Promoting Tolerance in Jerusalem

Arabic Week on the Jerusalem Light Rail

On many modes of public transport in Israel – at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on the Israel Railways – you hear announcements in Hebrew and English. But not Arabic. Even though a full 20% of Israeli citizens – and over 30% of Jerusalem residents – speak Arabic as their mother tongue, and even though Arabic is an official language in Israel. (And English isn’t).

Yet on the Light Rail in Jerusalem – reflecting Jerusalem’s unique makeup in which 37% of the city’s residents are native Arabic-speakers – all signage and announcements are in English, Hebrew and Arabic equally. As our director Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir said recently in this article on Tablet, “the light rail is the spine of Jerusalem’s tolerant tendency.”

This week, we, together with Citypass, the company that operates the Light Rail, and Madrasa, a free web based school for spoken Arabic, went one – or several – steps further. Introducing: Arabic Week on the Jerusalem Light Rail! There were posters in the stations, the ticket-checkers have been handing out phrase books with words and phrases. It’s been one big Arabic celebration!

'Have a good trip!' in Hebrew and Arabic

‘Have a good trip!’ in Hebrew and Arabic

Here’s a video from the launching of Arabic week, at the Davidka Square station in downtown Jerusalem:

There’s also the official video made by the Citypass company (in Hebrew and Arabic):

There were even free Arabic lessons at the Citypass service center in downtown Jerusalem, including by our own Suha, veteran Arabic teacher in our Language Center.

Arabic lesson with Suha (photo: Yisrael Weil)

Arabic lesson with Suha (photo: Yisrael Weil)

We’re proud that this week had its roots at the JICC – some of the Citypass managers are studying Arabic with us this year, and got the idea both from the Arabic week at the Knesset during the same week, as well as from our own Arabic week in late March. (See here for more about that.) You can download the entire phrasebook here. You can see the posters that were hung in the train stations here. There is also an online quiz game in Hebrew and Arabic, which you can play here.

Example of one of the posters. Did you know that the word "blouse" is also used in Arabic?

Example of one of the posters. Did you know that the word “blouse” is also used in Arabic?

Just one more example, making Jerusalem the World Capital of Tolerance!

Many thanks to Citypass, the company that operates the Light Rail, and to Madrasa, a free web based school for spoken Arabic, our partners in action. And many thanks as well to the Jerusalem Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York and the Natan Fund for their ongoing support of the Language Center and for our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance.

Want to read more about Arabic Week? Below is the full text of the Tablet article. You can read the online version here. The week was also covered in the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz daily newspaper (You can read that article here), and in the local Jerusalem newspaper (Hebrew article here). There was another Hebrew-language article on the Mako news site, as well as this article, from a second local Jerusalem newspaper. Arabic Week was also covered on the Al-Monitor web site, which seeks to cover news from all over the Middle East.  The text of the article follows the Tablet piece.

The Tablet article:

Jerusalem’s Light Rail Has New Destination: Teaching Arabic

With coexistence in mind, the train’s operators will dedicate July to encouraging Israelis to open up to a language too few speak

Many Israelis feel frustrated with their inability to communicate with their Palestinian neighbors in Arabic. But now they have a chance to practice their salaam aleikums at any Jerusalem tram stop.

Citypass, Jerusalem’s light rail operator, has declared the first week of July “the Arabic language week on the light rail.” Signs explaining the Arabic equivalent of “validate your ticket” and “have a safe ride” have been placed at stops along the tram’s red line, which stretches from Yad Vashem in the southwest to Pisgat Ze’ev in the northeast. Passengers can also register for free colloquial Arabic lessons at the company’s service center downtown, to better understand the Arabic pamphlets handed out by ticket conductors throughout the week.

In Jerusalem’s largely segregated public-transportation system, the tram already stands out as a binational and bilingual oasis. With three stops in Arab East Jerusalem, the tram has become an essential means of transport for the city’s 330,000 Arab residents, who comprise 37 percent of Jerusalem’s total population.

Unlike the national rail system and Jerusalem’s bus service, stop names are announced in Arabic on the tram, as well as in Hebrew and in English. That’s not self-evident. In 2011, member of Knesset Lia Shemtov of Yisrael Beiteinu demanded that Arabic be removed from the trams, arguing that “united Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state. Why instate this precedent now?” City Hall rebuffed her claim, saying that “the light rail serves all Jerusalem residents, Jews and Arabs alike.”

