’s environment, such as composting, recycling, etc.  A photography workshop increased the women’s ability and propensity to look around them and see new ways to improve their neighbourhood.  In 2016, the first ever Arabic-language horticultural therapy course was added.

MiniActive has become a community hub, offering a wide range of activities – from exercise to crocheting to baking to trips – where local women can gather to enjoy their leisure,  each other’s company, and the rewards of hard work.

Today MiniActive’s network of volunteers spills across 15 districts, with 50 – 100 women in each district, and covers nearly every neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Working in small groups of 4 to 6, the women of MiniActive are working on 500 issues each month, solving approximately half and continuing to work on the remainder, and improving the everyday lives of residents through continual communication and interaction with service providers (telephone, electricity, water, municipality, etc.) and community members.

What’s more, municipal service providers recognize the effectiveness of MiniActive’s work and are less inclined to see the complaints as antagonizing ‘nuisances.’ Rather, MiniActive participants are viewed as partners in the change process.


MiniActive has galvanized civic action in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods. In 2016 alone more than 6,000 formal complaints were filed, and over 2,300 problems resolved. Among the improvements, all bus stops in three neighbourhoods were repaired or replaced.  On a larger scale, MiniActive’s response to an acute problem around garbage removal resulted in the launch of the “We Won’t Live in Filth” Facebook campaign. The result? Millions of shekels were added to the East Jerusalem sanitation budget, and garbage collection became a central issue in local activism throughout Jerusalem.

From its modest beginnings, MiniActive quickly grew to a network of 1,000 Palestinian women in every corner of East Jerusalem, arguably the largest network of volunteers in East Jerusalem.  In 2015, MiniActive’s success was internationally recognized when the project’s director was invited to present at the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) Partners Forum in Washington, DC.  In November 2016 a group from the Czech Republic visited Jerusalem to learn about MiniActive. Interest in the project remains lively. Today, the MiniActive Facebook page has over 20,300 ‘likes.’

Over the past 5 years a growing MiniActive volunteer network has solved thousands of neighbourhood problems and is training hundreds of women on how to engage local service providers and municipal services to bring about community change by working with the system, and despite the system.

For the first time, MiniActive empowers participants to be stakeholders in their own future.

Making it Work for You:

  • Define realistic objectives in advance to make sure you can actually advance towards desired outcomes.
  • Prioritize actions according to importance, even when “urgency” threatens to re-order actions.
  • Building consensus takes time. Make sure urgent items don’t disrupt important consensus building processes.
  • Take an approach that brings the “other side” (the government, the neighbours, etc.) on board for a win-win outcome.
  • Break up a large issue into many smaller problems and tasks. This makes results more achievable and more feasible.
  • Groups dynamics and peer learning are the key. Consult with each other on how to proceed while ensuring each member of the team can work independently to advance her project.
  • Use the synergy of community forces as a tool to create power and move your project forward.

The newsletter also featured the remarks made by Uzma Shakir at the conference as a featured story:

The Culturally Competent City


Here’s the full text of that article:

Keynote speech by Uzma Shakir, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights, City of Toronto, on the occasion of the Jerusalem Foundation’s 50th anniversary event, the “Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City” Conference, hosted by the Jerusalem Intercultural Center on May 17, 2016 in Jerusalem.

In a brilliant, wide-ranging presentation Shakir describes processes taking place in Toronto and throughout Canada regarding multiculturalism and cultural competency, and responses to the country’s vastly different population groups, from the native populations to the Francophone community of Quebec to recent immigrants from south Asia and elsewhere. She first defined the role of cultural competency:

“Cultural competency can be viewed in two ways: it can either be seen as paternalistic and prescriptive – something you do for others who have either limited or unequal power to claim their rights; or transformative and critical – consciously producing spaces that address those power differentials in a meaningful manner and eventually lead to an equitable and just society.

In other words, cultural competency can mean being nice to people while maintaining the status quo of inequality or it can mean empowering marginalized people to take control over their own destiny and to change the conditions in society to produce equitable and just outcomes for all.

