Promoting Tolerance in Jerusalem

Get Ready! Jerusalemite Day of Diversity is Almost Here!

I want to celebrate the Jerusalem I love — but I want to do it with others who are committed to building bridges and mending rifts….Jerusalem Day could be a time for healing — where we can listen to one another and work together to make things a little better, and this [Jerusalemite Day of Diversity] is a great opportunity to start.

This is how journalist Sarah Tuttle-Singer – and speaker in one of this year’s events – summarizes her feelings about Jerusalemite Day of Diversity in her Times of Israel blog yesterday.

Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, Sunday May 13, 2018

Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, Sunday May 13, 2018

Dr. Diana Lipton, lecturer in Bible and host of events on Saturday and Sunday, wrote today:

Michal [Shilor, Director of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance which is behind Jerusalemite Day] wanted to create a Yom Yerushalayim for Yerushalmim, Jerusalemites – the people of all ages and social, ethnic and religious backgrounds, from all four corners of the earth, who live and work in this city. The best way to achieve that, Michal thought, was to inspire Yerushalmim to create their own celebrations. (see here for her entire blog post on the Times of Israel)

Jerusalemite Day of Diversity on Jerusalem Day day falls on Sunday, May 13 and we’ve got a super line-up. This year, there are about 80 events, but this time more events are in the public sphere, not only in downtown Jerusalem but in the neighborhoods as well. As in previous years, there is a vast array and variety of activities, so you can choose between tours, lectures, discussions, public ‘happenings’ and marches, and much more.

Did you know that Jerusalem is the Tolerance Capital of the World? See more in this video:

Here’s the current run-down, and last-minute changes are happening all the time, so stay tuned to the Facebook event (English last) and the Jerusalem Tolerance web site for the up-to-the-minute schedule:

Saturday-Sunday | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s meet! | Assaf Horen | A variety of Jerusalemites speak in the living rooms of “other” Jerusalemites, to tell their personal stories and get to know each other a little bit better.
More information below and here: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz

Saturday-Sunday | All day | Kids4Peace | Jerusalemite Points of View: A human map – A special campaign of personal stories of Jerusalemites from the three religions – across the city and social media

Saturday | 12:00 | Danbrat | Dan Yanovich | A tour in the footsteps of the sectors, ethnicities, and cultures of Ottoman Jerusalem: The Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem lasted 400 years during which the city transformed from medieval to modern and became the center of interest of the European superpowers and the Zionist movement. The tour is free (tips are welcome), not including entrance to sites. For info and registration: dan.yanovich@gmail.com.
Meeting Pt: Jaffa Gate
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y9f8ohyp

Saturday | 16:00 – 18:00 | A hidden legacy | Emek Shave | A tour in the Muslim graveyard in Mamilla.
Meeting point: Agron St, under the Rehavia Taxi Station in Independence Park.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ybb6cmbq

Saturday | 21:00-23:00 | Jerusalism | Speaking Diversity | Jerusalism welcomes all to an evening of prose and poetry connected to the theme of diversity.
Power Coffeeworks, 111 Agripas St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y7wxtngo

Saturday | 21:00 | Glam Screening | Beit Alliance | Eurovision 2018 – A festive glam screening in Beit Alliance’s patio, accompanied by a drag queen performance.

Saturday | 21:15-22:30 | Jerusalem: Through My Eyes | Shayna Kovler | In honor of International Women’s Talmud Day and Jerusalem Day, come learn Talmud about Jerusalem from the women of Jerusalem. Three different women – Jewish educators who live and work in the city – will tell us about Jerusalem through their eyes, using the Talmud as their guide.
Diana’s Home, 16 Harakevet Street
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y8muurkq

Saturday | 21:30 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Tamar Bar Levi, who has gone through a mental breakdown and is a member of Clubhouse Jerusalem, will tell her personal story.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Noa and Natan’s living room, 16 Hurkania St., Katamonim

Saturday | 21:30 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Yossi Klar, Deputy CEO of “Out For Change”, an organization that works to assist ex-haredis, will speak about the change from Haredi to secular Jerusalem.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Nayot Community Center, 66 Nayot St.

Saturday | 21:30 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Sarah Tuttle Singer,
a journalist at the Times of Israel who wrote a book about her year living in the four
quarters of the old city, will tell her story. The event will take place in English.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which
Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are
different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Nifgashim Center, 26 Ben Yehuda St.

