Promoting Tolerance, Fighting Racism in Education and the Community

Learning Together Coexistence Education 1

Promoting Tolerance, Fighting Racism in Education and the Community

Need: The tense situation in Jerusalem has perhaps most significantly affected the city’s youth, especially the 250,000 who study in the Jerusalem education system. Teachers and educators from all population sectors have increasingly requested assistance in dealing with incidents of students’ racist and violent behavior. This is often a reflection of the public sphere, which is peppered with verbal and physical attacks from all sides, toward all sides.

Response: The Jerusalem Foundation’s comprehensive program, in both education and community frameworks, takes advantage of the knowledge and expertise gained by a large number of organizations, each one of which specializes in slightly different aspects of the field. Programs will include one-time events, conferences and in-service days as well as extended, multi-session training programs.

  • The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace, founded in 1986, provides programs in democracy and human rights for 15,000 children, adolescents and adults each year. Among its 20 educational programs is “All Students Have a Role” in Arab schools in east Jerusalem, which seeks to encourage social responsibility and active participation in communal activities in the school and in the neighborhood.
  • The Yesodot Center for Torah and Democracy, established in 1996, conveys a message that religious Jewish life is compatible with and even enhanced by a commitment to democratic values. Yesodot offers educational and training programs in different areas of democracy and civics, uniquely geared toward Orthodox Jewish schools at the secondary level. Since its establishment Yesodot has worked with hundreds of schools and affected thousands of pupils.
  • The SOS Israeli Center for Violence Studies – Merkaz Matzmichim was founded in 2004 to reduce violence in Israeli society and to promote democratic patterns of thinking and behavior. Specializing in giving educators tools to cope with violence and racism in the classroom, SOS believes that in order to deal with violence, it must be fully understood, and then dealt with through non-violent means.
  • The Me’Orer Education Center was founded in 1996. It is a multidisciplinary informal education center that holds educational programs attended by tens of thousands of youth, teachers, administrators, security forces, university students and others, throughout the year, advancing the values of Zionism, social justice, democracy, Judaism and shared living. HaMe’Orer activities include trips, seminars, lectures, hikes, plays and musical performances. In Jerusalem the Center works with the faculty of a number of secondary schools to inculcate HaMe’Orer goals and methods into the school curriculum.
  • Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance led by the Jerusalem Intercultural Center utilizes community frameworks to construct a broad grassroots network of impassioned activists who seek to promote tolerance throughout Jerusalem. Activities include workshops, conferences and special citywide events that develop leadership skills and encourage dialogue. Advocacy efforts include working intensively in neighborhoods to help residents promote tolerance locally, as well as social media campaigns to promote tolerance on a broader scale

Population Served: The program will target all of Jerusalem’s diverse populations – Jewish and Arab, religious and secular – and be specially adapted to each. It seeks to engage hundreds of teachers, thousands of children and tens of thousands of the general public.

Impact: In the education system, Research shows that educators are a critical element in advancing the values of tolerance and acceptance of the ‘other,’ and instilling them in today’s young people. Surveys show that 70% of teachers who have undergone training report that they feel they have the tools to cope with incidents of racism in the classroom. In the community, dozens of core activists are advancing grassroots initiatives that engage hundreds of people, and are seen by tens of thousands each week on the Internet and social media.

Websites: Adam Institute: http://www.adaminstitute.org.il/?page_id=2&lang=en

Partners: The Jerusalem Education Authority

Funding Needs: NIS 200,000 per program