From Meredith Rothbart
Development Director, Jerusalem

Dear friends and supporters,

I write to you now from Jerusalem, just easing back into work after maternity leave with my newborn son Yishai.

As I reflect on the growth of my family, I feel determined to help the Kids4Peace community continue to grow at a strong, steady pace. Sometimes it seems that we face more challenges each year.

“Ima, who are the bad guys?” my 3-year old daughter, Shalva, asked me just a few days ago.

As an Israeli child, she hears the chatter around her about division and violence.

While I try to reassure her that the world is not divided into “good guys” and “bad guys”, I know these are the very same questions my Palestinian and American friends, family and colleagues are struggling to answer to their children.

As a mother and an educator, I believe that we must not merely answer our children in words. We must provide opportunities to take action–and in Kids4Peace we are doing just that.

In Kids4Peace Seattle, our community stood up against violencethis weekend at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, a mosque recently scarred with vandalism.

Our Kids4Peace Boston youth joined together in service by cooking dinner for residents of the homeless shelter at First Church in Cambridge.

In Kids4Peace Jerusalem, 100 youth leaders marched in unity through the Old City, and will take what they’ve learned back to their schools where they’ll share their experiences.

More than 500 youth participate in Kids4Peace globally.

You have the power to help them stand up against violence, join together in service, and march together in unity.

With Hope,


Take action. Donate Now.

Donate today and every dollar will be matched.

Solidarity in Seattle

Jordan Goldwarg —  November 26, 2016 — Leave a comment

by Jordan Goldwarg, Northwest Regional Director

In my life, I don’t think I have ever had the experience of an unknown grown man hugging me while breaking down in tears. Today, it happened twice.

These have been an intense, emotional few weeks in the United States. To add to the weight of those emotions, last weekend, someone vandalized the main sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, the largest mosque in the Seattle area and one of K4P’s oldest partners in the region.

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In an act of vandalism, someone took a sledgehammer to the granite sign outside MAPS (photo courtesy of MAPS)


In response to this act of hate, MAPS responded with love and hospitality by hosting an Open House for the whole community to come and learn the truth about Islam as a religion of peace.

The Kids4Peace community showed up in force for the Open House and also stayed afterward to hold up signs of support as members of the MAPS community arrived for the large Jum’ah prayer.

Standing in front of the mosque with our signs was such a simple act. It literally took only minutes to coordinate the invitation to our families and to make signs (which for some families, became a fun Thanksgiving activity!). This simple act, however, had a profound impact on the members of the MAPS community who saw it — and by extension, on all of us from K4P who were there. Countless people came over to talk to us and to thank us for standing together with them. Some brought snacks and sweets to share with us, further extending the hospitality of the Open House. Many people took photos or selfies with the group. And toward the end, a teenager approached and asked if it would be okay to take a photo of his grandfather with the group. The older gentleman had sunglasses on, so it was hard to read his expression. But when he put his arms around the shoulders of me and a K4P father as we posed for the photo, we could feel him start to sob. After the photo, without saying a word, he hugged each of us as the tears streamed down from under his sunglasses.

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Standing in front of MAPS

It is so important for Jews, Christians, and others to be strong allies for our Muslim friends and neighbors right now. A simple act of support goes such a long way toward lifting people’s spirits and making everyone feel like they belong in our communities.

In the wake of this divisive election campaign, if you are thinking about concrete things you can do to make a positive difference in the world, here is one easy solution: grab a group of friends of family (or both!), make some signs, and stand outside your local mosque during Friday prayers. You will be making a world of difference.


A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

11078071_10100879549208157_1799555395257608746_nOver the last week, the deep divisions in American society have risen to the surface, and a wave of hate speech, intimidation and bullying has affected our community personally.

I know a Muslim girl who had a rock thrown through her window, a rabbi whose daughter had swastikas painted on her dorm, and an Episcopal church defaced by racist vandalism.

But we know that love is stronger than hate. I’ve seen an outpouring of love from our Kids4Peace youth, who came together in Boston, Seattle, Vermont and New Hampshire – to reaffirm their friendships, support each other, and prepare for what’s next.

As an interfaith peace organization, our work is more important than ever – and for us, dialogue and action go hand in hand.

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In the coming months, Kids4Peace will equip all our youth with skills to stand up against hate, educate peers about other religions, and facilitate hard conversations across difference.

We will work with community partners on campaigns to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and we’ll help congregations and community organizations develop capacity to address deep conflict among youth and engage them with campaigns for justice.

