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.
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.

May 11, 2015

Expanding Horizons of the Primary School Pupils

Primary School Kids
Primary School Kids

The Primary School encourages students to work with the community and reach out to others through their artistic skills. The Primary School has displayed their pieces in various art events through the years. In mid-February, the school kids, teachers and families came together to work on adding a part of themselves to the school. This was done with the help of artist Benjamin Swatez and his two colleagues Robert Markey and Shira Shvadron, who were guests at the village for a week. Everyone collaborated by preparing a mural for the school, creating a beautiful mosaic with fish and birds at the entrance of the school building and working on individual drawings. As part of the program, our pupils also selected their favorite drawings and painted it onto canvases which will be exhibited at the United Nations in New York City

Last fall, a group of German pupils and teachers visited the Primary School from a primary school in Dusseldorf called Freiherr-vom-Stein-Realschule. Both schools have been working together on class projects and communicate with each other on a regular basis. In an effort to continue expanding the children’s horizons and cross cultural relationships, the 6th grade class, accompanied by English teacher Raida, and Carmella, the principal took a trip to Germany to see how the German students spend their days learning. This exciting educational trip was a memorable experience for the 6th grade class. The trip nurtured the relationships between the two classes as well as both schools; there are already talks of expanding this class exchange to a family exchange.

Soon to be published, Dr. Alon Fragman and Dr. Aura Mor-sommerfeld have recently completed their first round of research on the Primary School bilingual educational model. The research set out to test the Arabic language proficiency of Hebrew-speakers in the Primary School, grades 2-4. The results show that the Primary School students scored as much as 50 points higher (on a scale of 100) than Israeli high school students studying Arabic. “The exposure to both Arabic and Hebrew already begins in kindergarten through elementary school, in a well-organized systematic bilingual program conducted by teachers who are familiar with second language pedagogy. This unique concept of the bilingual Arabic-Hebrew school of Neve Shalom seems to have a major effect on the acquisition process”, say Fragman and Mor-Sommerfeld.

 
   

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