Saturday | 22:00 | State of Jerusalem | Jerusalem is crushed under the weight of religious, national, and political symbols. But before being a symbol, Jerusalem is a city in which people live. “The State of Jerusalem” series consists of chapters in which one interesting Jerusalemite tells a curious story about the city. During this evening at the Mazkeka we will screen two chapters (one brand new!) and other materials from the editing room, and hold a conversation with the creators, Natan Odenheimer, Tomer Zmora, and Or Drori.
Mazkeka, 3 Shushan St
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya6pprcq

Sunday | 9:00 – 13:00 | Beyond the City and the Square | Ir Amim | A tour in the old city – a walking tour to see the political and everyday reality of the old city. Please register in advance.
Meeting Pt: Zahal Square
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y7cchsqt

Sunday | 9:30 | Talmud & Hadith, Coffee & Tea. Vol. 2 | Ruth Kristina Vasileva | A group scriptural reasoning in the Talmud and Hadith
Mt. of Olives – location upon request
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ycuu8m9k

Sunday | 10:00 – 13:00 | Status Quo and Tolerance | Window to Mt Zion | A tour on Mt. Zion – Between holy sites, forgotten stories, and status quo, the residents of Mt. Zion – monks, Yeshiva students, artists, and businessmen – live together. Come see their worldviews, the coexistence, and the delicate and fascinating partnerships. The tour is free.
Meeting Point: Zion Gate.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y8d4wquz

Sunday | 11:00 – 17:00 | Postcards from the Soul | Nefashot | Creating postcards with different languages and people of all backgrounds in the main Jerusalem Day event in the Tower of David.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y8k8p75q

Sunday | 13:00 – 16:00 | Partners on the Path | Citipass | Pop-up tolerance events at the Light Rail stations: Machne Yehuda, Davidka, Municipality
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y89ltvlc

Sunday | 13:00 – 15:00 | Born&Raised – an Israeli women’s gospel choir with 15 soul singers who sing special versions of Israeli and English songs.
The event is part of “Partners on the Path – Pop-up Tolerance Events at the Light Rail stations”.
Davidka Light Rail Station
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y89ltvlc

Sunday | 13:00 – 15:00 | Dialogue circles in sign language, Arabic, and Hebrew.
The event is part of “Partners on the Path – Pop-up Tolerance Events at the Light Rail stations”.
Municipality Light Rail Station
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y89ltvlc

Sunday | 13:00 – 15:00 | Pop-Up Mediation | Mosaica | The Mosaica mediation center comes to the street to meet us and give us practical toolsl tools for constructive communication.
The event is part of “Partners on the Path – Pop-up Tolerance Events at the Light Rail stations”.
Machane Yehuda Light Rail Station
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y89ltvlc

Sunday | 13:30 | Flower March | Tag Meir – supporting the residents and businessmen of the old city. Tag Meir will hand out flowers to the residents and businessmen of the old city, on the path where the Flag March will walk. Our holiday doesn’t need to hurt the Arabs of the old city.
Meeting Pt: Safra Square (Municipality)

Sunday | 14:00 – 16:00 | Dancing Debka | Between Heaven & Earth | “Machia” (Arak in Moroccan) dance group invite you to dance Debka in the Municipality Light Rail station, in Haredi garb with Kaffiyas.
The event is part of “Partners on the Path – Pop-up Tolerance Events at the Light Rail stations”.
Municipality Light Rail Station
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y89ltvlc

Sunday | 15:30 | The Jerusalemite March | The Jerusalemite Movement
Railroad Park
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y7cr3ldg

Sunday | 16:00 – 18:30 | Every Person Has a City and Her Name is Jerusalem | Old Yishuv Court Museum | Come hear the different points of view of Jerusalem as spoken by her poets and lovers. Meet at 4 at Jaffa Gate for a short tour in the Museum, or at the museum itself.
6 Or Haim St., the Jewish Quarter

Sunday | 16:30 | CartoNeighborhood | Artishok | A special event for kids – let’s build our neighborhood, French Hill, out of recycled materials together!
Artishok Club, 19 Hagana St

For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yc39ku4l

Sunday | 16:45-18:30 | Black and White Jerusalem? | Tarbus | A tour in Haredi Jerusalem – Let’s discover the diversity of the Haredi population.
Meeting Pt: Davidka
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y8tgvmh8