I know we can rise to this challenge, because I see our inspiring young peace leaders – now more than a thousand strong – who are lighting the way to a better future.

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Kids4Peace’s mission has suddenly become more urgent, and dozens of new communities want to start local chapters. To make this happen, we will need your help.

Would you consider a special gift this year, to help expand our work in the USA? We’ll need to train local youth leaders and educators, hire community organizers, and design cutting-edge curriculum to most effectively engage youth.

And if you know congregations, universities, organizations, denominations, foundations or donors who might want to partner with Kids4Peace, please introduce us!

Let’s make interfaith cooperation, respect and understanding the norms in our society. And let’s partner with inspiring young leaders to create a more just and peaceful world.

Fr. Josh Thomas
(josh@k4p.org)

PS – If you donate between now and #GivingTuesday (Nov 29), your gift will be doubled!  And check out the inspiring video from Kids4Peace Jerusalem youth, talking about what your gift means to then.

On November 15th, twelve staff members from Kids4Peace – Muslim, Christian and Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian – left for a five-day learning delegation tour in Ireland. We went for several reasons, a main one being with the intention to learn from politicians, academics, and the Irish people about the conflict they had in Northern Ireland, the peace process that was finalized just ten years ago, in 2006, and what lessons we can learn to take back with us to Jerusalem. Another purpose of the trip was to share with people the stories and lives of us in Jerusalem, our histories, our conflict, and the ways in which Kids4Peace is trying to end the conflict and create a more peaceful society in Jerusalem and beyond. With high expectations and great excitement as we embarked, the trip surpassed every expectation we held, and was an incredible experience.

When we first arrived, we had a wonderful day with our Irish host and another friend, exploring the city center of Dublin and getting to know the city and the people little by little. The streets were beautifully decorated for Christmas, and immediately we felt welcomed and comfortable there.

Day two was even better. Breakfast was wonderful and we started our day by meeting the Lord Mayor of Dublin and hearing from a few high-school students about their activist initiatives. We then climbed onto a bus and made our way to a beautiful little seaside town called Wexford. The next five hours were amazing!! With about 100 people in attendance, we rotated between Kids4Peace speakers telling their stories and Wexford students telling theirs. It was empowering, inspiring, moving and a great experience. The Wexford city council was there to meet us as well as Amnesty International members. Everyone was so kind and gracious and so happy to meet us. This made us all feel very welcomed and happy to be there. Afterwards we went to dinner with many new friends and finished the night at a wonderfully traditional Irish pub with live music and beautiful energy.

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One of the most amazing things of this trip was very clearly the bond we created as a group. By day two, we already felt that this trip was incredibly exciting. We were learning about each other’s stories and identities in a deep and meaningful way, and sharing true experiences of enrichment, empowerment, and unhindered fun. We were laughing and feeling so happy to be together, in Ireland, meeting the kindest people, and learning about the hope and optimism that exists in this country because of the peace agreement and the way it has been upheld. Day two left us feeling hopeful, and eager to continue the journey together.

The next day was a full day as well. We came back to Dublin from Wexford and headed to the senate directly to meet with Senator David Norris over lunch. He was very interesting, and had many stories to tell us about the peace process. Then we met with Richard Barrett Boyd, another politician, who was impressed by the work we do. His opinions challenged us to go back home and face questions within our organization and within our own societies and also helped us to understand more about politicians perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We also visited Trinity College library and saw the Book of Kells exhibition as well as the Long Room, both very famous and very beautiful! We ended the day with a press conference at the chamber of commerce where 10 of us spoke about our own stories and experiences of growing up in Jerusalem.

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On Friday, we started our day by visiting the Provost of Trinity College. We then had a tour in Chester Beatty library where we saw a beautiful exhibition on religion and ancient religious manuscripts. We spent the afternoon learning about the Northern Ireland conflict from politicians, Tim O’Connor and Pat Hynes, who had been involved with the peace process and had been present for the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. It was fascinating learning from them, and they had many important and poignant tips and advice for us to take back to Jerusalem. We have so much to learn from Ireland as a country and from the amount of patience and tolerance the people have here towards each other. We felt so inspired after this learning session. We also had the chance to watch a short documentary that had been made about one of our group-members, Ahmad. Afterwards there was a question and answer session with him and some students of Trinity College who had come for the screening. On Friday evening, we went to a beautiful Shabbat dinner and service at the Dublin Progressive Synagogue. We had the opportunity to speak a little about our work and also to mingle with people who were really interested in hearing from us and learning more about our lives.

