by Dandan, Kids4Peace Jerusalem Intern

On Thursday, January 22, the quiet hallways of the Anglican International School buzzed with the rambunctious energy of 36 seventh graders as they came together for their first Kids4Peace gathering of the year. Continuing their second year in the Pathway to Peace program, these kids  are now in the Leap group, which focuses on the theme of friendship and community.

Maytav, a 12 year old Jewish student, shares his thoughts on this progression: “Now that we’re all together for the second year, I think people can see that it’s not just a one time thing, but something we’re continually doing throughout our lives.” When asked what he hopes to gain out of his second year, he replied: “I hope to gain the ability to make peace and help the world.”

8nL8axYVT4aXOfHvOX83XUDofO0nOO7NO4Rz5W3SDU0The evening began with an interfaith quiz bowl, in which the kids competed as groups to demonstrate their knowledge of the dress, food, language, culture, and beliefs among the three Abrahamic religions. None of the questions stumped them, as they quickly answered prompts such as: “What are famous pop stars from each faith?” “What are 15 words shared in Hebrew and Arabic?” “Where do Jews, Christians, and Muslims pray?”

Sensing these questions were too easy, the faith advisors decided to kick the game up a notch by starting a race. They asked a triplet series of questions: “How many days of fasting are found in each religion?” “What does fasting represent in these traditions? “Why do they fast?” Whichever group came forth with the answers to all three questions first would win a prize.

Shouting, running, clapping, and laughing ensued, as the kids enthusiastically consulted each other and brought their answers to the faith advisors. The race was a tight one, but one group rose victorious and received notebooks as their prize.d4gTVUQLg8UhRE0MXM2U6xhaVpmo8ezyCivMhsCGZpM

After this warm-up, the main activity began which focused on leadership, a core element of the Leap curriculum. Each group received a biography of a famous leader and wrote down ten facts about their featured person. Discussions about Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Malala Yousafzi, and Rosa Parks were shared among groups and faith advisors. Sometimes, students would translate for their peers. The groups came back together and shared their findings so everyone could receive inspiration from the lives of these four leaders.

Before going home, Omar, a Palestinian Muslim, shared his thoughts on how he felt this year would be different from his first year: “I’m expecting this year to be more serious. I’m expecting more in-depth conversations about the conflict in the Middle East, about identity, and issues that relate to us.” He’s excited to continue this program, considering he felt that his first year in Kids4peace influenced him in positive ways:

“It made me learn; it made me become more aware of my surroundings and meet new people. These are the main things that Kids4peace has achieved, but there are many other things it has achieved within me. Things like making me more mature as a  person in everyday life, making my morality better, seeing the other side, and thinking what people of other faiths feel and think about us.”

Reeham, the Director of Education, also hopes this second year will help the students grow in the skills Omar mentioned. In her words: “We need them to listen to each other and build friendships. It is something they want, but they don’t have the full skill set to do so. Developing these skills is our priority this year and will help us next year when we talk about our community, identity, and about the racism we experience everyday in Jerusalem.”

Leap will continue to meet monthly and feature community events, weekend seminars, and day trips, all culminating in the much-anticipated summer camp held in the USA.F9g8R2JlFCSTnLWqhKfIn3OzeOBPwme_8f5oKsUfURU

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Talia (left) and Omar (right) welcome the crowd and host the Winter Event

On Tuesday, January 13, Kids4Peace Jerusalem hosted the Annual Winter Event, and saw record-breaking attendance, even after rescheduling last minute due to the anticipated snow storm in Jerusalem. Over 350 youth, families, and supporters came out to acknowledge the despair we have felt for the last 6 months and seek the inspiration to keep moving forward together as a community during such difficult times in Jerusalem.
With two Kids4Peace youth as the hosts (Omar, age 12 Muslim and Talia, age 13 Jewish), the evening opened with remarks from Kids4Peace Executive Director Fr. Josh Thomas, who mentioned several testaments of Kids4Peace’s success in the face of local shocks and setbacks. Firstly, Kids4Peace keeps working and coming together no matter what. Despite the violence and the war and the tension, Kids4Peace has yet to stop and that alone is huge. Secondly, Josh asked the audience to look around and notice that Kids4Peace has grown so much this year that a new location was necessary for community events!