Sunday | 17:00-19:00 | “And Together” – a group of rabbinical students of all types |
dialogue and study circles on the topic of the place of religious leaders in the public
sphere.
First Station, 2 David Remez St

Sunday | 17:00 – 21:00 | Something of the Desert | Aharon Kritzer and Shelter Gallery | An exhibit of Haredi amateur photographers.
Shelter Gallery, 6 Yehuda HaMakkabi St., Makor Baruch
For more info:https://tinyurl.com/yc26tth4

Sunday | 17:15 | The City that was Animated Together | Jerusalem is anything but a regular boring city. Between ancient walls and new neighborhoods crowd together
the heroes of all Israeli sectors. Israeli animation brings to life Jerusalem through
humor, criticism, the ordinary and the extraordinary. Join us for workshops and a
festive animation screening.
Djanogly Center, 3 Tuvia St.

Sunday | 17:30 | Orchard Path | Studio of Her Own – A discussion with the artist behind the street art of Elisha Ben Abuya, and returning “the other” to the society. There will be a storyteller for kids, as well!
Antigonus Garden by the Butke, 26 Antigonus St

Sunday | 17:45-19:30 | Black and White Jerusalem? | Tarbus | A tour in Haredi Jerusalem – Let’s discover the diversity of the Haredi population. The tour will take place in English
Meeting Point: Recruitment Office on Rashi Street.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ybjvjfx4

Sunday | 18:00 | Nimi Sfama Shel Lisbet Nay | Agnon House | A queer reading of S.Y Agnon’s novel, Shira. 10 NIS entrance.
Agnon House, 16 Klausner St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yaladsgy

Sunday | 18:15 | Creating Tolerance: A Jerusalemite View | Reut School | A tolerance conference with the participation of the community, MKs, and Jerusalemite activists.
Reut School, 4 Eliezer HaGadol St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y7wbtkam

Sunday | 19:00 | Young Artists in Jerusalem | Tmol Shilshom | Spoken word artist Yonatan Blumenfeld, performance artist Yoanna Blikman, and DJ Dani (Danielle Bertschneider) will speak about the young artists scene in Jerusalem. How do we integrate sector- and boundary-breaking art in a city with walls? What is it about this city that pulls certain artists to it and drives others out?
30 NIS entrance fee (goes towards a purchase in the restaurant).
Tmol Shilshom, 5 Yoel Moshe Solomon St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ydcrarhp

Sunday | 19:30 | Believers | Zion Community | An evening of multifaith prayers for the holy city, with Alma and the Tahrir Jamaa.
First Station, 4 Remez St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ydbnq5qr

Sunday | 19:30 | Interfeast | Andrew Pico | An Inter-feast is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of Jerusalem – its variety of perspectives, cultures and peoples. Join us for dinner and a discussion regarding the Holy City and its importance for us. Please register in advance.
Nachlaot, Exact location will be sent to those who register.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yd9gkkd8

Sunday | 20:00 | The Beaches of Jerusalem | Sirenot Ensemble under conductor Shosh Lagil | The ships to Jerusalem anchor at the Redeemer Church, unload cargo and rare musical treasures from Ethiopia, Spain, Armenia, Persia, Dagastan, Israel, and Ashkenaz. A special musical meeting that speaks and sings of love thanks to the best poets and composers. Song of Songs, Teha Muhammad Ali, Psalms, Omar Kayam, and even Eggplant recipes and Raki drinks! Ilya Mazia – Duduk / Shachar Burak – Piano.
Redeemer Church, Muristan, the Christian Quarter
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yasd2jrw

Sunday | 20:00 | This Too is Possible | Hechal Shlomo | Aspects of “the other” in us – a gallery discussion in the “This Too is Possible” exhibit which involved Arab and Jewish artists, and an interactive creation about the topic. 20 NIS entrance fee. Please register in advance.
Hechal Shlomo Museum, 58 King George St., 3rd Floor

Sunday | 20:00 | Souls Sing in Jerusalem | Singing in the Garden and Nefashot | An evening of peace and Jerusalem songs, intertwined with original works about mental illness.
Tower of David
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/y79q99y6

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Yoelish Krois, frequently referred to as the COO of the Eda HaHaredit, will speak at Meretz municipality member Laura Wharton’s house.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
46a HaHalutz St., Beit Hakerem.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Jonathan Vadai, founder of the Carousela and an activist in the struggle for Yemenite children and community Kashrut, will speak at Orli Jackson Cohen’s home.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Orli Jackson Cohen’s living room, 6 Hizkiyahu HaMelech, Floor 3, Apt 6