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Saturday morning we started our day with a beautiful walk from the hotel to the mosque. We were greeted at the mosque by Jamil, the Imam who showed us around and explained both about the culture of his mosque and the congregants, as well as the culture of the interfaith community leaders in Dublin. It is truly inspiring how much collaboration and communication exists between the various religious leaders here, and how much respect and trust there is. The religious tolerance there is amazing, and in fact we had nothing but positive interactions with people there who seemed impressed and interested in our group and our purpose. Everyone was so warm and open hearted to us. After the mosque we went to the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral and had a tour, which the Dean of the Cathedral, William Morton, joined. It was beautiful to see the different sides of the city, and to understand the rich religious history. Everything we learned is just a small taste of the full picture, but we do feel like we gained a rich understanding of Dublin and Irish history, particularly when pertaining to the conflict in Northern Ireland and the peace process.

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One of the days, we had a staff dialogue, and spoke about some of the takeaways from this trip. Many said they feel like we are truly on the right path, albeit on a long journey. As the Irish have been putting it, we are on the Long Road to peace. But after this trip, the long road doesn’t feel as long or distant as it did before we left. I know I speak for all of us when I say we are returning to Jerusalem with fresh energy and new perspectives, which will only serve to aid us in our efforts. We also will be able to better help the youth, with stronger optimism and a tighter bond among the staff, because of this meaningful, memorable experience together.

The Kids4Peace community could not be more grateful to have the supporters that we do, who made this trip and experience achievable; you are such a big part of what makes our work in Jerusalem possible. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Written by Liana, Michal and Mohammad

by Rebecca Sullum, Jerusalem Co-Director

“You know, I actually voted in these elections. I am registered in a swing state, so I felt that I had to vote,” I yelled on top of the noise at the US Embassy Election Celebration in Tel Aviv. I was speaking to Mohammad, my colleague of 5 years, and his wife.

I hadn’t told most people that I cast my vote this year for the first time in U.S. elections at the age of 35. I always held the belief that I should only be voting where I was living, and although I hold dual citizenship in Israel and the USA, I have only lived in Israel since the age of 14 and therefore had only ever voted in Israel.

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With Trump versus Hillary, this election seemed different, more polarizing, more important to vote. So I did. I have now taken part in the democratic process in Israel and the US, something that I should be proud of, something that should be a basic right to all people.

A moment after confiding in Mohammad, I started to feel that sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach, that feeling when you realize that you have asked the wrong question or said the wrong thing, and I suddenly remembered that Mohammad and his wife have never voted.

As residents of Jerusalem, by Israeli law they can’t vote in the Israeli national elections. They also had never been able to vote in the Palestinian presidential elections. During the previous PA presidential election in 2005 there were voting booths in East Jerusalem for Jerusalem residents, but there were many obstacles in the way including inadequate numbers of workers and a general feeling of fear at the polls. Therefore Mohammad and his wife had never voted for their leadership.

So here I was in the middle of the US Embassy Celebration in Tel Aviv celebrating American democracy while my colleagues and friends can only celebrate others’ right to vote.

This seems a bit ironic, to celebrate others’ democracy and freedom while you can’t celebrate your own.

My evening started with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement but took an unexpected turn, and now at midnight I sit here writing this blog, feeling torn and wondering what I can do tomorrow for the freedom of all in Jerusalem.

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Jill Levenfeld, Kids4Peace Jerusalem staff member

#Forward Together

What a feat it was for our feet to walk together this last Friday over four kilometers around the walls of the Old City as Kids4peace Jerusalem residents sharing  our stories, our histories and herstories too.

#Forward Together indeed, our Kids4peace community of over 100 leaders gathered, clad in colored shirts wearing our hashtag proudly.  We walked the walk and talked the talk; very aware of the fear and violence around us. We customized our own unique mini –pilgrimage so that we would be visible in the public sphere while sharing  our Palestinian and Israeli narratives. Together we stepped in and out of new and unfamiliar places walking out our stories. Because stories have legs, love, loathing, laughter and lots of life to carry. 

We encircled the entire circumference of the Old City by foot which takes about six hours (!) passing under all seven gates. That’s a lot of legwork and brainpower for our youth who remained engaged and curious. We were guided by four excellent tour guides, two Palestinians — Jalal and Samer, and two Israelis Hava and Alex. Each guide was responsible for a designated section, between specific gates, delving into  the history and perspective from his/her particular point of view.

