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Nov 26, 2018

Hartman & Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian Schools meet

In conversation
In conversation

Around 45 students and teachers from Hartman High School and Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian Christian High School, met on a Sunday at the Armenian School. After a short walk through the courtyards of the Church and the Quarter and a visit to the library, they all reached the school, where they watched a presentation prepared by the 12 graders about the life of the young Armenians in Jerusalem.

Then the students went through a series of ice-breaker exercises, in small groups that changed for each exercise.

Amir, the Hebrew teacher, explained that the studies in the school are conducted in English and that each of the students also knows Armenian. According to the family, students also know Hebrew or Arabic. When they graduate they know all four(!) languages. Amir described the growing trend of exposure to Israeli culture and going to universities, with a general attitude of integration while preserving the Armenian identity.

The next part was a joint conversation in small groups about the similar and different in the Holidays that just ended – Purim and Carnaval, and those coming – Pesach and Easter.

Finally, in what already became a tradition, the students had a pizza lunch and a soccer game in the special field of the school in front of the Old City walls.

Playing together
Playing together


Nov 21, 2018

Two encounters of LIFE group



In our July encounter we spoke about the 9th of Av (according to the Hebrew calendar), the saddest day of the year for Jews. According to the tradition, both the first and second Temples were destroyed on this day. In addition, many other tragedies happened to the Jewish nation around this day.


The 9th of Av is a fasting day and there are rules that help us feel in mourning. It is not allowed to sit on a chair (people sit on the floor), to greet each other, to wear leather shoes, and even to study Torah because it makes one happy. There is a custom to read "Kinot" (sad poems, describing difficult times in Jewish history) in the morning of the 9th of Av. Some people read sad books or watch sad films, like films about the Shoa.


It is very important to do things that make us feel that we lack something – as individuals and as a society. Our goal is to feel the absence so that we wish to build a better society during the rest of the year. Therefore it is very important to imagine a better future and hope and expect that it is possible to repair. If we pass the fast without hope, we didn't do what is required from us.

It is said that the Messiah will be born on the 9th of Av, so within the sorrow there are seeds of hope.


After the explanation on the 9th of Av, rose the question of the Temple's location. This led to an interesting conversation about the future and how can we live together in peace if we quarrel over the same place. We also spoke about a wider question – should we discuss political issues in our encounters. People had different views.

We also spoke about those who are "observant" in our communities and what does that entail regarding going up to the Temple Mount and fasting.

In our group we have people who observe the rules of religion and people who don't.


The group continues to grow and we had 20 people. We had new members, including an 8-year old boy from Male Adumim who connected with a 22-year old guy from Azariya.





We had a very interesting encounter - each person spoke for about 5 minutes on the meaning of their name. We took name tags and wrote our names in Hebrew and Arabic. We also welcomed a new Jewish member, Arlene. 


Oct 11, 2018

Interfaith Encounter Day 2018

Around 60 people came on 6 September to the annual gathering of "Interfaith Encounter Day" that took place this year too at the Felm Center in Jerusalem.


This year we added an artistic component – an artist led a process of joint creation of a bench and a group of participants worked with him. Other participants enjoyed refreshments and informal conversations, with people they knew and with new people.

At six we held a short session of blessings. Rev. Seppo Paulasaari welcomed us in the name of Felm and stressed how much they are happy cooperating with IEA. Then Dr. Yehuda Stolov greeted the people and stressed the unique opportunity for people who attend encounters of one group to meet people from other groups and learn how they work, and for new people to get to know IEA in a special way.

Then participants talked with each other in encounter circles. They got to know each other personally as well as shared and learned about the ways various groups work.

At seven thirty we invited people for a light supper.


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