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Eldad Postan, a Jerusalemite start-up entrepreneur, will speak in a Shekel (special needs) home.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
A Shekel (special needs) living room, 2 HaTkufa St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Gilad Natan, an activist in “Maan-Yachad” for coexistence between Jews and Arabs in French Hill, will share his story.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Deena Levenstein, a culture activist in the city, will speak in the Butka, a community coffeehouse in the Katamonim.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
HaButke, 26 Antigonus St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Shmuel Drilman, a Haredi activist and social media expert, will speak about Haredi vs. Modern life, in the Artishok Club in French Hill.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Artishok Club, 19 HaHagana St, French Hill

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Rachel Gerber of the Jerusalem African Community Center, will speak in Polina’s home.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Polina’s living room, 166 Beit Lechem St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Eldad Weil, former counsel to the mayor, director of Musrara Community Center and Tze’irim BaMerkaz, will tell his story.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
The new Yemenite Bar, Bab El-Yamen, 29 Azza St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Mordechai Ben Avraham, formerly an American Muslim and today an Israeli Haredi, will speak of his transformation. The event will take place in English.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Jerusalem Press Club, Mishkanot Shaananim.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – David Mizrahi, founder of La Familia and a famous activist promoting tolerance all over Israel, will speak of his transformation.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Hadarta, Nachlaot Community Center, 42 Ohel Moshe St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Muhammad Abu Ghannam, resident of A-Tur and a young activist, will speak at the Jerusalem Mechina.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Jerusalem Mechina, 31 Brazil St.

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Yochi Rapaport of Women of the Wall will tell her story.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Natan Moshe – writer, creator, philosopher, poet, person. Copes with mental illness and lives alongside it for 30 years.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz

Sunday | 20:00 | Jerusalemite in the Living Room: Let’s Meet! – Hagit Ashur – Jerusalem Director of Yeted Program for at-risk youth, who grew up in a host family in Musrara.
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz

Sunday | 20:00 | Sadiq Ismail – an asylum seeker from Darfur will be joined by other African asylum seekers who will tell us how they left their countries, how, eventually, they arrived in Jerusalem, and how they now live today with the threat of expulsion to an unknown destination. Elisheva Milikowsky, an activist for the asylum seekers since 2007, will tell us about the current situation. (Hebrew and English).
The event is part of “Jerusalemites in the Living Room” – A series of events in which
Jerusalemites tell their personal stories in the homes of Jerusalemites who are
different from them!
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ya92kfpz
Diana’s living room, 16 Harakevet St, 2nd Floor

Sunday | 20:00 | City of Skies | A performance that is a love song to the eternal city,
that is built like the city itself – a colorful mosaica of cultures, religions, stories, and
people.
Link for tickets: https://tinyurl.com/ybcvydr
Micro Theater, Jerusalem Theater, 20 Marcus St

Sunday | 21:00 | StoryTeller at Hamiflezet Pub | Itamar Farhi | A special StoryTeller gathering for Jerusalemite Day.
Hamifletzet Pub, 8 Chile St., Kiryat Yovel.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/ycrmfc65

Sunday | 21:00 | Open Mic | Abraham Hostel | Joining together through song in an Open Mic Night, come sing with people from all over the world songs of acceptance and tolerance
67 HaNevi’im st.

Sunday | 21:00 | Something to Say: Women Speaking from the Gut | Basmat Hazan | A cabaret of women who challenge what they’ve been told, what seems to be a definite reality, and who find the keys and the spaces for growth and change, women who feel empty and find that they are full – women who are heros with something to say.
Khan Theater, 2 Remez St.
For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yb3rdgxt

Sunday | 21:30 | Pub Quiz | Artishok Club | Think you know Jerusalem? Let’s see you prove it in a special Pub Quiz for Jerusalemite Day with awesome prizes thanks to 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem.
Artishok Pub, 19 Hagana St., French Hill

For more info: https://tinyurl.com/yc39ku4l

Sunday | All Day | Prints in Paint | Muslala and Kfar Shimon | An exhibit which opens a window to the rich and unique world of the artists from Kfar Shimon – a residence for people with autism.
Muslala Porch, Klal Building, 97 Yaffo St.