“This was a very ambitious undertaking”, said Hava as we were walking. She had never led such a tour for a community like ours; of Israeli and Palestinian young leaders living in Jerusalem. Impressive youth  who care and who dare. Dare to engage with each other despite what their school friends might say. Their parents are equally brave supporting our work, and believing in the importance of taking our voices to the streets.

Walk about Zion,
go round about her,
number her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
go through her citadels;
that you may tell the next generation that this is God,
He will be our guide for ever.
(Psalm 48:12-14)

The   Psalms has it right….This last Friday, we sure did

go round about her , considering well her ramparts ….and went through her citadels,”  as we felt the divine, learned and opened our eyes guided to new perspective.

Jalal, our first guide,  talked about the many political leaders who ruled over Jerusalem, how they entered the city, and how they left their influence. I thought to myself, if Kaiser Wilhelm is remembered today for his audacity in 1898 as he reshaped Jaffa Gate due to his height and large  helmet, then just imagine the  new gateways our creative Kids4peace young leaders will burst open.

As the light rail passed, some of our youth spoke about their  concerns riding the train. Why don’t the ticket machines get fixed in Shuafat the same way they are repaired in other parts of the city? Why isn’t there more security on the trains to make me feel safe?  How can we optimize the light rail as a space not just for travel together, but a chance for commuters to get off the train to wander into neighborhoods not familiar ?

Our K4P young leaders are doing that already. They learn and visit each other’s neighborhoods crossing the boundaries that separate us.

And the boundaries are many in our city. Samar, our second wonderful guide of the morning walked us to Damascus Gate while talking about the different neighborhoods within the walls. Approximately 36,000 residents live inside the Old City and their lives are not easy to navigate between the hordes of border police and tourists. He pointed out the Central Bus Station opposite the Gate asking the kids if they have ever been on one of the Palestinian buses? A separate transportation system where an Egged bus ticket would not get you far. Making us aware again of the complexity of  the multiple realities in Jerusalem.

Hava, our third  guide of the day, met us in the Kidron Valley as we watched Jerusalem’s diversity gather for prayer. Hundreds of Muslim men, from neighborhoods like Ras Al Amud, balanced folded prayer rugs on their shoulders as they ascend solemnly towards  Lion’s Gate, the entrance to Al Aksa for Jumu’ah Friday prayer. This is the same gate during the Six Day War that Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin came through in 1967 changing the status of Jerusalem. Below the Gate, we see Christian clergy and their pilgrims fill the Gardens of  Gethsemane in their colorful robes. Hava reminds us of the New Testament verse that as Jesus approached Jerusalem, and saw the city, He wept.

Tears blend with our histories at Lion’s Gate as our senses heighten. Each of these gates open up a chance for us to learn, see, and feel something new.

 Uncertainty awaits at the gate. Hava warned us as we approached Lion’s Gate, that we might not get permission from the Border Police to enter the Muslim Cemetery, our next stop.  But   Hashtag #Forward Together has its own momentum and power.  We enter, and learn about the Muslim burial traditions. Our dead in Jerusalem, Jewish and Arab, are separated geographically, like the living. The Kidron Valley serves as a separator between the Jewish burial on the Mount of Olives from the Muslims who are buried here under the Golden Gate. But our traditions run parallel when it comes to the afterworld. We need those parallels in THIS world, not just while we wait for the Messiah who is believed to come from the East, agreed by ALL of our traditions.

As we walk through the land of the dead, we hear clearly the Khutbah, Friday sermon at  Al Aksa  ( above our heads, as if coming from the heavens). I was walking in the Cemetery at that moment with  Mohammad (Joulani) but Mohammad the Prophet was ever present as we walked in the Yerushalayim Shel Mata (Jerusalem Below) aligned with the Yerusahalayim Shel Maal (Jerusalem Above). I asked Mohammad if he could translate  a bit of what was being said in the Khutbah.  A verse from the first chapter in the Koran was being quoted, which comingled nicely the vision of  our #ForwardTogether,

Sirat al mustaqim—Guide us (gently) to the straight path.

