Walking in Jaffa's Shoes

by Sadaka-Reut Arab Jewish Youth Partnership
Walking in Jaffa's Shoes
Viewers at our film launch
Viewers at our film launch

Dear supporters,

The last few months have not been easy, particularly the past weeks in which we saw renewed violence in Gaza result in dozens of deaths. During these challenging times, we turn to our work and our participants to give us hope.

Thanks to your support, hundreds of local and international participants have undergone our alternative tour of Jaffa this year. During May, we took part in a local initiative surrounding Nakba Day on May 15th, in which people had the opportunity to hear from a number of local guides, both in person and online. All the guides were from Jaffa, so they all were able to tell not only the story of the city, but also their own personal and family stories, connecting what happened in 1948 to their lives today.

Then, in July, you helped us host our first in person event since COVID-19 - a launch of our short documentary on Jaffa, a virtual companion to our tours. In the short documentary, "I'm From Jaffa," viewers are taken on a tour of the nearly 4,000 year old city of Jaffa. Told through the eyes Amoneh Asfour - born and raised in Jaffa - "I'm From Jaffa" gives viewers chance to break out of the usual story told by city authorities, by which Jaffa is merely a suburban neighborhood of Tel-Aviv or a tourist attraction, and to see the city in its impressive past and the hardships it faces today. Amoneh and her family's story is an important reminder that the only way to get to know a city is through the experiences of its residents, challenges and all. Over 60 of our community members gathered to watch the film, and then to listen to a panel of Jaffans discuss the film and their experiences living in the city. A few days later, we held an online screening in English, in which participants got to hear from the film's subject, Jaffan activist Amoneh Asfour, who spoke about language, identity, and her connection to Jaffa. We have begun to show screenings of the film to schools, and to engage youth in conversation as to their own thoughts and feelings about the film. Our hope is to expand our capacity next year and to hold more screenings for youth in local school, as well as bring more schools on in person tours - something we can only accomplish with your continued support. You can view the film here, and please reach out if you're interested in scheduling an online screening in your community.

Thank you for making all of this possible, we hope to be writing you in near future under better circumstanes.

Sincerely,

The Sadaka-Reut Team

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Since the start of 2022, we have completed our Tours Facilitation Training Course, in which seven local Palestininan and Jewish Israelis were trained to facilitate Sadaka-Reut's alternative tour of Jaffa.

Over the years, through Sadaka-Reut’s nearly four decades of educational shared society work with dialogue groups, we developed a socio-historical tour of Jaffa that tells the once vibrant Palestinian port city’s unheard story, one that goes beyond Jaffa as merely a suburb of Tel-Aviv or an appealing tourist attraction. Through the tour we reveal the complexities - and thus the opportunities - that color the lives of the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Jaffa, and in mixed cities in general. Ignoring these complexities continues and strengthens their existence, whereas directly engaging with them is a necessary step in order to create opportunities for shared living. After the events of May, we have been blown away by the number of requests we have received to give tours to Palestinian and Jewish schools, local community centers, international gap-year programs, and other interested parties. At the moment, we do not have the capacity to give tours to all who want, nor are we able to offer tours free of charge, thereby limiting the communities and individuals who can participate. 

Through our facilitation training, we created space for our bi-national group participants to develop skills for joint bi-national work, practical facilitation tools, and knowledge they can share with their local Jaffan communities as well as communities outside of Jaffa. The course took place over three months and had 12 sessions, including dialogue groups and historical analysis, practical facilitation experience, and lectures from local experts (residents, activists, and academics) so that the participants will be equipped, in turn, to run tours in Jaffa to different groups from a place of deep familiarity with the city’s historical context. Because of this project, we have already been able to serve a larger population by running several times the number of tours we are currently been able to. 

During the month of April, we took part in a local initiative aimed at ending the housing crisis in Jaffa, which currently has over 500 families that are set to be evicted from their homes. As part of this initiative, both old and new facilitators lead local tours for Jewish Israelis, in order to raise awareness and knowledge surrounding the historical and current circumstances that have lead to the housing crisis. Thus far, over 100 locals have undergone our tour of Jaffa as part of this initiative.

It is because of your support that locals have been empowered to tell their personal and family stories, and to bring their experiences to others. We thank you dearly and hope you will continue to support this important project!

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Dear partners,

This past year has been a challenging one for us all, yet as we look back and reflect, we are proud of the work we were able to do in our Tours Department. 

Thanks to your support, in 2021, 323 people participated in our open tours of Jaffa. Our participants included local schools and youth centers, university students, tour groups, and many more. 

In light of the events of the past year, particularly surrounding the violence we saw around the country in cities like Jaffa, we believe our alternative tour is more important now than ever. In the words of one Palestinian tour participant, ""I learned that you cannot simply let go of the past and turn a new page. Because history repeats itself all the time and we must recognize and address the wrongdoings of the past and work to mend them if we want to be able to move forward."

