Check out Kids4Peace’s Newest Video.  

And follow the K4P journey from first encounter to social change.

Gayil from Jerusalem said:

“When I first joined Kids4Peace, I made a lot of friends, tried some new things, and had a ton of fun. I learned a lot about my own religion and also about others.

But the more we are together, the more serious our work becomes. Now I’m starting to see the bigger picture, that together we stand for something big.”

In K4P, you’re part of ‪#‎SomethingBig‬.





On Monday, dozens of Kids4Peace community members marked the International Day of Peace by wearing our K4P t-shirts and polos to school and work.

Putting on a T-Shirt may seem like an small and easy thing.
But it’s actually a huge act of courage.

  • To declare in public that you are on the side of peace
  • To show that you meet the “other side”
  • To step outside the safe community of K4P
  • To risk harsh criticism
  • To have tough conversations with coworkers and friends

It’s not easy to be on the side of peace, when violence fills the streets of Jerusalem – and holy places – yet again.  But it’s more important than ever.

  • To show that we have not given up
  • To show that we support each other
  • To show that a movement, around the world, is growing
  • To show that people who care about the other can create a more just world
  • To tell political leaders that the time has come to solve our conflicts
  • To tell our stories of hope

We know that peace will never come unless more and more peacemakers stand up, make their voices heard, and show that we are committed to change.

This year, a few dozen people stood up for peace.  
Next year, let’s make it a few hundred, or even a few thousand. 

Don’t have a K4P T-Shirt?  Email and we’ll set you up!
Together, we can #StandUpForPeace – on #PeaceDay, and every day.


Did we miss your photo?  Email or tag yourself with #k4ptshirt and we’ll add you to the gallery!

#PeaceDay photos are rolling in. K4P wearing our shirts to school & work, and telling the @Kids4Peace story. Tag yours with #k4ptshirt and we’ll share here!

Posted by Kids4Peace on Monday, September 21, 2015

A holiday message from Amirit Rosen, Jewish Advisor


Wishing you all Eid Eladha Mubarak and A Gmar Hatima Tova.

How amazing it is that we are remembering together, through our holy days, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. Although there are different traditions to the story, we spoke at camp about both traditions focusing on Abraham’s willingness to do hard things because of a Divine calling.

At Kids4Peace, we are willing to do hard things because of a Divine calling to create change and bring peace.

I believe that God of life doesn’t want us to sacrifice ourselves or our children. But listening to a divine call, to the call of peace, is hard, especially when we hear the news and when people around us don’t agree with what we are doing or don’t believe peace is possible.

However, at K4P we have each other, we have our religions and traditions of Abraham and The Divine spirit and calling to support us.

Happy holidays, and may we be inscribed in the book of life,

by Ellen, Kids4Peace Evaluation Intern for the USIP Evaluation Grant

10410375_10103101752160743_161724398517733102_nI had the chance to be a fly on the wall at K4P for the past few weeks. With the help of my oldest and closest friend and K4P staff member, Meredith, I completed a practicum as part of attaining my Masters in Organizational Psychology. I have been in and out of the office working on different projects, while I also had the privilege to attend the first of four USIP focus groups to evaluate K4P, a memorable and moving experience.

I had heard about K4P for many years from Meredith, but I didn’t really understand the work that they do until I saw it for myself. That being said, I do not speak on behalf of K4P staff, I speak only of what I witnessed:

I misunderstood what K4P really does. I thought it was an organization that aimed to build interfaith communities, embody a culture of peace, and empower a change movement through Christian, Jewish, and Muslim youths and while this is all true, it is also an organization that engages parents and staff in the same way and just as deeply. To engage with K4P means you are expected to be an introspective and participative member of the community.

