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 29, 2015

Breaking Down Borders

Sometimes, the best information about a program is found in the voices of the participants themselves. We hope to have raised sufficient funds to hold our next multi-day  Masa/Masar soon, as the conflict continues to give evidence of the need for this program.  So, while we prepare for the coming one, we want you to get a sense of the ‘Journey” (Masa/Masar) program in the participant’s own words.

           https://youtu.be/rc8efuLQHNc

But, while we wait, the Spiritual Center and its Peace Museum have been busy Breaking Down Borders through public multicultural and multi-faith programs like the one on the Shoah, the Rebirth and the Nakba where borders are taken down as participants learn from one another and see through the eyes of the other.  On November 18 the Museum and Pluralistic Spiritual Center held the third in the Peace Museum’s project: "Remembering the Righteous," honoring those who acted in different places, all over the world, to save the lives of others.

The first two programs explored the holocaust and the Armenian genocide, remembering the righteous and sharing stories of heroism. The most recent program focused on the topic of Palestinians who saved Jews during the events of 1929.  Avraham (Avrum) Burg, former speaker of the Israeli Parliament and former head of the Jewish Agency, shared the story of his mother and her family, who were saved by a Palestinian family’s heroism during the Hebron massacre.

           

We look forward, soon, to being able to engage another several dozen Israeli Palestinian and Jewish young adults in breaking down their borders and helping to transform the conflict person by person, family by family.

Links:

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,"

 
   

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