“We thought it would be nice to expose the Jewish public to the Arabic language,” said Yaron Ravid, CEO of Citypass. “We employ people from East Jerusalem both in operations and maintenance, and make an effort to reach out to the Arab community.”

Ravid said his company goes to great lengths to make information accessible to passengers in Arabic on its website and Facebook page, trying to cater to the special needs of Muslim residents.

“On Ramadan we put our trams at the disposal of worshipers on Temple Mount,” he said. “On Thursday evenings throughout that month our employees distributed dates and water at our stops. We do nice things.”

Vida, a veiled woman from the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Ghosh working in Citypass’ customer service, said she was excited about her language being celebrated on the streets of West Jerusalem.

“It will do a lot for Arab-Jewish coexistence in Jerusalem,” she opined. “Today we have ticket conductors who speak both Arabic and Hebrew, so people on the train don’t face any language barrier.”

Like the rest of Jerusalem, the light rail has also suffered from political violence in recent years. During riots following the murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir by Jewish terrorists in July 2014, three East Jerusalem stops were vandalized and set aflame. Arab residents sporadically hurl stones and Molotov cocktails at trams traveling through the neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina, often halting service across town. Most recently, in April 2017, visiting British student Hannah Bladon was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist.

But at the Arabic-language-week launch at Davidka Square the atmosphere was festive. A teenager dressed in a lion costume—the city’s symbol—was handing out ice pops to passersby, as a musical group played traditional Palestinian music outside the company’s main service center.

“Jerusalem has experienced difficult times, but contrary to its public image, Jerusalemites really believe in the value of tolerance,” said Hagai Agmon-Snir, director of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center on Mount Zion, whose Arabic teachers will offer free classes to passengers.

According to a poll carried out by the Intercultural Center ahead of Jerusalem Day last month, 82 percent of Jerusalem residents said they were pleased with the city’s ethnic diversity, with 96 percent reporting daily exposure to people of a different religion or national group.

“There are currently very few reports of hate crimes on the tram,” Agmon-Snir added. “The tram is like the spine of Jerusalem’s tolerant tendency.”

Mordechai Friedman, 24, dressed in ultra-Orthodox garb, was collecting brochures specifying the many achievements of Citypass, while teaching Hebrew speakers how to say “it’s like Europe here” and “let’s sit over there” in Palestinian dialect.

“It’s a wonderful initiative,” Friedman said. “I work with people from East Jerusalem, but unfortunately don’t speak Arabic.”

“It’s always interesting to learn about other cultures,” he added. “I think we could solve many problems if we had a common language. I think we should teach Arabic to pupils just like we teach English, starting from kindergarten.”

 

From Al-Monitor:

ISRAEL PULSE

Jerusalem tram seeks to fast track Arabic learning for Israeli Jews

Jerusalem Light Rail launched an initiative this week to promote Arabic language learning among Israelis in the city. It’s the first such campaign in the tram system’s seven years of operation.

Although around 20% of Israel’s population is Arab, Arabic comprehension among Israeli Jews is very low. A survey published July 4 by Israeli-Arab coexistence group Sikkuy found that a mere 8.6% of Israeli Jewish adults have a working knowledge of Arabic compared to more than 60% with the same competence in English.

The tram, which began operating in 2011, runs through the heart of the contested holy city, from Jewish neighborhoods in the west to Palestinian neighborhoods in the east. Along the way, it passes the Old City with its holy sites, the bustling Mahane Yehuda Market, Palestinian refugee camps and Israeli settlements. Though construction of the light rail was fiercely opposed by Palestinians, it has become the city’s main artery, carrying about 160,000 passengers a day, a large portion of them Palestinian residents of the city.

Jerusalem is Israel’s most populous city, home to 856,000 people, around 40% of them Palestinians. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and annexed it, a move unrecognized by the overwhelming majority of the international community. Palestinian East Jerusalemites have residency, but not citizenship. The Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

The campaign to promote Arabic is being sponsored by the privately owned CityPass, which operates the light rail, the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) and Madrasa, an online Arabic school for Hebrew speakers. JICC director Hagai Agmon-Snir called Jerusalem a “center of tolerance” in the day-to-day lives of Jews and Arabs, a fact sometimes obscured by occasional outbreaks of violence.