Sunday | All Day | Stories on the Way | Personal stories of Aliyah from Ethiopia, in living rooms across the city. For more info: http://www.sipur.org.il/index.php

===Events Not Open to the Public===
Dror High School | Dialogue circles, tours, and special studies about diversity in Jerusalem
Ziv School | Students will interview residents of retirement homes about Jerusalem today and in the past
Adam School | Special guest speaker – a Haredi activist

Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, Founding Director the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), also mentioned us his recent blog post.

And here’s some statistics showing that Jerusalem is indeed the world Capital of Tolerance to get you in the mood for Jerusalemite Day:

The translation:

  • 160,000 people from all sectors who ride the light rail every day
  • 400 events a year that advance tolerance
  • 1,000 activists for tolerance in Jerusalem
  • 96% of Jerusalemites believe in tolerance
  • 80 tolerance organizations
  • 2 Tolerance Coalitions
  • 80 events on Jerusalemite Day

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and the UJA-Federation of New York for their support of Jerusalemite Day of  Diversity and for helping us to promote tolerance in Jerusalem throughout the year!

 

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From Tolerance Week to Martin Luther King – A Winter Wonderland of Tolerant Holidays

We reported before about the last Jerusalem Tolerance Week, the 8 days in mid-November with over 30 initiatives trumpeting tolerance in the city.

Well, it didn’t end there. As November blended into December, the new month brought with it a slew of activities where tolerance triumphed, from the Ethiopian Sigd to Christmas at the YMCA and on Mount Zion to a multi-cultural Hanukkah candle-lighting to the 7-week Holidays from Within Festival, which featured events celebrating Sigd, Hanukkah, Christmas, the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, and Novy God (their Festival was covered in Hebrew on YNET).

Winter holidays, promoting tolerance

Winter holidays, promoting tolerance

All the events basically fit celebrated one of these five holidays:

1.The Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd (see here and here for more details):

  • November 16: A guided tour of the official Sigd ceremony at the Promenade in East Talpiot
  • November 16: Sigd Celebration at Beit Avi Chai
  • November 19: Ethiopian art workshop with the Ethiopian community of embroiderers
  • November 20 & 22: Sigd celebrations with Israeli families of Ethiopian descent
  • November 21: Ethiopian cooking workshop
  • November 22: A neighborhood Sigd celebration in Kiryat Hayovel, including a Museum in a Suitcase
  • November 22: A Story along the Way
A family celebration of the Sigd holiday

A family celebration of the Sigd holiday

2. The birth of the Prophet Muhammad (see here for more details):

  • November 29: Celebration in Ein Rafa
  • December 1: Lecture on customs and traditions in Islam
  • December 1: Festive tour of the Muslim Quarter
  • December 3: Home hospitality (in the YNET Hebrew article  you can see a video about this event)
Celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad

Celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad

3. Chanukah (see here for more details)

  • December 12 – 20: Nightly pluralist candle lighting in neighborhoods throughout the city
  • December 12: Candle lighting with ‘Hamiklat’ Haredi art gallery
  • December 13: Candle lighting with a Haredi family
  • December 13: Inter-religious candle lighting and Christmas party in French Hill
  • December 14: A Jerusalem dreidle-scavenger hunt, followed by a Chanukah party
  • December 15: Visit to the Karaite community in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City
  • December 15: Visit to the Messianic Jewish community in the Old City
  • December 18: Chanukah photography tour
  • December 18: Inter-religious candle lighting at the First Station
  • December 19: Tour of Meah Shearim
  • December 20: Haredi – Secular Chanuka encounter
Learning about different Chanukah traditions

Learning about different Chanukah traditions

4. Christmas (See here for more details)

  • November 26: Decorating the Jerusalem International YMCA’s giant Christmas tree
  • December 15 – 17: Christmas Bazaar
  • December 22: Tour of the secrets of the Jerusalem International YMCA
  • December 22: Tour of the Christian Quarter of the Old City
  • December 24: Christmas Eve concert
  • December 24: Volunteering at the Christmas Even mass at the Dormition Abbey
  • January 6: Tour of Orthodox Christian sites in preparation for the Orthodox Christmas
Christmas at the Jerusalem International YMCA

Christmas at the Jerusalem International YMCA

5. And Novy God, the Russian New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebration. (See here for more details.)

  • December 27: Lecture on the history of Novy God
  • December 28: Tusovka Novy  God Celebration

And of course we can’t forget the Kids4Peace winter event, that celebrated all the events together.

