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).