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.
Aug 6, 2015

About Good Deeds and Respect

Every year, Primary School participates in Good Deeds Day, where students and teachers focus on helping and improving the lives of others. This year, the 5th grade students, along with the help of their teachers, the Village biologist and gardener, representatives of the student environmental committee, and the NADI Director, carried out a project over the two weeks leading up to Good Deeds Day. The project set out to help the Bustan Snobar (Pine Tree) Kindergarten, an Arab kindergarten that takes care of 8 autistic children. On Good Deeds Day, everyone came together to clean up the school, paint the outer wall, place birdhouses created by PS students from recycled materials, install beautiful mosaics and wind chimes, plant flowers and other plants the 5th graders selected from the PS Greenhouse, and set up an irrigation system.
To honor the memory of both nationalities, the teachers of our Primary School conducted programs for both the Palestinian and Jewish children. Listening to each other’s stories of what it means to live together in coexistence and peace, respecting each other’s narratives, helped everyone understand the impact of the conflict. The children came together to draw pictures symbolizing what living together in peace meant to them.

Jul 13, 2015

Breaking Down Borders: A Special Journey

During May 7th to the 11th, the Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center in collaboration with Open House, Ramle organized a four day Breaking Down Borders journey for 30 Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Teenagers. The purpose of this journey is to empower young leaders, have them learn about diversity together, meet ‘the other’ face to face, and bring hope to all.

The four day journey began with a visit to the Orthodox School, the old town, and a local artist’s home in Ramle. Making their way to Jerusalem, the group took a walking tour the next day, meeting with an ultra-orthodox Jewish woman in Mea Shearim. The group discussed with her what it was like to have grown up within an ultra-orthodox community. Later, the group went on to visit the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarakh and listened to the young activists who spoke of their struggles of protecting their community. In addition, the group listened to members of the Ethiopian Church community.

The next two nights were spent in Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam, learning about the shared Arab-Jewish community, meeting nuns from the nearby Beatitudes Christian community near Latroun. On the last day, the group met with an imam of a large mosque in Abu Ghosh and then representatives of Nataf, a mixed Jewish religious and non-religious community. The final experience of the journey was a visit to a synagogue, where the group listened to hazanic singing.

A month after the journey, the Givat Brener kibbutz hosted the group for a heart-warming get together where the participants shared hugs along with their own stories and experiences after their journey together.

“I would like to live in a mixed city, step by step. I don’t think this would totally solve the conflict, but hatred does not have to be a part of it.” (16-year-old participant)

“This journey changed me. I will always ask questions. I will try to help everyone. I don’t promise but I will listen and try. It is important to hear before you judge.” (16-year-old participant).

May 11, 2015

School for Peace and Higher Education

The School for Peace is excited to announce Harb Amara as the newest member of the team. Harb Amara comes to the School for Peace as their new Program Director. Mr. Amara is no stranger to social change; he has worked with the School for Peace and USAID in the past and is also the head of Community Services and Prevention of Violence in the Family in Nazareth.

“We want to continue to identify potential ways of leading social progress. We know we cannot hold back what happens around us. What we can do is continue seeking solutions and finding partners, seeking what is common to all, joining with other actors who want people to be happier in their lives,” says Mr. Amara.

In April, Simona Susskin, member of the Belgium and European Parliaments, organized a group of 50 Belgium youth studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to take part in a School for Peace seminar.

The SFP recently presented on a panel that was titled “Pluralism in Higher Education,” held at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute Conference focusing on advancing higher education in the Arab community. As a result of the conference, the Open University and Azrieli College turned to the SFP to organize courses with their students. Due to the successful nature of past courses and programs, there are plans of renewing the graduate forums in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Nazareth to support graduate run initiatives.

 

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