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US Consul General Michael Ratney endorses Kids4Peace

The US Consul General of Jerusalem Michael Ratney, then addressed the audience with an empowering endorsement: Kids4Peace embodies what we in the Consulate General strive to achieve – ending the conflict and inspiring hope in Jerusalem and beyond.” Ratney’s words were so personal, showing such a close understanding of Kids4Peace’s activities and mission, that some community members mistook him for a parent or volunteer. Kids4Peace’s relationship with the US government has strengthened immensely in the last several months after receiving support from the US Consulate for the Video Newsletter project, personal visits with Shaun Casey, U.S. Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and as demonstrated by an unannounced visit from USAID of West Bank & Gaza. Kids4Peace is so thankful for this growing partnership.

Three youth from the Counselor-in-Training course, Carla, Waleed, and Emanuel, then shared their stories. Read the transcript of their inspiring speeches by clicking here! Their words were followed by the annual slideshow, which can be watched here.

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The next part of the evening came after some deep thinking on behalf of the Kids4Peace staff and volunteers.What is the best way to inspire hope for peace in Jerusalem? How can we address the pain, fear, and distress we all fear while also showing our strength and belief in this important work? We decided to just be ourselves. Mohammad, Kids4Peace Jerusalem Co-Director and Meredith, Kids4Peace Director of Development stood side-by-side on stage and told their honest stories. They spoke of their fear of the “other”, their moments of realization that they misunderstand the “other”, and their unwavering commitments to Kids4Peace.

At this point in the evening, everything stopped. Mohammad and Meredith asked everyone present to turn to one another, say hello, and ask the tough question. “Why are you here? What is your story? What keeps you committed to Kids4Peace?” With tears in their eyes, Kids4Peace community members began to open up. They told each other their hardships, their fear, and their confusion. They confided in one another and found hope in one another. Kids4Peace embodies a culture of peace and empowers a movement for change. For the 350+ members of the audience that night, both were accomplished.

Kids4Peace would like to thank the international board, the US Consul General, the Kids4Peace Steering Committee, staff, advisors, volunteers, parents, and youth for not only attending the event, but for infusing the room with energy and inspiration. Together, peace is possible.

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Each year at the Annual Winter Event, youth speak from their hearts about their experience in Kids4Peace. This year we have decided that the graduating Counselors in Training will be invited to share their thoughts. Here are their words: 

 

CARLA: Hi Everyone and Thank you for being here. My name is Carla and I live in Beit Zefafa. For me, being a 5 year old little girl, going to the park was a daily thing I would do with my family. The park closest to us was in a Jewish neighborhood where seeing Arabs was pretty rare. I never used to play with the Jewish kids at the park. They spoke a different language than me, so I would always prefer to just play with my siblings and not with strangers. I was never a close friend with an Israeli or even thought I could be. Maybe we would talk to an Israeli cashier while shopping, but not actually become friends.

Nowadays, my younger siblings are in the age I was in when I used to go to the park daily. My parents and I now teach them, that those kids who don’t speak your language and are different, could still be your friends. They also know I’ve got Israeli friends. Well, what changed me? Kids4Peace. Kids4Peace gave me the strength to talk to others who are going through the experience I went through, and change their minds and realize that the people on the other side could be our friends. Kids for Peace got me new friends, some of my best friends, ones who I live with in this country but never got to talk to or be close to because we are different. This has showed me and made it clear that nobody is going to fix the world for us, but working together might make us fix it ourselves.

 

 

 

WALEED: Hi my name is Waleed. I live in Ramallah and when I try to go to anywhere outside my house, I have to cross the checkpoint to reach Jerusalem. My whole life is in Jerusalem since my school is here, my friends are here, and a lot of my family is also here. When I was younger, I was really scared of the Jewish soldiers at the checkpoints since they had guns and this was something that frightened me. 10923491_617698335002899_482821218020856508_n

Kids4Peace shows me other points of view of the conflict. It allows me to meet new people that are completely different from me. Now because I’ve met other Jewish people in Kids4Peace, the soldiers don’t look so scary anymore. I changed my point of view about the Jewish people and their character. I realized they are people too. They are just like me, a human being with a special character and an opinion. I don’t judge anybody by his appearance anymore. But Kids4Peace also taught me not to be naive and to realize the hardship my people are living. There are extremists on both sides. I think my role is to help break the stereotypes. With this realization, I can now share what I’ve learned to others. I can spread my ideas to other people and then they can help me change the current situation into a better one than before. It’s a long process but at least I can take one step further toward peace.