Now, looking ahead to 2022, we are about to begin our Tour Facilitators Training Program. In the program, both Palestinian and Jewish locals will learn how to run our alternative tour in an intensive 6-week course that will consist of classes with academics and local activists, as well as a practicum in which the participants will themselves build and lead a tour. 

Thank you for your support which allows us to adapt to the most pressing needs of our community in the face of an ever changing context. Will you consider joining us ensure the success of the Tour Facilitator Training Program

Wishing a happy holiday season and a bright new year to us all.

Warmly,

The Sadaka-Reut Team

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Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa

The Events of May 2021

A lot has happened since our last report to you, our supporters. 

As you probably know, in May 2021 ongoing institutional violence erupted to the surface from Jerusalem, to Gaza, to Nablus, to Jaffa and other mixed cities within the green line. It is almost too much to summarize. In Lyd and Jaffa, two mixed cities within the green-line, police stood by as Jewish assailants threw rocks and sought to attack Palestinians’ homes. Peaceful Palestinian protests were met with police violence, and several Palestinians who decided to strike in protest of the increasing violence, were deemed traitors and fired by their employees. The media provided biased coverage focusing on violent acts by Palestinians towards Jews and failing to cover the reverse, and failing to provide the context for the attacks. 

We have worked in this context for nearly 40 years, and so we know that the crisis merely brought to the surface tensions that inform the day to day reality in Israel, and exemplified the alienation and de-legitimization that plague Israeli society as a matter of course. The crisis has severely damaged what little trust existed between the Palestinian and Jewish communities within the green line. 

Impact on Our Programming

The crisis impacted us tremendously. When ongoing violence erupted to the surface, everyone on staff, Palestinian and Jewish, spurred into heartbreak and into action in our personal lives, each from within our communities. We also knew we had a professional mandate at this time. 

While we were due to open our Community Group in Jaffa (a local group of Palestinian and Jewish participants from Jaffa, aged 18-21) and our Jaffa Tour Facilitators Group (a group of Palestinian and Jewish tour facilitators, aged 22-30) the events made it impossible to to open the groups. The atmosphere was incredibly tense and we believed it would be detrimental and harmful to begin a bi-national process immediately following the events across the land, and in Jaffa specifically. 

Instead, we realized that our mandate as an organization that has been working in this context for so long is to provide our existing participants, outside audiences, as well as fellow educators, with the tools to unpack this crisis. The events of May were unsettling and overwhelming, but that pushed us to work with our youth to process what was happening, and adapt our programming to create space for educators to understand how to show up for their youth at this moment. We also led open tours of Jaffa to Palestinian groups and Jewish groups, hoping to provide people with the space to make sense of recent events in Jaffa in a historical context.

After the school year terminated, we devoted our efforts in July and August to plan for the coming year and start off strong. We are aiming to open the Community Group in October, and begin the Tour Facilitator Training between November and December. 

~~

We thank you for your support which allows us to adapt to the most pressing needs of our community in the face of an ever changing context. 

Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
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Tour of Jaffa held by SR staff
Tour of Jaffa held by SR staff

Making Moves to Establish the Program

In the recent months we have mostly focused on developing our two programs, establishing partnerships to enable the opening of the groups, and working to raise the necessary funds to establish the groups. Your donations so far have been extremely helpful in moving us towards our goal, and we are working to reach more and more supporters!

As we have updated in our previous report, we are set on opening two groups - 

The Community Group - a group of local 18-21-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish, who come from marginalized communities. The purpose of the group is to provide participants with concrete tools and a community for learning and action through the Jaffa tours. We have been in contact with partners in Jaffa to recruit participants, and are hoping to open the group this summer.

The Tour Facilitators Group - a group of local 22-30-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish. The purpose of the group is to thoroughly train a small group of facilitators who will gain tools for leadership and continue to lead tours of the city and receive an income for doing so. As we are raising the necessary funds, we have had to push back the beginning of the facilitation training, which will hopefully open this this summer or early next year. 

Recent Events in Jaffa

Over the past few weeks, there has been much talk about Jaffa, rarely from the point of view of the Palestinian residents of the city. Following the recent uprising in Jaffa around the housing crisis, Tours Coordinator, Amoneh Asfour, led an open tour in Arabic and Hebrew to provide participants with the historical context for the situation in Jaffa. The open tour demonstrated the importance of having Palestinian residents of Jaffa tell the city’s story. For us, it showed the importance of establishing the groups we are aiming to establish, as a way of both equipping young people in Jaffa with practical tools and a space to share their voice and of intervening in the common story told of Jaffa, bringing awareness to the city's erased history and current reality of injustice and propose an alternative vision of a truly just and shared society.

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Organization Information

Sadaka-Reut Arab Jewish Youth Partnership

Location: Tel Aviv-Jaffa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Rafi Barkan Bocarsly
Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
$5,011 raised of $15,000 goal
 
141 donations
$9,989 to go
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