While I previously understood at least parts of the complexity of the conflict, I did not understand the extent of what it means to work as a peacemaker and try and impact a world in which you exist in your everyday life. Depending on when and where you were born and what you were born as, there are a combination of everyday and large scale privileges and limitations to your daily existence. There are endless variations of religion, culture, citizenship, and commute to name only a few. K4P work requires a vulnerability I had to see with my own eyes to begin to understand.11988357_717639418342123_1445927816722042903_n

I have been blown away by the power of friendship. It seems because of the meaningful relationships K4P staff have built with one another, they have more capacity to respect each other, to trust one another, to have open and honest communication, and this foundation allows them to support a wider community. While it seems many K4P staff experience struggle to varying degrees in wholly understanding “the other”, the strength of their personal relationships seems to have humanized “the other” at least on an interpersonal level. Their behavior illuminates their deep sense of safety with each other.

I hope to remain an honorary member of K4P. I leave with a sense of gratitude that despite so many obstacles, I have witnessed powerful intent for change and such authentic humanity.

New Project for Young Adults Focuses on Social Change

Kids4Peace is excited to announce the Dialogue to Action Initiative, a new project in Jerusalem designed to engage young adults (age 18-25) in activism for social change.

“After 13 years of interfaith youth programming, Kids4Peace is ready to take the next step,” Executive Director Fr. Josh Thomas said.  “Our community is demanding more from us.”

“The years after high school are the most challenging ones, as youth move into military service, university and employment.  It is our responsibility to stand with them, to face these challenges, and find together the path of peace.”

Yakir ThumbnailDr. Yakir Englander, former director of Kids4Peace in Jerusalem, has been appointed as Project Director for the 2015-2016 pilot year.  Englander is completing three years in the USA as Fulbright Scholar and visiting instructor at Northwestern and Harvard Universities.


“It’s time now to bring the voice of Kids4Peace back into our communities,” Englander said. “To develop deep relationships with people on both sides of Jerusalem, so we can bring a change – not only in small ways, but in ways that echo through the broader society.”

Donate to the Dialogue to Action Initiative 

Kids4Peace International, 110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 205, Washington, DC 20002.


Program Overview

Kids4Peace began in 2002, amid the worst violence of the Second Intifada. In the face of conflict and against all odds, twelve Jerusalem families – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – came together. Over the last 13 years, Kids4Peace has built a strong interfaith community that stretches across Jerusalem and neighboring West Bank cities.  Even during last summer’s fighting in Gaza, the Kids4Peace community held together, through prayer and honest conversation.

In the face of escalating violence and widespread fear, Kids4Peace remains a sign of hope.

Our signature program, Pathways to Peace, is a six-year year-round continuum of learning for youth age 12-18. Through summer camps, after-school activities, and community projects, Palestinian and Israeli youth meet to explore religion, culture, identity and leadership.

With a foundation of respect and trust, our oldest alumni are asking a new question: How do we move from Dialogue to Action?

  • How can a community of Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem work together to change the reality on the ground?
  • What are the obstacles to peace? And where can we make a difference?
  • What are the unique challenges and opportunities for an interfaith organization, where religion is at the center?

These young adults are demanding something more. They are committed to the difficult and courageous work ahead, and they are asking for skills, community, mentorship, and the leadership of people from within their societies who have walked this path of nonviolence change.

In response, Kids4Peace is launching Dialogue to Action – a new initiative for young adults (18-25). The project will be rooted in a heritage of faith-based activism and nonviolent social change, drawing on the wisdom of spiritual teachers and the passions of young adults themselves.

Dialogue to Action will provide training, guidance, mentorship and support to a community of young peace activists, as they develop their own strategies for change.

The years from age 18-25 are complex ones. Most Israeli Jews begin military service and most Palestinians begin university studies. In both contexts, youth are under enormous pressure to support their own “side” – often against the interests of the other. How do peacemakers navigate these realities? What supports to do they need, in order to be agents of change?