 

 

EMANUEL: Hello, I’m Emanuel, and I’m from Jerusalem. I grew up in a very open community. I went to kindergarten and school in the bilingual school (which I study in until this day), so the idea of coexistence and meeting with the “other side” wasn’t very new to me. But the disadvantage of living in such a mixed society is that I had never met someone who thinks differently about the “other side”. My community is really close, so the people inside the community meet, talk and learn about the other. I assumed that everyone saw each other as the same.10401399_617699388336127_1159070218243188114_n

Through the last 5 years I learned so much – my English improved drastically, how to handle an argument, how to treat others and other thoughts that are different than mine, and more than everything– how to listen to others and try and understand their perspective. Although I had a lot of Muslim and Christian friends I didn’t know much about the different ideas and thoughts in the religions. Kids4Peace thought me so much about the way the different religions refer to the same subjects. And this year, Carla, Waleed and I are in the counselors in training program. It teaches us a lot about how to operate a group and how to run an activity. I feel very fortunate to have the ability to practice theses different skills that K4P taught me in school or when I meet people with different opinions than me.

Mohammad Joulany, Kids4Peace Jerusalem Co-Director, was interviewed last week on All for Peace Radio. The Kids4Peace Jerusalem staff are honored to sit in the same office as All for Peace. Occasionally, we even collaborate. Listen to Mohammad’s personal story and hear his journey from “hating the other” to “realizing the need to meet them” and “eventually becoming co-director of Kids4Peace.”

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

.אנחנו הילדים של קידס4פיס, אנחנו פותחים את הלילה הזה עם תקווה ומקווים להקדיש נרות אלה לשלום

نحن أطفال سلام، نفتح الليل مع الأمل ونأمل أن تكرس هذه الشموع من أجل السلام

 We are the kids of Kids4Peace. We are opening this night with hope. We dedicate these candles to peace.

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Kids4Peace joined with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities from Jerusalem to celebrate Hannukah, the Jewish festival of light, and shed some light on our shared difficult times. We were invited by Tag Meir and Kehilat Tzion to open the night “with hope.” Together we spoke of hope, light, peace, and the power of coming together to make change.

Four youth from Kids4Peace Jerusalem, Yazan (age 14, Muslim), Nicole (age 14, Muslim), Emanuel (age 15, Jewish), and George (age 15, Christian), spoke about light and their personal hopes for Jerusalem.

Other guests included  Brother Alberto Parry, Sheikh Mahammed, Capricorn Gevaryahu, poets and musicians and the community youth choir of the YMCA. Thank you so much to the dozens of Kids4Peace community members who came out to support our youth, and to Tag Meir and Kehilat Tzion for inviting us to join in this important prayer for light in the darkness.

 

Presentation to the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Temple Kol Emeth, Marietta, GA
November, 2014

My name is Montaser Mohammad Mousa Khalil Suliman Mohammad Abdulrahman Mohammad Amro, but you can call me Mono. Recently, however, since returning to America, many people have had troubles with Mono, so I’m considering making it even simpler- Mike. Maybe even M. My story and the reason WHY I’m here, however, is not simple.

See, I’ve been an advocate for peace for almost ten years, and I believe that not only does peace come from within, but I believe that we can create change.

I was born in Bethlehem, Palestine on February 20, 1991 to Mohammad and Lamia Amro. My parents expected the best from me. This caused me to excel academically from a young age. When I was a sophomore in high school, I was selected to be an international foreign exchange student. I was elated because I was going to finally see the America that had starred in all of my favorite movies. But where was I going? Would I be heading to the city that never sleeps, New York? Or maybe I could spend my academic year in the Windy City- Chicago, Illinois. Maybe I could create memories that could only stay in the city of Las Vegas! I eagerly awaited the announcement of where my cultural learning would take place in the states.

However, my excitement came to a screeching halt when I read the name of a state I had never heard of before- Alabama. Little did I know, Alabama was the epitome of racial oppression, even in present day. My work was definitely cut out for me. I arrived in the fall of 2006 and quickly realized that I could not live in this state for long. I planned to return to Palestine and go back to the life I knew. I lived in an apartment where I shared a bedroom with 2 young children as well as another foreign exchange student. There were four of us sleeping on two beds in a house with no heat and hardly ever any hot water. This made the hot summers in Palestine look like a Florida vacation. However, I later met a family that took me in, gave me a much bigger room and a bed of my own. Things were looking up, except for the fact that I shared the house with the family’s mentally disabled aunt. We got along great! Until one day she decided she no longer wanted me in her house and decided to chase me with a knife! The only person’s number I had in my phone was a guy I had met a few weeks earlier- Corey. Corey and I didn’t like each other very much, but I knew that he was a loyal guy.

