The school year is fraught with days that remind us that each of us grows up in a community and a religion, with a narrative that shapes our identity. That is why the school has begun a tradition: the Festival of Hope. On the evening of May 31, the entire village, school community and parents’ community were invited for an evening of entertainment, food and fun.
Coming near the end of the school year, it is a way for the children to celebrate the experience they have had over the year of learning and playing with friends of all kinds. And it is a chance for children, parents and village members to come together in the name of peace. The holiday is celebrated at a time when Jews and Arabs in the country are participating in events that remind them of freedom, but also subjugation, occupation and cultural and religious differences. The purpose of the Festival of Hope is not to erase these conflicting narratives, but to add a new one that celebrates not division but hope for peace and a better future.
The children were all dressed in white and they filed into the central school ground where lines had been laid out for them on the ground, showing them where to sit. With the help of a drone photographing them from above, they became a giant human peace sign.
The evening was also a festival of music, dance and theater. The students showed off the skills they had learned over the year in their extracurricular classes; playing instruments, singing, dancing and performing skits. A good laugh was had by all when they announced a skit called “refreshment break,” and the parents stood up and turned toward the tables laden with food.