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.
Jun 13, 2013

Extending the Encounters

Two Peoples Write from Right to Left
Two Peoples Write from Right to Left

This summer, the School for Peace has embarked on a new program to engage high school teachers who for years have been escorting students to NSWAS for youth encounters, without the opportunity to participate in the dialogue themselves. The new program, "Two Peoples Read from Right to Left," gives teachers the tools to expose their students to the life of the "other" and to develop tolerence, acceptance and respect for the culture of other culture. The program uses the SFP’s 2012 anthology, Two Peoples Write from Right to Left, which was developed over nearly twenty years of encounter workshops hosted by the School for Peace, and includes carefully-selected poems and stories in Hebrew and Arabic, which epitomize the separate realities of the two peoples. 

Teachers will participate in two three-day bicultural workshops. The first meeting will take the form of an encounter workshop, enabling each participant to explore the Arab Jewish conflict through the personal experiences of the participants in the group, and to examine the asymmetric power relations between Jews and Arabs, issues of racism, inferiority and superiority and more. The second three-day workshop will be devoted to literature, with teachers will modeling the teaching of stories and poems from the other nationality to the group. Participants from the other group will observe and then have an opportunity to give feedback and discuss the work further. 

This new program aims to take the work of the Youth Encounters back into high school classrooms, influencing the teachers' daily work at school and the perceptions they pass on to their students. The participants will gain the skills and confidence to teach the literature of the "other" in their curricula, and make this a more integral part of their lessons.  And next year, these teachers will also be able to escort their students to the youth encounter workshops in Neve Shalom/Wahat-al-Salam in a more meaningful way, giving them the support they need to keep working towards peace and understanding beyond their encounters.

Jun 13, 2013

Caring for Their World

Primary School students plant a new tree
Primary School students plant a new tree

This year, the students at the Primary School have been engaging in programming to learn how to care not only for each other but also the world around them. The students have been learning to nurture their environment, planting trees along the road leading up to the village in honor of Tu B’Shevat and Eid i-Shajara, and spending an activity day in the forest before spring break. Being green means, “making the effort so that the world will be cleaner for the people and the animals that live here,” explained Rayna, a sixth grader.

In April, the Primary School hosted an event centered on the Green Network, to which nine surrounding schools were invited. The Green Network program aims to educate children of all religions and races on the importance of the environment, and to monitor and support schools in initiating and developing environmental programs to reduce the ecological footprint of individuals and the surrounding community. The Green Network has operated with over 40 schools and 30 kindergartens in all sectors of the population in Israel; with Jews and Arabs, religious and secular; from the Galilee to Negev. At the program children were taught about the benefits of recycling, reusing, and the importance of being green. The Primary School has taken part in this program for the last three years! This year they had the honor of hosting under a new canopy over the turf play area.

The Primary School at NSWAS is so committed to recycling that it has a recycled art room, made from one of the first two wood huts that the people lived in when they settled the village. Everything inside and out is made from recycled materials and the kids work building art projects made of 100% recycled material. This could be just the beginning. The school staff would also like to develop a system to capture rainwater for irrigation, to construct solar electric panels on the roof, and even build a new kindergarten building in adobe style with recycled materials. Over the next few years there are plans to build a “Greenhouse Science Center” which will also incorporate the school’s current Zoo Lab animal center with a recycling center and plant nursery, and eventually be used as an education center for other schools in the region. The center will combine ecology with other areas of learning to create a hands-on experience for many more children in the region. 

The recycled art room
The recycled art room
Mar 21, 2013

Massa-Masar The Journey New Direction 2013-4

Massa-Masa
Massa-Masa

This Massa–Masar program focuses on developing leadership among Jewish and Arab young adults aged 18 and older. It will include up to 20 young adults from Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam and more from outside the NSWAS community.

The goal of the program is help these young people become conscientious and creative leaders who will be able to develop and implement new programs that will promote equality, freedom and human rights for all citizens of Israel.
Massa–Masar The Journey New Direction 2013-4 will give participants the tools and confidence to work with others and will focus on building transformational leadership, helping a new generation build a different future.

Once they have a knowledge base on the Arab-Jewish conflict, participants will then be empowered to gain practical experience — first by facilitating a group that encourages personal growth and development.

Massa-Masar will be a six-month program structured around six intensive seminars featuring experts from different disciplines. Each month, there will be a day-long seminar on the following subjects: techniques of group facilitation; how to tell a story and how to listen to someone else’s story; the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict; interpersonal communication skills; the study of different ethnic groups; skills for changing personal perspectives for leaders of the future.

Between these day-long seminars, the participants will meet with a group leader who will invite them to share their thoughts, questions, stories of personal growth, and reflections on the group process they are experiencing. They will develop ideas for projects promoting peace and human rights, and when they return to their homes, they will be able to create and implement these projects with the children and young adults of their communities.

We look forward to witnessing the emergence of new initiatives by and involving young people throughout the county. The communication skills and creative techniques fostered by Massa–Masar will, we believe, form the foundation of such initiatives. 


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