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.
Mar 23, 2016

Building Circles of Trust in the next generation

Building Circles of Trust in the next generation.

In early March, a group of 30 Jewish, Muslim and Christian teenagers were led by the Pluralistic Spiritual Center (PSCC) at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, in cooperation with “Open House” in Ramle, in the program Masa/Massar,  focused on developing Israeli Palestinian and Jewish young adult leadership.

The journey of discovery this Spring included opportunities for connecting through the arts, faith traditions and cultural history. Whether at the house of the artist Nihad Dabeet, the Open House in Ramle, or a walk across and through in Jerusalem, there was dialogue about the impact of current issues on themselves, their country and the sites. Whether hiking to a Christian convent and the Sanctuary of the Tomb of Saint Elizabeth, the Mosque in Abu Gosh or the Synagogue in Nataf, at each stop, participants had significant conversations with representatives of that site.

 

Sabbath was celebrated with a dinner on a farm close to Jerusalem. The blessing of the food was made according to the different traditions of the religions, in Hebrew and Arabic.

            “The message is that we can dare to create structures that can bring people together in equality.”

 

The group spent two nights in group reflections at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam’s Pluralistic Community Center. As they moved between different sites, communities and people, again and again they returned to the core question of what was learned from the encounter that could be brought into their lives

“The focus throughout the journey was on finding places where we can meet, respect each other, discover ways that we can enrich each other and create a reality in which there is hope for everyone”

 

We look forward to training the many participants who hope to become peer-leaders for future journeys.  They will become builders of more trust, tolerance and mutual respect in our future generation.

Feb 2, 2016

Courage and Commitment

Sixty-one Jewish and Palestinian Israelis, all teenagers, took part in a four-day residential youth encounter at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. Under the guidance of extensively-trained School for Peace facilitators, these sixty-one young adults experienced the power of dialogue at the School for Peace. These students, from Givat Brener and Nazareth High Schools, developed skills and worked on projects. They argued, they broke bread together and they listened to, and learned from, one another. Their seriousness and commitment was inspiring to their families and their peers as well, as others look forward to having this opportunity. During challenging times, the world needs those with courage to try something new and commitment to put the new skills to work.

“Here in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, we have one aim: peaceful reconciliation between our two peoples. In order to work fruitfully towards this aim, we need to have mutual understanding and consideration of each other.”
From the (1996) last will of Father Bruno Hussar, founder (in 1976) of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

Jan 20, 2016

Not just slogans!

Not just slogans!

Equality, respect and acceptance of the ‘other’ are guiding principles for the first binational, bilingual and multi-cultural school in Israel, run jointly and equally by Jews and Arabs.

In a region where everything, even the olive harvest, is politicized, Palestinian and Jewish Primary School classmates picked olives together, surrounded by teachers, parents and community members. These students worked together to harvest the fruits of the dozens of olive trees planted 40 years ago and more on their school land. Hebrew and Arabic songs and conversations floated across the warm air, everyone’s olives were mixed together for the pressing. At a time when hearing others speaking Hebrew or Arabic can foster a sense of fear or of belonging, connections across language, village and history were made by these children’s parents.

The children will lead: The 6th grade class has a dream for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples, so they prepared a program for parents, students and friends, held in the Eisenberg Auditorium, where they spoke about the meaning of democracy and narrated key events of Yitzak Rabin’s life and tragic death. Students took turns, in Hebrew and Arabic, to voice messages of hope and peace.

We the students of Wahat al- Salam-Neve Shalom School call on everyone to strive for human unity, advance tolerance and understanding, and put an end to wars and violence.”

            “Now is the time to strengthen our determination and remind the world that a different way, based on equal coexistence, mutual respect and sharing of responsibility is possible.”

Courage can be contagious

Classroom

Instead of being dismayed by Israeli-Arab conflict outside the village, the Primary School decided to grow by 12% this fall as it welcomed a second first-grade class, with equal numbers of Israeli Palestinian and Jewish children. Plans are now in place to admit two first-grade classes each year for the next five years, effectively doubling the student body. The place where today 200 Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children live, learn and play together in Arabic and Hebrew, will grow into a community of 400 children

 
   

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