Corey ended up letting me move into his house, and even became my legal guardian while in the states! This experience dramatically changed my life, as well as my perception and tolerance of others, mainly because Corey and I hated each other in the beginning. After moving in with Corey, I slept in the same room with him on his couch. We spent many nights comparing Islam to Christianity, talking about racism and music. However, our deepest conversations stemmed around a subject that we both were passionate about- food. He soon started referring to me as his brother and showed me that not all Americans are the same. Corey got the school to allow me to go to prom, go to Panama City Beach for Spring Break, attend concerts, church meetings, late night movie screenings and even introduced me to the culinary delicacy known as Taco Bell.

Saying goodbye at the summer of 2007 was not an easy thing to do, even when just a few months prior, I was begging to go back home. After returning back to Palestine, I pursued a degree in Civil Engineering from Palestine Polytechnic University. After graduating university in 2013, I decided to set my sights on my true passion- bringing peace.

I searched around for different ways to help, and stumbled across an organization called Kids 4 Peace this organizations’ mission was a simple grassroots , interfaith concept dealing with youth , its main vision is to end the conflict and inspire hope , not just in Jerusalem but also in all societies around the world , kids4peace mission is to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement of change . I immediately enrolled to become an Advisor !

People often ask me what Kids 4 Peace means to me. There is no simple answer to this. When you truly have a passion for something, you’re following everything with your heart- not your mind.

Therefore, I can not quite put a simple answer into words. However, I reflect on my past. I think back to the days that I vowed to see Israel fall. I think back to the days that I viewed America as a corrupted country. I then think back not too long ago when my mind was changed and I realized I was wrong. I could not continue to live life generalizing every culture. I realized during my visit in 2007 that no two people are alike. However, it didn’t stop at someone’s nationality, it also extended to their religious beliefs. Famous, influential musician John Lennon said it best when he said, “I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Moses , Jesus and Mohammed and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

These spiritual leaders had many messages, verses and direction. However, every word ever spoken by them was deeply rooted by one simple message- love. Anne Frank believed that no matter the physical and psychological torture she and her family were put through people still had good in them , she said that despite everything I believe that people are really good at heart.  Despite everything a young girl who was beaten , starved , molested , witnessed hundreds of thousands of Jewish executions , this girl said despite of all that people still have a heart , as many know , the conflict between Israel and Palestine have gotten worse throughout our lifetime , there’s unnecessary killing and violence on both sides , there’s unfiltered hatred on both sides and will never be validated.

Imam Ali “ KAW “ even said , “ ignorance reveals itself in the following , being very angry without cause , speaking without need , rewarding the undeserving , not distinguishing between friend and foe , the ignorant never realizes his mistake “ , I believe change can happen , when you refuse change for humanity , you’re putting your own selfish agenda before anyone else .

As Leon Uris once said “After all, the only thing that is going to save mankind is if enough people live their lives for something or someone other than themselves.”  It was also John Lennon that helped coin the phrase “all you need is love.”

This message is so simple, yet so influential. All you need is love. The world does not need us. The world does not need the Bible, the Quran or any other religious text. Because that’s all it is- text. It is a tangible thing. However, love is intangible. It can not be physically touched, but can be felt. Love does not have an image, but can be seen. It can not make a noise, but can be heard. Love is the most complex, confusing, terrifying yet gorgeous and fascinating thing that will be a part of this Earth for eternity…as long as we let it.

Kids 4 Peace has helped me utilize my tools to show that love can overcome anything.

To quote another wise man, Master Yoda, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Kids 4 Peace taught me that love can make us brave. Love can bring joy and can end the suffering.

During the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of 2014, there were 2200 reported deaths on both sides. However, the true numbers will never be known. What can be known is that during the same year, Kids 4 Peace held a camp with over 100 campers from both conflicting sides. If each camper told 10 people of their enlightened time spent with the organization, we could reach over half the number of the reported casualties…in one year. Amazing. The organization is still young, and so is my role within it. However, I plan on being an integral part of this organization for however long they allow me.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg said “ if you don’t know what you’re living for , you haven’t yet lived “ I feel my purpose on this Earth is to make change and bring peace. Change starts young, with kids. I can bring change with Kids 4 Peace.

