Project #3325

Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids

by American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam
Jun 2, 2011

Commemorating holidays together

Commemorating the Nakba
Commemorating the Nakba

After a fairly intensive period of learning about the spring holidays of Easter and Passover, the School went into a period of learning about the national holidays that include Holocaust Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Nakba (Catastrophe) Day. In commemorating these events, the school has been moving from a model of mainly separate, uni-national activity to a more integrative model of learning about these events together. Holocaust Day is always commemorated by both the Arab and Jewish pupils. This year, in addition to the ceremony at the school, the children also visited the photo exhibition (photo page 1)currently at the Pluralistic Spiritual Center, on the subject of Albanian Muslims who rescued Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust. Abdessalam Najjar explained the exhibit to the children.

Whereas Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and Independence Day are marked on the Hebrew dates (May 9 and 10 this year), Nakba Day is commemorated according to the western calendar (May 15). The pupils learn about the events together, and are separated only during the ceremony.

In the lobby of the school today is an exhibit of drawings by the children marking the national holidays. The children were asked to take a single sheet of paper and show the differences in the experience of the national holidays by the Arab children and the Jewish children. They have shown this in various creative ways, through detail and color. Some drawings show a happy child and a sad child. Some show bright, harmonious patches of color on one side of the page, with broken, discordant and dark colors on the other side. In the middle of the lobby is also a large depiction of Israeli and Palestinian flags, on separate sides. But a hand reaches from the center of each flag towards the centre. Each hand holds doves in the palm, which are in the process of being released.

Commemorating Independence Day
Commemorating Independence Day
Artwork by the children of NSWAS
Artwork by the children of NSWAS



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Organization Information

American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

Location: Glendale, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Abir Elzowidi
Operations Manager
Glendale, CA United States