“A short ride on the train shows that there are passengers of every sort on the train. There are Jews and Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, secular, religious, Muslims, Christians, Armenians, tourists, young and old, students,” CityPass spokesman and marketing director Ozel Vatik told Al-Monitor. With the train serving all the city’s populations, he said, the initiative’s goal is to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

East Jerusalemites have greater exposure to Hebrew in their daily lives — as some 35,000 work in the western part each day, Agmon-Snir said — than Jewish Israelis have to Arabic. He said that the project’s aim is to cultivate familiarity and respect among Israelis for the Arabic language and Arabic speakers.

For Arabic Language Week, ticket inspectors have been handing out booklets with words and phrases in Arabic along with their Hebrew translations. Although some of the phrase book’s expressions are useful, teaching Hebrew-speaking passengers polite expressions, such as “Pardon me” and “Would you like my seat?,” others are questionable. “It’s like Europe here” and “How nice it is to sit in the air conditioning,” have little practical use and are more likely to cause puzzlement.

CityPass also sponsored two free Arabic-language courses at one of the central stations outside Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market. They were booked beyond capacity.

Posters featuring Arabic words along with their Hebrew pronunciation and explanations are being displayed at stations throughout the city. Some of the posters were defaced within days at several East Jerusalem stations along the city’s traditional divide. In one instance, the Arabic words for “light rail” were crossed out and the “Arabs out” scrawled in Hebrew below it.

Jerusalem Light Rail prides itself on being the only public transportation system in Israel that broadcasts announcements and posts notices in Hebrew, English and Arabic. Vatik told Al-Monitor that the rationale behind Arabic Language Week was to help bridge the language barrier separating Palestinian and Israeli residents of the city.

Most East Jerusalemites who spoke to Al-Monitor outside the Damascus Gate were unaware of the campaign. Mohammed Abu Khdeir, an engineering student from East Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood, told Al-Monitor that while the intent of the Arabic campaign was positive, its execution could have been better.

“Look at this poster. One word of Arabic and nothing else,” Abu Khdeir remarked, pointing to a sign explaining the Arabic word for meat. “There’s no way to know what this is about.”

Asked what Arabic phrases he thought Israelis should know, he paused pensively before replying, “Nobody has ever asked me that before.” He suggested that the light rail try a similar initiative to help East Jerusalemites learn Hebrew. Hebrew is not taught in East Jerusalem schools, which have a Jordanian curriculum, but a growing number of East Jerusalemites are investing in learning the language to help them navigate life with Israeli Jews.

Vatik said he has received a lot of feedback from Arabic Facebook users on the CityPass site asking for a Hebrew-language initiative, and he hopes to launch one in the near future.

“In the end, we’re riding together, and we live together in this city, and it’s not a bad thing to be familiar with the other’s language. I think there’s a lot of good in it,” Vatik said.

 

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2018-07-14T06:46:11+00:00 July 7th, 2018|Blog, Courses, Language Center, Promoting Tolerance in Jerusalem|

Can Jerusalem Become a Capital of Tolerance?

Can Jerusalem Become a Capital of Tolerance?

Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, Sunday May 13, 2018

Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, Sunday May 13, 2018

Our Michal Shilor, Coordinator for the Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance and organizer of Jerusalemite Day of Diversity on Jerusalem Day, says ‘yes, absolutely!’ Read her column in the Fathom, a highly respected, leading on-line publication. Here’s the link, and here’s the full text:

Michal Shilor believes Jerusalem should be known as ‘the tolerance capital of the world.’ She works at the Jerusalem Intercultural Center as ‘Activism for Tolerance’ Program Director, consulting for more than 80 independent, grassroots initiatives from across the city. She is also the founder and chairwoman of 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem, which provides unedited, unfiltered narratives from East, West, and Haredi Jerusalem, in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

This past May, Jerusalem experienced its potentially most dangerous week. There was Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the unification of Jerusalem in 1967 and signifies its occupation simultaneously. A day later, the American Embassy moved to my city. And one day after that fell Nakba Day – marked by my Palestinian neighbours as the day of their catastrophe (Israel’s independence). And all just before the first day of Ramadan, when more than a third of the city fasts until sundown every day for a month and things seem to slow down, even for the Jews.

Although this series of events could have turned Jerusalem into a war-torn city, they did not, because, although many people are unaware of this development: Jerusalem is changing in ways that mean it has the potential to become the tolerance capital of the world.