However, this requires an honest recognition of who is marginalized and then consciously co-creating the conditions for inclusion. In this sense, Toronto has its challenges just like Jerusalem and provides some compelling lessons.”

Uzma’s description of the role of cultural competency was really a defining moment for us. We realized that our work, experience and know-how was already working on both sides of the cultural competency equation, but we had never defined it as such. We were both training service providers to make services accessible to a wide variety of populations, and we were also empowering marginalized populations – of all kinds and ethnicities – to demand access to services, adapted to their particular needs. This is best represented by Uzma’s illustration:

Three views of Equity

Three views of Equity

In the first approach, existing infrastructures render services equally for different people. However, since people’s needs are different, equal provision of services does not create proper equality. In the second approach, adjustments are made, often ad hoc, to be able to work within the existing infrastructure to provide services in a way that responds differently to the different needs. In the third approach, infrastructure is built from the start with the different needs of different people in mind, to enable each to meet his or her particular needs in the best way possible.

Ours is the third approach, and in that way MiniActive is helping Jerusalem become more culturally competent. We’re so proud of their accomplishments and dedication, especially in the complex situation in Jerusalem. We’re so happy that tens of thousands of people around the world will be able to learn about MiniActive as well.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their full partnership in developing all aspects of Cultural Competency, as well as in developing the MiniActive project.

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MiniActive Youth – Improving the Environment in Sur Baher

MiniActive youth continue to do fantastic work throughout Jerusalem, painting murals and improving the environment.

Beginning to paint

Beginning to paint

This time, their project was in Sur Baher.

Improving an entire street in Sur Baher

Improving an entire street in Sur Baher

At the request of residents, the youth decorated the walls on either side of this residential street. The residents themselves prepared the ‘canvas,’  first painting it white. All the girls needed to do was come and paint the pictures. Looking great!

Painting flowers and butterflies

Painting flowers and butterflies

Read more about previous MiniActive Youth projects here and here.

And our favorite cartoon characters

And our favorite cartoon characters

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

Here’s another post, mid-project:

And here’s the final project – this time all six paintings!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continuous support of the MiniActive project.

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Multi-Media Success for Atta’a on Facebook Live Stream

For many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, issues of residency status are of the utmost importance, and affect every part of everyday life. The rules are many and confusing, and seemingly always changing.

This issue came to the fore recently, when a case that dealt with Palestinians’ Jerusalem residency status reached the Supreme Court of Israel. Often, residents receive residency status and must prove on an annual basis that their ‘center of life’ is in Jerusalem. Residency status is taken away from those who cannot produce this proof. After a 10-year process, the court ruled that no one who was born in Jerusalem and received an Israeli I.D. number could have their status stripped from them, and they do not need to prove ‘center of life’ in Jerusalem on an annual basis.

This new development created even more confusion. In response, Atta’a decided to have a live-streamed video session, with a lawyer who is a regular volunteer at Atta’a, on Facebook. The session included lots of questions and answers, moderated by Atta’a director Daud Alian.

The 1/2 hour session took place on Thursday, March 23. It focused on residency status and Ministry of Interior regulations, as well as other questions that came up.

Atta'a Facebook video March 30

Atta’a Facebook video March 23

This was the first time Atta’a had ever done anything like this, so we didn’t know what to expect. Indeed, it was a huge success! There were some 100 people who watched the video in real-time – considered a huge success in Facebook terms. 1,800 clicked on the Facebook post, 500 reacted, either ‘liking,’ sharing or commenting. Since that day there have been nearly 5,000 views of the video. It has reached nearly 20,000 people.

As a result, likes on the Atta’a Facebook page skyrocketed, as did clicks on the Atta’a web site. We’re already planning the next time we do it again.

Here’s the explanation that accompanied the video that was covered by the 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem Facebook page:

The Atta Center provided legal advice to residents of Jerusalem on matters of national insurance and the Ministry of the Interior and Health Services. They broadcasted a conversation with an attorney about residency and family reunification. This comes after a Supreme Court decision recognizing the special status of Jerusalem residents as “native-born residents” and non-immigrants.