What was the impact of these events? Kehilat Zion, which participated in the inter-religious Chanukah candle-lighting at the Train Station, summed it up like this:

We wanted to take all of the little lights that throughout the year so many partners are working to shine, and to empower them together on one hanukkiah of hope in the public sphere.

Because in Earthly Jerusalem, something different is possible, and most of us choose to act different and to light hope. Together with communities of men and women from different neighborhoods, religions, and cultures who are joined in the belief in a Jerusalem of alliances and mutual caring; communities of individuals and groups who work and believe in a Jerusalem of good neighborliness and of friendship.

This, despite a group of hate-shouting youth who tried to disrupt the ceremony. Here’s the full Facebook post:

Kehilat Zion spoke specifically about Chanukah, but this is what we’re aiming for year-round. Over the 7-8 weeks, between Sigd and Orthodox Christmas, there were so many events (we counted some 50) it was hard to keep track. Well over 1,000 people, from all religions, all cultures, all languages. But also all Jerusalemites. Thank you Jerusalem for showing, yet again, your true colors of diversity. And thank you to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for helping us – and helping them- make it all happen.

 

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Eastward from Here – Training Activists in East Jerusalem

East Jerusalem has aroused the curiosity and interest of many activists in and around Jerusalem. But how much do they really know about this part of the city?

On tour in East Jerusalem

On tour in East Jerusalem, with Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim

In order to raise the level of activism in East Jerusalem, we, together with the Ir Amim organization, held an 8-session workshop called, Eastward from Here. The workshop sought to teach Jewish activists – all who work or seek to work in East Jerusalem – more about what is really going on on-the-ground, in order to enable them to be more effective in their work.

There are 22 participants, from a wide range of organizations – municipally-connected such as Moriah and the Young Adults Authority, New Spirit, Yerushalmim, Hamiffal and Blue and White Human Rights.

Each meeting dealt with a different issue, from effective dialogue and effective activism to East Jerusalem communities and East Jerusalem today to the basics of cultural competency. One of the meetings was a tour around different parts of East Jerusalem, led by Ir Amim researcher, Aviv Tatarsky.

From the workshop, participants are developing 15 different initiatives designed to work in East Jerusalem. These initiatives range from joint first aid courses for Jewish and Arab youth, Arabic-language study in Palestinian businesses in East Jerusalem, joint Jewish-Arab climbing club, academic assistance to East Jerusalem pupils, and more.

 This course is part of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance, supported by the UJA-Federation of New York. Many thanks also to Ir Amim for their partnership. We hope to see some very effective activism taking place in East Jerusalem very soon!
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Summing Up Tolerance Week

We’ve already described and listed here the 30 events that took place during Tolerance Week (November 10 – 18).  Here’s how our Michal Shilor, Coordinator for the Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance, described it:

In the last week, we broke records of emotion:

Jerusalem wore its holiday clothes

She removed her masks

And was just herself:

Authentic Jerusalem, made up of her communities,

Jerusalem of Jerusalemites, of all who love her.

Tour of the Old City of Jerusalem during Tolerance Week

Tour of the Old City of Jerusalem during Tolerance Week

During the last week Jerusalem celebrated Tolerance Week – the holiday that is davka the most appropriate for our city. Davka the city of political and religious and national and international slogans, davka for the city – for those who don’t know her – that is seen as the symbol of all that is opposite of tolerance.

What do others think of people like me?

What do others think of people like me?

During the last week, Jerusalem re-centered itself. She peeled away all the layers of slogans of all who think they know her, and said:

“I am of my residents.

I am of my people.

I am of my communities who choose to live with me,

to love me and to walk in my streets.

And I bring them together. And I make them feel good. And we live together.”

Learning Talmud and Hadith together

Learning Talmud and Hadith together

Jerusalem Tolerance Week began last year, and this year nearly doubled itself, with 30 events – initiated in schools, by activists, and organizations that chose to celebrate the multicultural diversity of Jerusalem, and to bring people together who don’t usually meet.

And it was really, really exciting.

I would like to thank you for the pleasure of helping you, watching how you create the real Jerusalem with a lot of energy and in full faith.

Coming together to learn about one another

Coming together to learn about one another

I was brought to tears by the event that brought together formerly religious Haredi Jews and Muslims.

I skipped for joy when Runners without Borders told me that they can’t invite more people to the Jewish-Arab race because there were already 800 (!) runners registered and the police requested that there not be any  more.