Along with our Muslim friends, we too at Kids4peace are in search of that straight path  and hope that we can continue to gently guide our community, even when the road is unpaved or unjust. #Forward Together

 

Day 3

After two awesome days at The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati and Adath Israel Congregation we concluded our interfaith curriculum at St.Barnabas Episcopal Church. Our Kids4Peace camp group continues to impress as both campers and staff remain interested and engaged in learning about one another’s cultures. Today’s theme was “community” and it has been amazing to see our own Kids4Peace community grow together.

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Rev. Nancy showing us around the Church

Our day began as one of our staff members led us in a fun activity, playfully called the “Toilet Paper Game”. This icebreaker allowed us to get to know each other a little bit better and got us all loosened up for the day. This morning’s religious education session was lead by Rev. Dr. Nancy Turner Jones. Reverend Nancy took us on a tour of the church, and went to great lengths to create a safe space that encouraged asking questions. We learned a lot about Christianity and were able to delve deeper into the culture and tradition of the Episcopalian denomination. Each of us learned about the importance of mosaics in our faith traditions, and we were able to carry on that tradition by creating our own small mosaic.

The afternoon was filled with camp games and dialogue. We worked off of our theme of community as we played team builders such as the human knot and a team tower building activity. Additionally we engaged in a fruitful conversation finding similarities within the three Abrahamic faith traditions. We learned about the importance of working together and we discussed what it means to give back to our own communities.

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As we approached the end of the day some members of the Kids4Peace Cincinnati leadership team visited our camp. Some of our campers were given the opportunity to explain some of the activities we had done throughout the week, and a few leaders shared how important they felt our day camp is to the Cincinnati interfaith community.

We had a great day learning some new facts about Christianity while we engaged with activities focused on the importance of community. Our leadership modeled how much a supportive and motivated community can do when they put their minds to it. Moreover, our campers continue to amaze with their willingness to participate in deep and insightful conversation. Tomorrow we head to Barbash Vital Support Center in Clifton to work in their food pantry. After 3 days learning about the importance of listening, trust, and community I feel as though we are truly ready to serve the Cincinnati community with positivity and intention.

Day 4

Day 4 was absolutely amazing and truly demonstrated how a group of kids can come together to make a difference. Our theme today was service and while we were dropped off at the Mayerson JCC, we spent the majority of the day working on at the Barbash Family Vital Support Center’s food pantry in Clifton. The Barbash staff taught us about the communities that the food pantry serves, and the campers and staff learned about the services that food pantries and soup kitchens provide. Today we were helping the food pantry re-stock their shelves. Our Kids4Peace community spent the week collecting canned foods and non-perishable food items to donate, and after our donation was added to the pantry’s weekly food collection we got right to work!

Campers and staff organized food and spent the morning arranging the products on to the shelves of the pantry. Sandee, the food pantry’s volunteer coordinator, later lead us in a thought provoking activity where our campers were given the opportunity to role play a week as a family who shops at the pantry. We learned to value what food we do have, and we were able to see how important it is to give to those who currently face hunger within our own community.

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The afternoon was jam packed with fun camp games including a fun improv game where we told some stories one sentence at a time. Back at the JCC we engaged in a powerful conversation about the dangers of stereotypes and then began our closing thoughts. We spent time sharing affirmations and gratitude, and we shared openly about what we respected about our fellow campers and staff. We each created bracelets decorated with beads that each represented some important moments during camp, and we each signed our Kids4Peace banner signifying a pledge to continue to work towards peace in the future.

Whether it be at the Church, Synagogue, Mosque, or on our day of service our Kids4Peace camp was able to work together to build bridges across different cultures, religions, and communities. We learned an incredible amount in just a few short days and we formed friendships that will surely last beyond the confines of camp. We listened to each other’s stories, we trusted that our group would support one another, we came together as a community of peace, and we worked to understand the importance of service. It was an incredible journey and I am so lucky to have gotten to know a wonderful group of campers and staff.

This is only the beginning. As we plan reunions and other yearly programs we will continue to work towards our dream of peace. This camp was the first of many steps that this community will take in order to make the Cincinnati interfaith community a model for the rest of the nation.

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On Saturday slept late, as the kibbutz was quiet around us due to the Jewish Sabbath. All of the kids, especially the boys (!) helped  prepare our own breakfast outside. The entire group sat together at the table, we heard the Muslim blessing, and then we ate a breakfast of yogurt, tuna, cheeses, vegetables, and cornflakes. Before each meal this week, following the Kids4Peace tradition, we hear the blessing over the food from a different religion. It is always special to hear different blessings in different languages.