0202 Editors’ Note:
For the previous post about the Supreme Court decision regarding residency, see:

To read more about the decision, including the status of residents of East Jerusalem, see the Haaretz article:

#Residency #Law

And here’s the video, in Arabic, from the Atta’a Facebook page (Click here for the original post in Arabic):

Congratulations to Atta’a for adding video to its toolbox of one-on-one consulting, seminars, lectures, through Facebook and its Internet site, to help East Jerusalem Palestinians navigate the quagmire of rights realization in East Jerusalem.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of Atta’a since its founding in 2004.

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2017-05-19T16:11:48+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Attaa, Blog, Identity Groups and Conflicts, Palestinians/Arabs|

Passover and Easter Together on Mount Zion

Mount Zion’s religious ceremonies are the subject of much excitement and attract pilgrims from all over the world. One of the most special times in in the spring, around the Passover and Easter holidays.

The week before Easter is especially busy. On April 13, the Thursday before Easter, the Custos, Guard of the Holy Places for the Catholic Church performs a ceremony in which he washes the feet of 12 excellent students of religion, exactly at the place where Jesus washed the feet of his 12 disciples.

This year, the date was extra special, since it took place both during the Passover holiday, when a large number of Jewish tourists came to Mount Zion, and during the Christian Orthodox Holy Week. Hundreds of tourists from different faiths visited Mount Zion on that day, many of them for the washing of the disciples ceremony.

Window to Mount Zion volunteers were there, as always, helping the Police to help keep order, explain what is happening to all passersby (of all faiths), to contribute to a more tolerant atmosphere during the ceremonies and to make everyone’s visit more pleasant during , and to join in the celebrations. All in all, this year’s ceremony went smoothly and quietly, a stark contrast to last year, when the ceremony coincided with the Jewish festival of Purim, which was quite a noisy affair. Click here to read about last year’s ceremony.

Here’s a short video from the ceremony:


Before Window to Mount Zion was established this and other Christian ceremonies had been the source of a great deal of tension, so we’re grateful for the progress that Window to Mount Zion volunteers have made. They have become such an integral part of ceremonies on Mount Zion, it seemed almost natural (and we were greatly honored) that one of the Window to Mount Zion volunteers was almost part of this important ceremony. A German speaker was needed, and Yael was the only one in the crowd. Similarly, an Arabic reader was also needed, and we called upon Ibrahim, a Muslim worker for our neighbor, the Diaspora Yeshiva. However, in the end neither participated because it was necessary to read part of Christian liturgy and they weren’t Christian. Still, it was an honor to be considered an integral part of the ceremony.

Here’s Yael’s Facebook post (in Hebrew) about the ceremony, and about Window to Mount Zion in general:


Many thanks to the volunteers of the Window to Mount Zion project for their continued dedication. May we have many more peaceful religious ceremonies thanks to your help!


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MiniActive Celebrating its Volunteers

On Thursday, March 23, MiniActive again celebrated its volunteers. This time, they took them on a special picnic to the Canada Park, about 45 minutes outside of Jerusalem.  A year ago they celebrated the Family/Mother/Women day with their families in Jerusalem)

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

The 120 women were honored by the presence of writer Nuzha Abu Ghosh who told then some of the historical events in the history of the village of Emmaus. Then they toured the area, its ancient and more modern ruins,

What was this oh so long ago?

What was this oh so long ago?

And held a scrumptious picnic lunch.

Looks yummy

Looks yummy

Many thanks to the MiniActive volunteers for their hard work and persistence throughout the year.

Continuous work

Continuous work

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

And here is the post in English (thanks to 0202):

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the program.

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The Little Prince – Dutifully Making Sure Jerusalem is Clean

“It’s an issue of discipline,” the little prince explained afterward. “After we finish the morning washing up, we must dutifully make sure that the planet is clean.”

This passage comes from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Svetlana Fedotenko, founder of the Gonenim Music Center and a former participant in our leadership training seminar, who died last year, had been inspired by this passage, and dreamt for a long time to create a project that will put residents in charge of keeping our streets clean. (Click here for more about Svetlana).

We, too, were inspired by Svetlana’s dream, and last week we took some steps to make that dream come true.