Kids4Peace received a research grant from the US Institute of Peace to study the challenges which young adults face, as they make this transition.   The results of this research will inform the design of the Dialogue to Action project in its pilot year, with three components:

  • Young Adult Programs: Design and implement strategies to engage at least 24 Kids4Peace alumni and other peers, which will include (a) training in nonviolent action and (b) coaching to design social action projects that respond the most urgent realities of Jerusalem (such as the rise in racist attitudes, dynamics at the checkpoints, or anti-normalization campaigns). Throughout the process, facilitators will lead conversations about the personal and societal costs they are facing as peace activists and will offer practical and spiritual resources to support the participants.
  • Public Scholarship: Create a body of writing and teaching on the themes of interfaith
    peace activism, nonviolence and faith-based social change in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Through blogging, lectures in faith communities, and public events, Kids4Peace will bring religion into the forefront of conversations about peace and provide the theoretical and theological context for the Young Adult Programs.
  • Community Engagement: Develop relationships with key political, religious and civil society leaders. Host town hall meetings and other forums, in which young adults can challenge their leaders and advocate for change.

At the end of this pilot year, Kids4Peace will have created a platform for Israeli and Palestinian young adults to effectively work for nonviolent social change – both in joint projects, and within their own communities.


Project Director
Dr. Yakir Englander

Kids4Peace is pleased to appoint Dr. Yakir Englander as the Project Director. Yakir served as Director of Kids4Peace in Jerusalem during its formative years and is a respected scholar, activist and public intellectual. He earned a PhD from Hebrew University and taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Northwestern University and as a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School.

His recent writings in IslamiCommentary and the Huffington Post touch the sensitive human dimensions of the conflict, while charting a courageous and passionate course for action.   As Project Director, Yakir will give vision and direction to the program, speak and write for the public, and directly coach the young adult participants, in partnership with Palestinian colleagues.   He will engage consultants to offer trainings in nonviolence and forge partnerships necessary for effective social action. In addition to his work in Jerusalem, Yakir will engage key stakeholders in the USA, including clergy, congregations, political leaders and religious movements.

Being a peacemaker

merk4p —  August 20, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

8-20-15 (F)The morning started off with mindfulness, a chance to “open your heart” as Itai, a Jewish camper from Jerusalem put it. The group practiced paying attention to their breath, inaudibly counting each intake and release, staying still and silent for a whole five minutes.

Transitioning over to dialogue, four adults performed a skit with a lot of mean bullying and hurt feelings. Sarah and Cata ganged up on Julia, making fun of her hair and friendship bracelets, Julia started crying and Chelsea stepped in to ease the conflict.

After watching the pretend kerfuffle, kids picked which role they would most like to have in real life. Most flocked to Chelsea. Romi, a Jewish camper from Jerusalem, talked about how difficult it can be in the peacemaker’s shoes: “It’s very hard to do what Chelsea did. It’s hard to be the only one trying to stop it. Catie, an American, Christian camper added that: “It takes a lot of courage to stand up for somebody.”

After talking about being the one to step in and intervene, Sarah asked the group a couple of good but hard questions: “How does the buddy feel? What do they need?” Kids brainstormed a ton of different possibilities. They thought maybe it had to with getting attention, wanting to feel good but really feeling insecure, having experienced violence in their own lives and bringing into their interactions with other people, jealousy, boredom, and much more. Whether conscious of it or not, the group collectively showed empathy, understanding and thinking about what it might be like for both the bully and their target.

8-20-15 (J)In the next exercise, the kids divided up into two long lines. In the fictitious scenario, line A, while strolling along, finds line B kicking a grandma! It was up to the kids to decide what to do and how to do it. Some blocked and protected the imaginary grandmas with their bodies, others tried saying stop and talking, while tried moving the bully out of the way.

After switching roles, kids discussed what was like when they were able to help out effectively. One Jerusalem, Christian camper, Karl said: “I felt like superman!” Zelda, who is Jewish and from the US, “felt powerful”.

