Hebrew – Arabic – English

To ensure a bright future for the new generations, the Jerusalem Foundation focuses on language education. Hebrew and Arabic to foster understanding and respect, and English to open new opportunities and frontiers.

Although Hebrew and Arabic are both official languages, neither Jews nor Arabs in Jerusalem regularly speak the other’s language, which perpetuates misconceptions and intolerance. To strengthen the community and the social fabric of the city, the Jerusalem Foundation seeks to facilitate understanding between Jews and Arabs by teaching the ‘other’s’ language. The goal is to transform attitudes and behaviors, help Arab Israelis feel at home in Israel and facilitate dialogue between the two cultures and communities. Positive communication and mutual respect build communal strength and help shape the Jerusalem of the future in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for 2030.

 

Language as a Cultural Bridge: is a 2-year Arabic instruction course for grades 5-6 to enable Jewish children to communicate in Arabic. The Jerusalem Foundation has operated the program in Jerusalem since 2005 in collaboration with the Abraham Fund Initiative, with 18 to 20 schools participating each year. The initiative breaks down barriers by teaching Arabic and Arab culture in Jewish schools and by putting Jewish school-children in daily contact with Arab teachers as role models. The program includes encounters between Jewish and Arab students and a project at the YMCA where Jewish and Arab students can learn Hebrew and Arabic together. Currently under consideration is a program expansion to include Arabic language instruction for additional age categories and Hebrew language instruction wherever possible in East Jerusalem Arab schools.

 

 

Hebrew and Arabic for children and adults: The Jerusalem Foundation also coordinates other programs to advance Hebrew and Arabic language skills for both children and adults.

  • Hebrew instruction in Arab schools: places native Hebrew speakers in Arab schools as teachers, with the establishment of special Hebrew language rooms to enhance learning.
  • Talking Coexistence: Arabic language instruction for adults, operated by the Jerusalem Intercultural Center for the past 15 years.
  • Women Speaking Hebrew: teaches Hebrew conversational skills to Arab women in an affordable and comfortable environment since 2013.

 

English Revolution

To ensure a bright future for the new generations, the Jerusalem Foundation aims to revolutionize the teaching of English in Jerusalem schools, reaching approximately 100 schools over the next decade. The program will kick off with 6 Jewish and Arab elementary schools in the first year, building up to 40 schools over 5 years, with the ultimate goal of reaching 100. This project will equip all young Jerusalemites with the language skills needed to be accepted into university and succeed in the workplace. An effective knowledge of English removes barriers to integration and ensures a modern and vibrant future for all Jerusalem’s residents with no distinction as to social or religious background. This builds communal strength, identified as a key priority by the Jerusalem Foundation in view of 2030.

The program will promote English proficiency through a holistic approach focusing on speaking and listening, reinforced by out of class activities to foster communication skills.

 

  • English Clubs: run by the best trained English teachers, usually only accessible to high-income families. Immersive learning will be used, with substantial visual English language presence.
  • Field trips: outings conducted in English to Jerusalem’s most attractive sites with fun activities that make learning enjoyable while leveraging classroom learning.
  • “Meetups”: English-only encounters between Arab and Jewish youth with the added value of experiencing the difficulties of learning a new language together.

The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to adapt and expand the Al Mada teacher training for STEM education to Jerusalem primary schools. The successful program was launched by the Israel Center for Excellence in Education (ICEE) to transform math and science teaching in 200 Israeli primary schools. In Jerusalem, the unprecedented inclusion of secular, religious, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools, as well as Arab schools in East Jerusalem, will close educational gaps, which prevent true shared living, and strengthen the fabric of society. Communal Strength is a key priority for the Jerusalem Foundation as part of its 2030 vision, with this program representing a life-changing opportunity for Jerusalem’s most disadvantaged children and their future.

 

Coordinated by the Jerusalem Foundation, the program includes innovative teacher training in math and science by ICEE expert educators and an easy-to-use curriculum, with teacher handbooks and student materials adapted for different cultures and languages, including Arabic. ICEE provides ongoing support to teachers and organizes city-wide competitions on scientific topics. This approach will ensure a long-term impact on education, making Jerusalem a city of educational excellence.  Fifty primary schools in Jerusalem’s most disadvantaged communities will benefit in the first year of the program, with the goal of expanding in the following years.

 

 

Impact: Real change in the teaching and learning processes for math and science in grades 3 to 6. Teachers and students will acquire tools and experience that will benefit them in the long-term, translating into academic and future life achievements for students and improved teaching methods for teachers. This will benefit the city of Jerusalem as a whole, strengthening its social fabric and commitment to inclusivity.

 

Partners: Israel Centre for Excellence through Education, Jerusalem Education Authority, Ministry of Education

A flagship program of the Jerusalem Foundation, Project Springboard aims to break the cycle of future poverty in Jerusalem’s poorest neighborhoods. By taking a holistic approach to one neighborhood at a time, the Jerusalem Foundation ensures that the city’s most disadvantaged youth are provided with opportunities to fulfill their potential, thus instilling hope for the future and preventing poverty. At the same time, adults are provided with tools for effective home budget management. With strategic partnerships with local community councils, neighborhood schools and public and private organizations, Project Springboard strengthens the social fabric and community support systems of Jerusalem. Thus, building communal strength for a modern and vibrant city in 2030, in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for the next decade.

 

 

The Springboard program, which has been successfully running for 5 years in Kiryat Menachem and for 3 in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, is now being implemented in Gilo, where a high proportion of residents come from low socio-economic families. The combination of home budget management support for families to avoid poverty and improved education and enrichment activities for children, change the neighborhood’s atmosphere. In particular, Springboard identifies students with exceptional potential in music, sports and science and offers these children the programs necessary to fulfill their potential for outstanding achievement. Support is also offered to especially run down and struggling elementary schools to improve conditions and turn them into an attraction and a community anchor to the benefit of the entire neighborhood.

