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.
Nov 6, 2015

Youth Encounters for Engineering students

Youth Encounters for Engineering students:

The School for Peace meets Jewish and Palestinians participants “where they are.” The Youth Encounter that is usually a residential (at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam) intensive program with older students from Arab and Jewish high schools, is now being offered over a longer time period to college-age youth.

Currently working with the students at Azrieli College of Engineering. In Jerusalem, the School for Peace brings together Azrieli’s Arab and Jewish student population which includes residents of East Jerusalem and those who are religious and politically conservative. Azrieli College recognized that it was going to be vital to open communications between the two student groups as tensions can often run high. This semester-long course/ encounter enables these students, who will be entering the work world, to understand their Jewish – Arab conflict, and build communication skills in a way that can contribute to reducing the conflict.

The students, who study together for three years, often never interacted with those from the other nationality. For many the program was the first time they openly discussed issues with the other side. Meeting both at Azrieli College and at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, they spoke about life in East Jerusalem, the Gaza war last summer, discrimination, terrorist activities and many issues that are at the heart of the conflict.

The success of the program has led Azrieli College to request that the School for Peace run the program again next year, doubling the number of meetings.

Oct 30, 2015

Hope increases in hard times

Hope increases in hard times:

Amid the increased levels of mistrust and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam’s Bilingual/Binational Primary School saw an increase in applications! An additional class of first-graders was welcomed for the opening of the 2015-2016 school year. They were greeted by the 6th graders in what has become a tradition at the Primary School.


Principal Carmella Ferber knows the power of music as a tool for peaceful dialogue, opening new pathways to learning as well as opening hearts. The opening of the school year was led by the new music teacher.

Playing the oud, he had the children singing in Hebrew and Arabic. A few weeks later, two internationally known musicians- Israeli Udi-Bar David playing cello and Palestinian Hanna Khoury, playing violin – both now living in Philadelphia, performed for the children, and then offered the children an opportunity to sing some well-known folksongs while being accompanied by world-class musicians!
Coming from a dozen towns and villages within a twenty-mile radius, every day the children return to their communities and families with the evidence that learning and living together is not only possible, it is enriching. Families begin to see their world a bit differently every day, and step by step- following the lead of their children- families, neighbors and then communities come to see the power of mutual respect and a shared future.

As a parents committee representative said on opening day,"Our school is a growing garden and you are its flowers,"

Sep 29, 2015

Light a flame of peace in everyone's heart

In August, “Breaking Down Borders” meant welcoming The Earth Caravan, a Japanese Buddhist group commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. From Hiroshima, they carried with them a message of hope: “Our goal is to light a flame of peace in everyone’s heart” and, carrying with them a lantern that had been lit in Hiroshima, they lit candles at the Spiritual Center Peace Museum.

Young and old, members of the village and invited guests, all gathered at the Peace Museum- decorated with garlands of a thousand origami cranes, reflecting the tradition of a Japanese legend and the famous story of radiation victim Sadako Sasaki, symbolizing peace, love and compassion. Buddhist chants for universal well-being, translated into Arabic, Hebrew and English and the song “Share” (composed by the group’s founder, Ryokyo Endo and translated into 16 languages) became one more way to bridge barriers of distance and language.

  “The Caravan shares the mission of the Peace Museum: presenting ways of life, thinking and ideas that promote our common humanity and presenting a more hopeful path, lighting the way to the future for all of us.” Dyana Shaloufi Rizek,  Peace Museum director 

Here was what the Japanese pilgrims saw: Jewish and Palestinian Israelis together offering the vision of borders already broken down, of peace being built day by day and of a joyful inclusion of yet another language, another way of seeing, a living vision of “a flame of peace, lit in the heart.” We look forward to the next Breaking the Barriers worshop later this Fall. 

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