Using non-violent strategies, asking good questions and figuring out what is going on can be scary, counterintuitive, and hard. That said, when we see people being bullied, if we have the courage to help, we can make a huge difference. We can ask “what’s wrong, how can I help you, what are you angry about? Responding peacefully is a good option, but one that takes practice and courage.

A special guest, New Hampshire Congresswoman, Ann Kuster, spent the morning hearing about Kids4Peace, sharing stories and meeting with staff and kids. It was wonderful to hear her talk about how she uses the same, open minded approach that Kids4Peace tries to cultivate, while working with Representatives with all sorts of different world views.

8-20-15 (I)She also shared about how great it is to see kids connect on an unconscious, visceral level, overcoming differences through shared experiences without even realizing that close friendships are being formed. With only time for a short visit, it was sad to see her go so soon!

The after lunch hours flew by swimming in the lake, making masks, playing soccer, and doing acro-yoga. Before anybody knew it, the time had come for the evening talent show! Fantastic MC’s guided the evening, calling up one great act after another. The celebration continued from individual skits, dances and songs, to one big dance party with songs in different languages, both familiar and new blasting through the space.

Even those campers, who were at first glued to their seats, couldn’t resist for long the temptation to join in. Spirits high, kids walked back their cabins begging for more.

Crossing the line

merk4p —  August 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

8-19-15 (P)A puzzling picture was presented to the kids when they arrived at dialogue. Some saw an elderly woman, while others found a young woman’s face. After some discussion and lots of explaining, most people were able to see both, but then had the confusing experience of switching back and forth. As a whole group the kids talked about how oftentimes we only see things from one perspective, but if we’re open to looking, we can see something completely different. This talk led into a game. A rope was laid down the middle of the room and the kids were split into two groups. Each group was separately given the same objective: to get all the members of the other group to their side of the rope. Language was intentionally left neutral, winning/losing, your team/their team, etc. was never mentioned.

Kids used different strategies to try and accomplish what they were told to do. Some thought of a good solution but didn’t know how to involve others. Some tried to create a really attractive environment with fun games on their side, so kids from the other side would be excited to join them. Others pleaded, begged, bribed or tried coercing the other kids across. Some tried negotiation and explaining. After about 20 minutes, they all came to the agreement to stand on the centerline, with one foot on each side.

In the debrief, kids reflected on the experience. Alexxa, a Christian camper from the US, noted that: “People are thinking about just their goal, without thinking about both groups”. Joseph, a Christian, Jerusalem camper had a related thought: “Nobody thinks about the middle ground”.

Most kids realized that they had been thinking in terms of winning and losing, and assuming that the first side with all the people would win. When asked to explain the purpose of the game, many of them all had good ideas. One said it was to “learn listening” another mentioned “empathy” another wanted to emphasize “seeing things from different perspectives” and another talked about “working together”. They were able see how all these skills fit together to in order to cooperate.

After working hard in dialogue, the kids once again went off to practice and develop their Abraham tent skits.

8-19-15 (C)Down at the waterfront, after lunch, pairs of kids swam around, jumped off the dock, chatted, laughed and splashed. The same afternoon rotations of mask making, sports and games/acro-yoga took place before dinner. At that meal, the much anticipated clean cabin award was presented. Spaces were judged on their cleanliness, as well as the feel and how welcoming they were. One of boys’ cabins had cleaned everything, even the porch, and was thrilled to take home the prize!

The evening was relaxing, watching a movie, Remember the Titans, and drawing backdrops for the Abraham tent play. Cleaning up spilled popcorn after the movie, kids worked together, pausing on the way back to their cabin to admire the stars.

Word of the day: Empathy

merk4p —  August 18, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 8.46.48 AM8-18-15 (E)
The word of the day was empathizing, which one Muslim camper from Jerusalem, Qais, defined as “feeling somebody else’s pain”. Sarah, who was leading the discussion talked about how when we show empathy, we support the other person.