This is a new development. After the city was reunified or captured (depends how you look at it) fifty years ago, East and West Jerusalem remained divided de-facto; separate lives, different languages, clashing narratives, During the decades that followed, Zion Square, the heart of West Jerusalem, became the centre for protests and for hatred. The Black Panthers, an Israeli protest movement of second-generation Jewish immigrants from North Africa and Middle Eastern countries, demonstrated in the square, protests sometimes ending in clashes with the police, arrests, and injuries. The city suffered terror attacks that took the lives of 22 and injured 90. In 1995 the square hosted the infamous protests in which a picture of then Prime Minister Rabin in S.S. uniform was held aloft. And in the summer of 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, shortly after the murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir, Zion Square once again became a centre of protest with right-wing and left-wing factions taking over the square, each yelling their slogans (‘death to Arabs’ and ‘revenge’ on one side; ‘down with fascism’ and ‘Bibi, resign’ on the other).

But then something changed. A couple of right- and left-wing college-aged students – myself among them – decided this wasn’t any way to deal with the turmoil of our country. Much to the disbelief of the protestors in the Square, we sat down smack in the middle of the warring protest groups, and started singing songs of mourning, lighting candles and playing the guitar. Some protesters aimed their anger at us in the form of cigarette butts, beer bottles, and spitting; but some sat down and joined us. In retrospect, we made history by simply starting to talk. At the outskirts of the singing circle, a barrier between the protesters, and us were discussions – real, tough discussions. And these discussions changed Zion Square forever.

‘Speaking in the Square’ is an initiative we started in July 2014 and continued over the next three years. We came to the square week after week, to create dialogue, to encourage tolerance, and to create a space in the public sphere where all opinions could be heard. During those three years, Zion Square saw no protests; only spaces for mutual solace and understanding. When 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered in Jerusalem’s Pride Parade in 2015, her public shiva consisted of nightly dialogue circles for seven straight nights – in Zion Square rather than at the spot she was stabbed. In 2016, the municipality officially renamed the square as the centre for ‘dialogue and tolerance,’ and even asked architects to submit proposals for ideas how to make the space even more available for dialogue and tolerance. Alongside these changes, across the entire city small, grassroots groups blossomed and new ideas for promoting tolerance emerged. Jerusalemites began to see their city’s diversity as an asset.

The seeds that were planted in those years are now growing fast. A recent survey (link in Hebrew) found that 82 per cent of Jerusalemites believe it is important to meet people who are different from them; 95 per cent reported that when they meet someone not from their nationality or religion who needs help, they help; 70 per cent reported not having a problem with living in a building with neighbours from a different sector; and 64 per cent wanted their municipality to be comprised of Haredi, Arab, religious and nonreligious members. When people in the streets of Jerusalem were asked what they thought of Jerusalem as ‘the Tolerance Capital of the world’ their responses were astonishing and belie the city’s bad reputation.

That doesn’t mean there is not intolerance, of course.

East Jerusalem is considered occupied by international law, and its residents aren’t granted Israeli citizenship unless they go through a tortuous process that usually lasts several years. They have to prove their residency, which can be revoked for reasons like living or spending too much time outside of Jerusalem, and they need special documents in order to travel outside of Israel. There is racism, there are disputes, and different communities often find it difficult to converse with one another, let alone legitimise narratives different than their own.

Still, 160,000 of us – Jews, Arabs, asylum seekers, LGBTQ, blind, disabled, Ethiopians, right-wing, left-wing – ride the light rail every day, and there are so few racist events reported that there is no active record of them (we checked!). Our city is roughly a third Arab (Muslim and Christian), a third Haredi, and a third modern orthodox or secular. We meet each other in the streets, on public transportation, in restaurants, in hummus places, in garages, in taxis. There are over 1000 activists in a network for tolerance in the city; 500 activist events that celebrate diversity every year; 80 organisations who work towards promoting tolerance in the city; and two coalitions of activists and organisations. On Jerusalem Day alone – a day disputed and uncomfortable for most Jerusalem residents, and best known for the controversial ‘Flag Parade’ that goes through the Muslim quarter – there were over 80 events that promoted tolerance and created a different – I’d argue an authentically Jerusalemite – narrative of the day.