I would love to thank kids4peace for helping me come back to where I now call home- America. I would also like to thank them for allowing me the opportunity to create the change that my heart aches for every day. Many people walk through life wondering what purpose does their life have. I’m privileged to not only know what my purpose is, but be able to fulfill it. I would also like to thank the congregation of Temple Kol-Emeth for the invitation to come and visit with you , as well as the acceptance of someone of my Islamic faith my faith in rooted in my love for mankind no matter their background.  Thank you

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Kids4Peace Boston participants take a break from preparing their meal.


By Matt Loper, Executive Director of Kids4Peace Boston, and Jordan Goldwarg, Northwest Regional Director of Kids4Peace International

On Sunday, December 14th, while some of the youth from Kids4Peace Seattle were at an Albertsons supermarket in Seattle, collecting donated food items to benefit Northwest Harvest (Washington State’s largest hunger relief agency), Kids4Peace participants in Boston were at the very same time cooking donated food into a delicious meal to be served at the First Church in Cambridge Men’s Shelter.

Six of Boston’s year round participants cooked up a Brown Rice and Turkey Casserole and chopped tons of pineapples, mangos, cucumbers, carrots, and mint for a colorful and tasty Mexican Fruit and Vegetable Salad.  They served it to the 14 residents of the Men’s Shelter who shared their gratitude for a warm meal on a cold Boston night.  The Kids4Peace participants had the opportunity to meet the shelter’s guests, learn about current issues related to homelessness in Boston, and tour the facilities. As the group did the dishes and cleaned up from a fast paced preparation, they spoke about homelessness within the Kids4Peace Boston community and ways in which they, as teen Peace Leaders, can make a difference.

Meanwhile, 2500 miles away, Kids4Peace Seattle participants, counselors, and adult volunteers were asking supermarket shoppers to make an extra purchase of food and baby supplies to donate to Northwest Harvest during the holiday season. In a little over two hours, the group collected enough items to completely fill up the trunk and back seat of a car (requiring a little engineering to figure out how to make it all fit!). As Kids4Peace Seattle continues its year-long exploration of food justice, the group also had time to talk about what it would be like to be on the receiving end of donations, and to discuss ways of making sure that all people in our community have enough to eat.

In both Boston and Seattle, our youth did an amazing job showing what it means to give back to our communities!

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Kids4Peace Seattle shows off all the food they collected.

Meredith Pic 3Meredith Rothbart is currently the Director of Development for Kids4Peace in Jerusalem. She handles external relationships, marketing, fundraising, social media and the website, and has been involved in the organization since 2009. Meredith was gracious enough to sit down with me and talk about her past, how she got involved in Kids4Peace, and how the organization has changed, and changed her.

Meredith describes her childhood as one in which religion developed pluralistically. She grew up in Pennsylvania and got involved extensively with her Jewish faith in many different facets. Active in University Jewish groups and attending Jewish school, summer camp and youth movement, she gained an intimate understanding of Jewish values and traditions. She was unable, however, to decide what sect of Judaism to identify with most. Her parents, wanting her to be “balanced”, sent her to an Orthodox Jewish Day School and a Reform Jewish summer camp. In America she participated expansively in Jewish reform camps and activities, now living in Jerusalem, she considers herself to be Orthodox and religious Zionist. “I’m definitely a proud product of the Reform movement in America,” she explained, “just one who followed the spiritual, social-justice, and Israel-connections all the way through to the lifestyle I have today.”

Despite growing up surrounded by Jewish faith and customs, the moment of realization came to her not in a camp or at school but in Poland in 2008. She described to me going to a concentration camp and in this camp, there are no records of the victim’s actual names. Instead, on the walls of the gas chambers, are thousands of first names, and as Meredith looked on the walls, she saw her own Hebrew name, and the names of her friends, relatives and neighbors. She was previously planning on “eventually” moving to Israel yet at that moment, she knew she:

“just had to move to Israel, join the army and devote my life to making the world a better and safer place for Jews, and for the rest of the world.”

She did just that. Meredith immigrated in 2008 and spent a year in religious seminary, then joined the military where she was able to see “the complexity of the situation” for the first time.