The kids then split into groups, writing down stories about something that had happened to them. Stories were randomly drawn out and read, followed by everybody else finding good language with which to empathize. One Jewish camper from the US, Isa, felt moved by one story: “I’m really sorry for whoever that happened to, because that sounds terrible.” After dialogue, Abraham tent groups met to start figuring out their skits for Sunday’s big show!

The afternoon was split between swim test and three rotations. Groups either made plaster masks, played sports, or did group games/acro-yoga. For two hours after dinner, preparations were hurriedly made for the upcoming talent show! Cartwheels were practiced, songs were rehearsed, dances were taught and many surprises were devised. The rhythm of camp life is definitely setting in.

8-18-15 (D)

by Jill and Shafiq, Kids4Peace Jerusalem Parents Facilitators
IMG_3952Shafiq and I want to share our enthusiasm, while it is fresh, following tonight’s meeting with the parents. This was the first time ever at K4P that we have created a space for the parents to connect and express their feelings WHILE their children are in the States at camp.
And how that gesture was appreciated! They were so thankful to Kids4Peace and the opportunities as parents to connect, not just with their children. This feels like a sign of true success to hear this much positive feedback from the parents.

As they walked into the room, with phones in hand the parents  began to look at the photos on their phones and identify each other’s children. This brought so much joy into the room….as they laughed over the pictures….and weren’t just looking for THEIR child, but knew the other children’s faces and names! This is clearly connected to the fact that our pilot program gave them the chance over the last many months at the America House as parents to also feel the sense of community. IMG_3957

There clearly was a feeling of familiarity in the room. Not just between the parents in each camp, but also between the camps since they have been seeing each other over the past many months.  It turns out that the parents have remained in constant touch with each other via a group on Whatsapp knowing that they are distant from their kids, but still wanting to be in contact with each other to share the experience.

When Shafiq and I walked out onto the street after summarizing together we were so happily surprised  to see that the  parents were STILL mingling…they just didn’t want to leave each other! Now that was the best form of encouragement –and we hope in the coming year that we can continue to expand the program. we can find new areas to grow and encourage the parents as well to plant their seeds as we all make change in this city which desperately needs our input and leadership modeling!
IMG_3953 IMG_3954 IMG_3955 IMG_3956  IMG_3948 IMG_3949 IMG_3950  IMG_3947

Reaching new heights

merk4p —  August 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

by Selina, Counselor/Social Media Coordinator

8-17-15 (H)Mixing things up a bit, Monday was ropes course day! After a few big activities with everyone, the campers went into smaller groups to play cooperative games and meet their ropes course facilitators.

Eventually everyone headed off to the woods, working with the low ropes, logs, swings, and platforms. At lunch Talia, a Muslim camper from Jerusalem, reported her experience: “When I first went on the rope I felt like I was in a video, I felt like I was flying!” She also shared her thoughts on what the afternoon with the high ropes would be like: “I’m afraid of heights so I’m a little nervous. But I also like adventures! This will be my adventure.”

Sure enough, everybody’s toes where high in air that afternoon. Kids perched on top of log, called the catwalk, strolled across a bridge made of just a single wire, clambered up a climbing wall, and scrambled up a vertical playground of obstacles. On the walk back to the cabins, another Muslim Jerusalem camper, Mona, shared her experience. “It was fun! I was a little nervous but then it turned out to be so easy!”

After dinner, campers crowded around a new project, writing appreciation and encouragement cards for their friends. As notes were written and delivered, kids shyly peeked into their bags, seeing if anybody had left them a little something and having a hard time resisting the temptation to read them. Nancy, the art teacher, made it very clear that notes can only be read on the way home. It’s going to be hard to wait.

The evening consisted of a huge soccer game, with almost everybody playing, topped off with a good old campfire, songs and s’mores. Even though everyone was tired, it was hard to tear them away from the fire and fun and take them to bed. It’s only been a day, but this new site is already feeling like home.

8-17-15 (G) 8-17-15 (F)