After the entire group helped clean up breakfast, we began our religious text study. We divided into smaller groups and read texts dealing with environmental justice from the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith traditions. We shared which texts we connected to most, and learned that all of the holy books include passages instructing us to take care of the world and the environment. We also discussed the concept of justice. Tarik Abu Hamed came to speak to the group about his experience. He is Palestinian and grew up in Zur Baher in Jerusalem, studied (3 degrees!) in Turkey, then returned and became Israel’s Deputy Chief Scientist. He works at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, located in Ketura. His story is incredibly inspiring, and we all learned from his story and the difficulties he overcame. He stressed the importance of cooperation over land and water, and between the different populations living here.

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Then, we had lunch in the kibbutz dining hall, followed by a long rest time and time to pack for Jordan, where we traveled on Sunday. After resting and packing, we started an amazing session where we built our own Kids4Peace Neighborhood. The kids were divided into pairs and given different responsibilities in creating the neighborhood – we had mayors, religious leaders, a town song writer, and pairs who were responsible for designing the roads, shopping centers, education, community center, environmental sustainability, and more. The kids first shared their own experiences from the neighborhoods they lived in, and learned more about each other and each other’s realities. Then they got to work to design a neighborhood that would include all the religions and peoples and would be culturally sensitive to Muslims, Christians, and Jews – and Israelis and Palestinians – living together. You can see pictures of the neighborhood below and be sure to check out the Kids4Peace Jerusalem Facebook Page to watch videos of the kids explaining their vision for a shared neighborhood.

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We were amazed and inspired by the kids’ vision for the future, and we hope that some day, we will lead the change to truly create a shared and tolerant neighborhood for everyone. In the meantime, we are off to Jordan to the EcoPark, to continue learning about “Our Land, Your Land, Whose Responsibility?”

 

We got up super early this morning for a sunrise bike ride around the date fields and solar fields of Ketura. We biked to the Jordan border, and saw that in this area, the border is a low fence. Our guide told us that before the kibbutz switched the fruit fields with solar fields, they used to give fruits to the Jordanian soldiers on the other side. The kids had lots of fun and learned a lot even before breakfast!

After breakfast, we headed to Kibbutz Lotan, which is located very close. in Lotan there is an “Eco-village,” where students live sustainably in mud houses. We learned (and felt!) that mud houses are very insulated in hot weather, so they actually stay cool. We got dirty and helped build mud houses ourselves by making mud bricks. The kids started thinking about what it means to live devoted to on lifestyle, and what small things we can do each day to minimize our impact on the environment.

Then, of course there was swim time. After swimming, we did a session where we learned about the specific environmental problems in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We talked about water, sewage, land, and air pollution and together designed solutions for each issue. We discussed how the environment doesn’t know borders  and realized that we are all dependent on each other, so environmental solutions can help solve political issues too. We all are looking for ways to make our environment better.

Later this evening, the group will do group sports outside after dinner. Tomorrow we will read and discuss environmental justice and we will have a session about the environmental problems in our different neighborhoods in Jerusalem and how to design and publicize solutions. We are looking forward!

Check out the Kids4Peace Jerusalem Facebook Page for more pictures!!

 

Jerusalem Roots Camp had a blast today in water sports in Eilat. All of the kids sat on the boats and had crazy rides in the sea! It was a beautiful day, and everyone had a fun time jumping and swimming in the ocean. Then, we had lunch in the (air conditioned) mall and drove back to Ketura. On our way back, Muhammed and Gayil led a fun activity, where the kids had to divide into pairs and teach each other a sentence from their favorite song in their language. We also had a singing competition – lots of songs on the bus! Each day, a pair of kids work together to prepare a 5-10 minute activity for the whole group. So far, we have been so impressed by everyone’s creativity and responsibility in creating activities together.

Once we got back to Ketura, we did a session about the environment and tradition. We started the session by talking about different inventions and how technology has affected our lives. Then, we got into smaller groups and learned about changes from the past until now in agriculture, cooking, and compost. We learned about our friends’ families by talking about how our grandparents use to cook and farm, compared to today. The kids continue to think about what problems could have environmental solutions, and how we can work together to be mindful of the environment and how we hurt or help it.

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After dinner, we continued a conversation about the different neighborhoods we live in Jerusalem and how the differences can affect how we act in the group. We learned from each other’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings, and everyone is curious to continue learning from each other, about each other, and about the environment.

We finished the day, of course, with free time on the playing fields. It was another wonderful day down here in Kibbutz Ketura!