Just as a city which has infrastructure for bike lanes, hosts cycling events, includes a growing community of riders and attracts people from abroad to experience the ‘bicycle capital of the world’, so Jerusalem can become the tolerance capital of the world, despite the serious and unresolved political-diplomatic issues facing the city.

Chen Amram, a local slam poet and activist says we should dare to call Jerusalem the Tolerance Capital of the world. When considering my vision for Israel, my hope is that it will follow in Jerusalem’s footsteps – that the vast array of different groups within Israeli society will find a way to dialogue with one another, and find that more things unite us than divide us.

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

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0202 Coming Full Circle – West Jerusalem News in Arabic

We’ve updated over the past 3 years about the progress of the web site and Facebook platform 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem, which we’ve been mentoring as part of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance. The overarching goal of 0202 is to make Jerusalem’s vastly different populations accessible to one another and the world by encapsulating news and community events and translating and explaining them to the ‘other.’ All without commentary or political agendas.

0202 Showing all sides of Jerusalem

0202 Showing all sides of Jerusalem

It started with 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem, which translates news and Facebook sites read by many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem into Hebrew. This amazingly popular Hebrew Facebook page has become the go-to resource for journalists and city council members, and even East Jerusalem residents themselves, looking for a daily digest for news.

0202 A View from East Jerusalem

0202 A View from East Jerusalem

It then moved on to 0202 – A View from Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jerusalem, which brought news items from Haredi print newspapers and web sites to the general Jewish public, items never before made available to religious and secular Jews.

0202 A View from Haredi Jerusalem

0202 A View from Haredi Jerusalem

The next step was 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem in English, which summarized both pages above in English on a daily basis. It also translated articles and posts from ‘general’ Jewish West Jerusalem, enabling English-speakers to view all of Jerusalem in one click.

0202, the English page

0202, the English page

The last page, which launched earlier this month is 0202 – West Jerusalem in Arabic, which summarizes local and national news items and translates them into Arabic. Here’s the link, take a look!

0202 new Arabic page

0202 new Arabic page

The new page was covered on the Mako Hebrew news site. You can read the article here.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York, the Leichtag Foundation and the Natan Fund for their ongoing support of our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem, and to the Natan Fund, the Leichtag Foundation and the Rayne  Foundation for their specific support of 0202.

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Jerusalemite Day of Diversity in the World Capital of Tolerance

This is the third year that 80 tolerance events took place over 36 hours of Jerusalem Day – events that were created by activists who care for the city, who are happy for its diversity, and who want to celebrate Jerusalem Day in a way that expresses the soul of our city, with grassroots messages of Jerusalemites, by Jerusalemites and for Jerusalemites. Together, we proved again that Jerusalem is not a mixture of political and religious slogans hanging above our heads, but a city that’s been blessed with a broad and interesting human diversity. These events proved that Jerusalem is indeed the World Capital of Tolerance…And if you’re an activist for tolerance from anywhere in the world and want to get to know a bustling and effective community that influences the entire city – you should come to Jerusalem, and almost every day you’ll have something to see, someone to meet and something to learn.

This is how our Michal Shilor, Coordinator of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance, described this year’s Jerusalemite Day of Diversity in her column in the weekly Hebrew-language newspaper, Yediot Yerushalayim. She further summed up the day in a Jerusalem Post article:

Jerusalemites are taking responsibility for Jerusalem Day…there is a different way to celebrate and mark Jerusalem Day, and that there is space for all opinions and all people in this city.

And in this Times of Israel article Michal noted:

We’re creating a new narrative for this city. It isn’t perfect, but it’s all from a huge range of people who live here and create this day together, tagging it as a city of global tolerance, and we’ll become known for that.

Talking and doing tolerance on Jerusalemite Day

Talking and doing tolerance on Jerusalemite Day

Indeed, this year marked another successful year for the Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, which took place on Jerusalem Day, May 13. For the third year running, we, together with hundreds of activists and thousands of participants, brought Jerusalemites back into the equation on Jerusalem Day. The day featured:

  • 36 hours in which our city was decorated with hope, tolerance, special encounters with those whom we usually do not meet
  • 80 events that were initiated, created, participated in and enjoyed by you,
  • thousands of Jerusalemites from all groups in the city,
  • as part of the 500 events that advance tolerance throughout the year.