When Meredith spoke of joining the military, I imagined that to be very counterintuitive, given that the military traditionally uses force against different groups of people. However with further discussion, Meredith explained the side of the military which the media does little to cover, and a side that as an American, I was completely ignorant to. She describes the military as “more of a conglomerate. Some people teach in schools as a soldier, or help underprivileged kids. It’s like America’s military, Peace Corps, and Americorps all in one.”Meredith Pic 1

Meredith served in the West Bank in Ramallah as a part of the Civil Administration of the military. She worked in COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territoris), and was a liaison between the Civil Administration and international agencies working on international development projects for Palestinians in Area C. She told me of working to coordinate medical aid and food supplies to the West Bank and Gaza. One task which she described involved coordinating the transfer of 2000 tons of explosives from Israel to Palestine to create cement for housing. Yes, Israelis gave explosives to Palestinians. Yet they were used for improving the lives of many. With this, I understood Meredith’s role as a peacemaker even in the military.

Meredith started her first Kids4Peace summer in 2009 when she went to a North Carolina camp and was “in shock the entire time.”

“I was always really scared of Arabs, but these weren’t scary, they were nice. I felt betrayed by my upbringing, that I was never exposed to the challenge of the Palestinians and the struggle of the Palestinians. When it ended, I just cried and cried. I couldn’t handle the realization that I didn’t know anything. I needed to learn more, and know that this was what I wanted to do with my life.”

The lack of perspective that Meredith received before Kids4Peace is unfortunately the norm. However, Meredith told me that we must “look at it as something we need to improve. Do not be self-hating because that doesn’t help make a difference. We need to see it as an opportunity to make ourselves something better.” Kids4Peace is working to change the conversation — to bring new questions, and new answers to the struggle for peace, ones that are based in real relationships of trust and understanding.

“I hope that society, including our leaders and ordinary people see that Kids4Peace is able to do it. We are able to bring all sides together with respect and understanding.  If we can reach more people, it won’t even matter what the political solution is because society will be ready for peace. That is what we need.”

Meredith’s passion for peace certainly runs deep. Meredith had a beautiful baby girl in March of 2013 and named her Shalva Henn, Shalva meaning Peace, and Henn meaning Grace. In 2012, Meredith joined the Kids4Peace team, first as Director of Communications and Special Projects, and now as Director of Development. She continues to work to make the world a better, safer place for all people.

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by Michal, Jewish Advisor

We – the K4P staff, went through a very important learning and growing experience together. We all took part in a weekend dialogue seminar, with the goal of strengthening ourselves amidst the challenges we live in, and getting to know each other a little bit better. A challenging “issue” we deal with as Kids4Peace educators, is that we spend so much time and energy on working with the kids, that we sometimes forget about how important our relationships are with each other. If we cannot model friendship, peace and acceptance to the kids – how can we expect it from them? Realizing this, we took a few days together and traveled to Jaffa.

At the seminar we were honored with the presence and facilitation of Dr. Shafik, not only a well known Palestinian psychologist and group facilitator, but a humble Kids4Peace parent. Shafik helped us look into ourselves, express our own complexities of existing in multiple worlds, and understand more about each others backgrounds, personalities, culture and faiths. He also took the time in the second part of the seminar to talk more about different ways of approaching different challenges of working with youth in conflict.

As a team, we grew so much closer. The bonding activities and dialogues enabled us to know each other in a much deeper way, thanks to the very professional and sensitive facilitation of Dr. Shafik.
This was a wonderful experience and we only look forward to more time together, continuing to learn and grow with and from each other.

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“The seminar was inspiring, healing, positive and helpful. Being with all the other staff gave us the opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level by sharing what we were feeling about the situation in Jerusalem. I left feeling positive, grateful, and with a strong belief that we (K4P) will find a way that will lead us through the darkness we have been living with for the past two months.” -Nadine, Christian Advisor

“The timing was especially good because for me it was very important to know the people I’m going to work with this year. We got the chance to meet most of the staff in a way that made us feel as one family. On the personal level it reminded me that I shouldn’t give up hope. Dr. Shafiq was a great facilitator and his quietness spread respect all over, helping us to express our fear and anger in a positive way.” -Samar, Christian Advisor
“This seminar was very important as we had the opportunity to not only get to know the entire team more and more but also to learn from their life experience. The dialogues between us enabled us to see things from different angles and even from the others’ perspectives. The most exciting thing was for me that I had the experience that our youth have in K4P. I got to experience what they experience, how it is to come home with learning and new development personally and in the group.” -Reeham Subhi, Kids4Peace Co-Director of Education