If making Jerusalem a culturally competent city is to continue to be one of our main goals, then making the Municipality Culturally Competent is one of our major tasks. The task is huge – there are dozens of municipal departments and thousands – if not tens of thousands – of municipal workers.
Slowly but surely, we’re working our way through. In the summer we began in-depth processes with the Community Services Administration, one of the Municipality’s main arms. You can read more about it here. We’ve also begun working with the Comptroller’s office.
Last week, on October 6, staff from the Comptroller’s office had an intensive learning experience in cultural competency, with Mount Zion as a case study. They first had a tour of Mount Zion by Merav, coordinator of our Window to Mount Zion project, with an emphasis on some of the many stories of cultural competence that the project has facilitated over the past year, from enabling Christian pilgrims to enter David’s Tomb for a short time during the Orthodox Christian Pentacost (in years past this has caused violent reactions by Jewish devotees), to sharing the Mount on the during the weekend when the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Catholic and Protestant celebration of Easter. (You can read more about the Window to Mount Zion project here and here, and about Purim / Easter here.)
After learning about the uniqueness of Mount Zion and the Window to Mount Zion project, we presented the Comptroller’s office staff with a general overview of the principles of cultural competency at our home on Mount Zion. This began the discussion on how to integrate these principles into the everyday work of the Comptroller’s office.
They told us how excited they were to see these areas in person. They’d dealt with a lot of issues on Mt. Zion, but had never had the introduction and explanations that we gave them. They were happy to get that different perspective.
We’ll keep you posted on future developments.