So what did we have? We had Jerusalemites’ in the Living Room, where a wide range of Jerusalemites – from an American journalist to a member of the Eidah Haredit to a formerly racist soccer fan who now works to build intercultural bridges:

American journalist Sarah Tuttle Singer tells of her experiences in Jerusalem

American journalist Sarah Tuttle Singer tells of her experiences in Jerusalem

And we had tours – of the hidden Muslim cemetery in Independence Park:

Tour of the hidden Muslim cemetery, with Emek Shaveh

Tour of the hidden Muslim cemetery, with Emek Shaveh

Of the Old City of Jerusalem:

Learning about the Old City with Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

Learning about the Old City with Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

There were Postcards from the Soul at the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, where people of all backgrounds created postcards with different languages:

Making postcards in all languages at the Tower of David

Making postcards in all languages at the Tower of David

Along the light rail there were several pop-up events, such as a debka dance group at Safra Square – Municipality:

 

A singing group at Davidka Square:

Singing tolerance in Davidka Square

Singing tolerance in Davidka Square

And a short video of them in action

 

Pop-up mediation from Mosaica:

Learning real-life mediation tools

Learning real-life mediation tools

Of course we can’t forget the parades – the Flower Parade, by Tag Meir:

Distributing flowers instead of hate

Distributing flowers instead of hate

And the Jerusalem March, organized by the Yerushalmit Movement, which brought together hundreds of Jerusalemites on the Railway Park:

Marching along the Railway Park

Marching along the Railway Park

Jerusalem resident Ahuva Lebor, in the above-mentioned Jerusalem Post article, mentioned:

This city is a city of love, a city of community, a city that is respectful, and this [the Jerusalem March] is the best and most respectful march where you see real love for Jerusalem.

After the Jerusalem March, participants gathered at the First Station. Later that evening the outdoor tent was filled to the brim with Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Believers Festival.

At the Believers Festival

At the Believers Festival

And here’s more from the “Believers” Festival at the First Station on Sunday night:

 

Educator and activist Carmiel Frutkoff commented that:

Ending the day with hundreds of Jerusalemites who deeply care for this city and its diversity, was exactly what I needed to survive the day…They say that one small candle, can give enough light to rid an entire room of darkness, just imagine what hundreds of good and compassionate people can do to our city…

Here’s his full post on Facebook:

Sunday evening also featured the Creating Tolerance: A Jerusalemite View Conference at the Reut School, which featured members of the community, MKs, and Jerusalemite activists.

Listening to different opinions at the Reut School

Listening to different opinions at the Reut School

Hechal Shlomo at the Great Synagogue also joined in the festivities, with a gallery discussion on its “This Too is Possible” exhibit, which included both Jewish and Arab artists.

From the This Too is Possible exhibit

From the This Too is Possible exhibit

Rounding out the festivities was an open mic night at the Abraham Hostel:

Open mic night at the Abraham Hostel

Open mic night at the Abraham Hostel

We’ve gotten rave reviews from many people. City council member Elad Malka wrote:

We Jerusalemites know that we live here [in Jerusalem] because of the differences and diversity and not despite them. That is why it’s so important for us to live in this city. Other places are just too boring.

Here’s his Facebook post:

Others said:

Without you none of this would have happened, and it definitely would not have become a tradition, especially not in the quality and quantity [of events and activities]. Thank you, and thanks to the general public and to all the ambassadors of tolerance of Jerusalem!

Here’s the Hebrew post:

Indeed, this year we found exactly how much Jerusalemites treasure this diversity. We recent polled Jerusalemites, which was covered by the Mako Hebrew-language news site (associated with the Channel 2 TV news station), and which showed that:

  • 82% of Jerusalemites are happy that there are different groups in the city;
  • 82% feel it’s important to meet people different from them, and 96% report that they do in fact meet people who have a different religion or nationality than them on a daily basis.
  • 70% wouldn’t have a problem living in the same building with someone from a different sector.
  • 95% of the respondents noted that they would help a person in need, even if he / she was from a different religion.

Everything was documented and updated on the Jerusalem Tolerance web site. This year there were more than 350 clicks into the site on Jerusalemite Day!

Leading up to the day two videos were made, this one, by spoken word artist  Chen Amram:

 

And this one, filmed in the popular Mamilla Mall and Old City market:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York, and the Natan Fund for their continued support in working to advance tolerance in Jerusalem.

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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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