Meeting for the Little Prince

Meeting for the Little Prince

We have seen how, of all subjects, garbage can be a unifying factor. We saw it when our MiniActive project banded together to fight for improved sanitation in East Jerusalem. We’ve seen it in the French Hill  – Issawiya area, where Israeli and Palestinian residents banded together to successfully fight the placement of a landfill in their backyards. We saw in city hall, how the one issue that brought secular and Haredi city council members together was the subject of garbage collection. (Below is more information about the French Hill – Issawiya situation)

We had the first organizing meeting last week. More than 25 active residents and community leaders – astoundingly, 1/3 Arab, 1/3 Haredi and 1/3 secular/religious (Don’t remember a time when that EVER happened on its own!) – met at the JICC. We heard about the current awful situation – in collection, in enforcement, in recycling, in teaching toward cleanliness and in teaching toward reduction of waste. We heard about fantastic initiatives that are already taking place, and concluded that such initiatives, together with mutual learning and assistance, can really change the city.

Another picture

Another picture

The group is already beginning to act, and we believe that in another month we’ll be able to invite anyone for whom this subject is close to his heart – residents, professional, community center, educational framework, environmental groups, NGO’s – to join this initiatives. In honor of Svetlana, we’re calling the program The Little Prince.

We’ll be waiting for you, after the morning washing up…

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MiniActive Youth – Now Operating in Beit Safafa

MiniActive Youth continues to make the streets of East Jerusalem brighter! This time, in Beit Safafa.

Making significant changes

Making significant changes

The painting project was carried out in cooperation with the local community center.

It was a real group effort

It was a real group effort

The activity took place on a sunny Sunday, February 26.

Looks amazing!

Looks amazing!

Neighborhood by neighborhood, improving the environment in East Jerusalem.

An accomplishment to be proud of

An accomplishment to be proud of

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

Here’s the Facebook post, in Arabic:

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

In January 2017 the National Insurance Institute began its Savings for Every Child program, intended to help close socio-economic gaps and benefit children throughout the country, regardless of cultural or ethnic group. Here is the formal information about it.

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are eligible for this program, like all other NII benefits, but few had chosen their means of signing up. (Only 10% had signed up, as opposed to 40-50% in other parts of the country, including Arab cities and villages.)

Until Atta’a came into the picture.

Atta’a has been doing a great number of activities specifically on the Savings for Every Child program, significantly increasing participation in East Jerusalem. These include:

A step-by-step guide on the Atta’a web site, explaining in plain Arabic, step-by-step, how to sign up for the program. (It is only possible to sign up on the Hebrew-language NII web site.) Periodic Facebook posts encourage residents to use the step-by-step guide and sign up. Here’s an example, from a Facebook post (click here for the link to the Atta’a web site):

A conference in the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute, which took place on February 1. Atta’a brought the participants (60 – 70 in all), the NII brought the experts, who explained about the program and how to sign up, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the different options.

Daud, Atta'as Director, explaining about Atta'a and Savings for Every Child program

Daud, Atta’as Director, explaining about Atta’a and Savings for Every Child program

Atta’a has held additional community meetings to explain about the program, as well. For example, on February 13, there was a workshop for 30 mothers from the Old City at the Abna al-Quds Community Center.

In the community

In the community

We know that as a result of our activities to raise awareness, the instruction page has enjoyed thousands of hits. We’re sure that this extra income will make a significant difference for many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. It is exactly for this reason that Atta’a was created, and we’re proud to be able to provide this and other services to empower local residents to access rights and services by themselves.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of Atta’a.

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

MiniActive Youth – Getting to Know My City

MiniActive – and MiniActive Youth – never cease to amaze us. You can read here and here and here about their most recent accomplishments.

Group picture on the walls

Group picture on the walls

Now, it’s time for us to show them how much we appreciate them.

Beautiful day for a beautiful walk

Beautiful day for a beautiful walk

Last week, on Sunday, February 19, they had a tour of the Old City by walking the walls.

What interesting things you can see from up here!

What interesting things you can see from up here!

Great views!

Like a picture postcard

Like a picture postcard

And lots of fun!

Resting on the grass

Resting on the grass

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

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic:

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