Running for Tolerance and Peace

Running for Tolerance and Peace

I wasn’t able to take the smile off my face when I met  Ruth Kristina Vasileva a minute before a joint learning session of Hadith and Talmud, especially after I saw the amazing people who came to study  together!

I didn’t believe how the mental health community creates an encounter with the outside world through board games and soup in the coolness of the Jerusalem autumn.

I was so excited to hear a poets’ exchange that brought together different identities through poetry.

That even the Citypass light rail company  joined the adventure and create a tour that connects the mental health community, Haredi women artists and the African community of Jerusalem on the light rail line.

At the Tolerance Stop on the light rail line

At the Tolerance Stop on the light rail line

And I saw secular, formerly religious Jews and Haredi Jews being angry at two Haredi newspaper editors, all the while speaking about tolerance and shared living, despite the disagreements.

And I was finally able to participate in a meeting with deaf people.

That Itamar Farhi again brought us an event of tolerance stories to the Katamonim, a place where life is so complicated and woven together that it screams for it.

I met a group of people – Armenians, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans – who decided to eat a meal together to get to know one another better.

I was able to take part in a Sigd ceremony. There were so many events of Story Along the Way that made the story of Ethiopian-Israelis so well known around the Sigd Holiday.

Sigd ceremony

Sigd ceremony

We were able to provide a platform to inter-religious events.

I couldn’t believe that even light rail stations and the area in front of the Jaffa Gate became places of encounter.

We had a Jewish-Arab backgammon tournament and a religious-secular Jewish encounter on Saturday.

Backgammon tournament

Backgammon tournament

Sentences in Arabic, Hebrew and Yiddish peppered the public sphere.

And there were all sorts of other routine events in Jerusalem – in schools, in soccer clubs, and more – that simply brought people from all the different streams to remember that Jerusalem belongs to its residents. To all its residents.

Listening and learning

Listening and learning

Jerusalem? Jerusalem is the tolerance capital of its people.

We all live here in Jerusalem

We all live here in Jerusalem

Here’s a compilation of posts translated into English from the 0202 Facebook page:

 

And the original post in Hebrew:

And here’s Jerusalem Tolerance’s post and list of all the different initiatives:

 

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support in advancing tolerance in Jerusalem!

 

 

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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:

https://www.facebook.com/events/822369254593178/

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Introducing Young People to Mount Zion

Part of Window to Mount Zion‘s job is to spread awareness of the diversity of residents on Mount Zion far and wide. As part of that, it conducts tours for a variety of different groups.

Learning about Mount Zion through their feet

Learning about Mount Zion through their feet

On November 5, Window to Mount Zion conducted a tour of the sites for 150 Garin Tsabar members, young people from all over the world who are about to enlist in the IDF.

Listening to the monk, in his magnificent church

Listening to the monk, in his magnificent church

They visited Mount Zion and absorbed its special, magical atmosphere. During the tour they interviewed people in the streets, they met one of the monks who lives on Mount Zion, and learned about how  Christian, Jewish and Muslim institutions, after years of conflicts with one another, have learned to share this space on Mount Zion that is holy to all. May Window to Mount Zion set an example in shared shared living for Jerusalem and all of Israel.

There's always time for a group picture

There’s always time for a group picture

Thanks for coming Garin Tsabar – come back anytime!

Here’s Window to Mount Zion’s Hebrew Facebook post:

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Light Rail Tolerance Stop at City Hall – Promoting Tolerance Year-Round

We wrote about here and here how Citypass (the company that operates the Jerusalem light rail) and the Jerusalem Municipality are cooperating to make the light rail stop at City Hall a Tolerance Stop, thanks to the encouragement of the Ruach Nachon pre-army preparation program.

A sign proving it's official

A sign proving it’s official

We were there a little while ago, and while the pre-army program has not yet begun their regular annual activities there, the Municipality and Citypass have already made a statement that gives the train stop the tolerance feel.

A view of the actual stop

A view of the actual stop

This includes a range of texts, from Jewish, Muslim, and other sources, from a Hasidic tale, poems and songs in Hebrew and Arabic, Alice in Wonderland, thoughts for the month of Elul, and much more. Something to inspire thoughts of who we are and where we’re going.

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of our activities to support tolerance in Jerusalem.

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2017-11-18T13:44:49+00:00 November 5th, 2017|Blog, Identity Groups and Conflicts, Promoting Tolerance in Jerusalem|

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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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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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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