Yesterday we turned the tables on the Project Management Training for Multicultural Project Leaders, which is supported generously by the Rosenzweig-Coopersmith Foundation. This training is intended for Change Agents and Project Leaders in Jerusalem that are doing Inter-cultural work. It is an 18-week course that covers the principles of project management, effective activism, challenges of multi-cultural groups, and the special case of Jerusalem for all its residents.
On February 19, we took the entire course out on a tour of Jerusalem. But instead of us teaching participants, they themselves taught us. They were the tour guides, they were the experts. We, and everyone else in the course, sat back and learned.
This was part of the section of the course that dealt with Jerusalem. Other meetings on Jerusalem featured 3 different panels from Jerusalem’s 3 major population groups – one on the Ultra-Orthodox population, one on the Palestinian population and one on the non-Haredi Jewish population.
We went to all different areas in the city. We went to A-Tur, Beit Safafa, Jebel el-Mukaber and Silwan in East Jerusalem. Participants were shocked at the state of infrastructures there – the lack of sidewalks, the garbage, roads and signs in disrepair – all of the lacking infrastructure that they must deal with on a daily basis. In A-Tur we learned about special education in East Jerusalem. In Beit Safafa / Pat we learned about the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education, and its unique activities, bringing together Jewish and Arab children to study in the same classroom, in Hebrew and Arabic.
A participant from the Katamonim neighborhood told us about her community, a Jewish and economically disadvantaged neighborhood that is undergoing some urban renewal processes. She also spoke about the Ethiopian community there, of which she is a part. We also went to the German and Greek colonies, where we heard about those neighborhoods from a local artist, another participant. She showed us a street exhibition of several artists that her works were displayed in.
The Haredi (Ultra-orthodox Jewish) neighborhoods also left a strong impression. For many of the non-Haredi participants, Arab and Jewish alike, this was the first time they had ever ventured into these areas and taken a close look. We went to Sanhedria, to Romema, and other adjacent neighborhoods. We went past the Belz ‘castle’; we learned what a ‘Talmud Torah’ is, what a gmach is, what a mikveh is. Even the Jewish non-Haredi participants, who had heard of the terms, learned their meaning through the eyes of their fellow Haredi participants in the course.