American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

The American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam encourages, supports and publicizes the projects of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the "Oasis of Peace." For more than thirty years, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam has been dedicated to dialogue, cooperation and a genuine and durable peace between Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis. Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to live and work together as equals in this community to promote trust, understanding and mutual respect.
Dec 21, 2010

Partnership for Change: an interfaith workshop

Participants
Participants

Over three days from Thursday, December 16 to Saturday, December 19, a group of 25 young people, Israelis and Palestinians, gathered in the Arab~Jewish village of Wahat al-Salam~Neve Shalom for a dialogue around the theme: “partnership for change”. The purpose was to encourage the participants to find ways and create opportunities to work together for peace and justice in our region.

The activity was initiated in partnership with two other NGOs, the Sulha Peace Project and the Open House - Ramle, who also belong to the “Global Network of Religion for Children” (GNRC).

The young people, together with their facilitators and adult members of the three NGOs, took part in activities that included religious celebration and prayer belonging to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions; singing of songs in Arabic and Hebrew, folklore dance and facilitated sharing circles to promote dialogue between the participants. The sharing circles enabled the young people to tell their personal stories – many of which were difficult and painful. The stories brought out the very different realities lived by Israelis and Palestinians. Yet by sharing in this way, it was possible to awaken empathy, bridge the gaps, and awaken a common yearning for peace and social justice. While the challenges remain enormous, it became possible to visualize a changed reality and discuss how to work together to realize this vision.

The venue chosen, Wahat al-Salam ~ Neve Shalom, as a village that symbolizes the possibility of an equal, shared existence between Jews and Palestinians, helped to concretize the vision. As part of the program, the group toured the various educational institutions of the village and received an explanation on these from GNRC Israel coordinator Dorit Shippin.

During the workshop
During the workshop

Links:

Dec 4, 2010

Interfaith Holiday Celebration at the School

Every year, the Primary School chooses certain holidays for the children to celebrate. This year, due to the proximity of the Muslim Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha), the Hijri or Muslim New Year, the Jewish Hanukkah holiday and Christmas, we prepared a celebration in common for all the children and their parents.

From the beginning of November, the teachers began discussing and planning the celebration, and divided the celebration among the classes, so that each class would play a particular role in the celebration. The children prepared art work, songs, plays and quizzes. The Eisenberg Family auditorium was decked out in holiday trappings and painting and drawings by the children were hung on the walls and windows.

A little after 6:30 PM, the parents and children took their places and the celebration began. We began by honoring a guest, the American philanthropist and benefactor of the school, Richard Goodwin and his partner Sondra, who were with us for the celebration, and then launched into the activities that the children had proudly prepared.  

One activity led into another, from singing to processions illustrating parts of the pilgrimage to Mecca, to a visit of the three wise men, to the story of Hannukah, with respect and honor for each holiday and each religion, and some original ideas of presentation. The evening was fun for children, teachers and parents, and everyone learned something new about each other's faith and culture.

Links:

Oct 23, 2010

Young Palestinians and Jews on the field

Participants on the field
Participants on the field

The 22 participants of the Youth Encounter Human Rights program continue to meet about once a month in the binational community of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. 

The young people are now observing how human rights are implemented in institutions and in their communities. They then report and discuss their findings with the group. Later on they will meet with leaders of these institutions and communities to present their recommendations.

Encounter at the School for Peace
Encounter at the School for Peace

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