 

Impact: With its activities, the Springboard project revitalizes entire neighborhoods, one at the time. It is not only the residents of the neighborhood that benefit from it, but the city as a whole becoming increasingly more modern, inclusive and vibrant.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Education Authority, Ministry of Education, Local Community Councils

Jerusalem is home to 23,000 Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) seniors, nearly half of whom (10,000) are Holocaust survivors. In line with our vision for 2030, we are focusing on strengthening the community support systems to provide for the needs of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox seniors, one of the city’s most vulnerable populations. We aim to ensure equality of opportunity for this population sector to grow old at home, in dignity and security, with sustained support for them and their caregivers.

 

 

The Jerusalem Foundation, together with the Misgav Lakashish organization, seek to establish the first elderly day center in Jerusalem that is specifically adapted to the needs of the Haredi population. The 2,000-square-metre facility will include a Social and Treatment Center for the Physically Frail (1,100 m2), as well as a separate Social and Treatment Center for the Mentally Frail (one center for men, one center for women, 940 m2 in total area). Programs will meet the standards of the Israel Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, which will support the ongoing operation, and scrupulous adherence to Haredi cultural norms such as gender separation (Separate services will be offered for women and men, and will take place on separate floors) and strictly kosher food. It will be located in the Romema neighborhood, a centrally-located Haredi neighborhood.

 

 

The Centers will operate from 8:00 – 15:00, and afterward the facility will host a range of social and educational services for more independent seniors. The morning day centers will include:

  • Medical Services and information for illness prevention and promotion of good health
  • Large Activity Halls (90 m2) hosting creative programming by and for the Haredi community as well as space for breakfast and lunch to be served
  • Treatment rooms (30 – 35 m2)for occupational and physical therapy
  • Activity rooms (20 – 30 m2) for arts and crafts and other activities
  • Computer room (20 m2)for computer based activities to improve cognitive processes (only in center for the physically frail)
  • Areas for rest and showering, as well as a hair salon and medical pedicurist.
  • Transportation to and from the Centers, and laundry services
  • Beit Midrash center for Jewish learning.

 

For independent seniors, the afternoon-evening activities will include:

  • Social club
  • Enrichment program – art, drawing, jewelry making, etc.
  • Support groups for Holocaust survivors, widows, caregiving spouses, etc.
  • Employment Center – onsite work opportunities (a call center), as well as retraining courses and job placement services
  • The Day Center “College” – a center for continuing education and study.

 

Population Served: Physically frail, mentally frail and independent Haredi seniors.

 

Partners: Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, National Insurance Institute, Jerusalem Municipality, JDC-Israel, Foundation for Holocaust Survivors

The Sultan’s Pool Amphitheater is one of Jerusalem’s most spectacular sites, set against the backdrop of the Old City walls. An ancient water source modernized by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and turned into an open-air music venue in 1978. It has since become one of Israel’s most prestigious locations for music, dance, opera, and festivals, actively contributing to the city’s vibrant cultural scene. Performances by national and international artists included Eyal Golan, Sting, and Bob Dylan. This spectacular site is a 2030 priority of the Jerusalem Foundation for creative culture, as it enhances the city’s vibrancy and openness, making it a source of inspiration around the world.

To fully tap the potential of the Sultan’s Pool area, the Jerusalem Foundation, in partnership with other organizations, developed an ambitious renovation plan to make this space fully useful and accessible to the public every day. The project objectives are to upgrade the amphitheater into a structure that seats 7,000 people, with 4,200 permanent seats and 2,800 additional chairs, and to turn the surrounding area into a park open to residents and visitors. The project features a café and a garden area next to Sultan’s Pool. The renovation will benefit all Jerusalem residents with no distinction as to social or religious background, as well as the many visitors from Israel and abroad.

 

Impact: The area will become more accessible to Jerusalem’s population and visitors alike, both as a venue for cultural events and as a destination.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality, Ariel Municipal Company, Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Nature and Park Authority ltan’s Pool Amphitheater is one of Jerusalem’s most spectacular sites, set against the backdrop of the Old City walls. An ancient water source modernized by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and turned into an open-air music venue in 1978. It has since become one of Israel’s most prestigious locations for music, dance, opera, and festivals, actively contributing to the city’s vibrant cultural scene. Performances by national and international artists included Eyal Golan, Sting, and Bob Dylan. This spectacular site is a 2030 priority of the Jerusalem Foundation for creative culture, as it enhances the city’s vibrancy and openness, making it a source of inspiration around the world.

 

Yaelim is an innovative program launched by the Ein Yael Living Museum. The program, running from 2005, offers natural therapy to children and youth at risk or with special needs in Jerusalem. The treatment method combines elements of psychotherapy and creative therapy with challenges set in nature and ancient life living experiences. The activities take place outdoors, creating contact between the participants and the environment and equipping them with the skills needed to face their personal challenges and succeed in life. A strengthened social fabric and effective community support build communal strength for a modern and vibrant Jerusalem, in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for the next decade.

 

 

Yaelim helps youth from all backgrounds: religious and secular, Jewish and Arab – including those suffering from socioeconomic deprivation, domestic abuse and severe learning and behavioral difficulties. These teenagers, some of whom are living on the street or in shelters for homeless youth, have exhausted all formal educational options and are referred to Yaelim by community service organizations. Yaelim provides these youths with an alternative framework, operated through a continuum training center for nature therapy, a youth daycare center for at-risk youth, a behavioral club for adolescents with behavioral disorders, a rehabilitation nursery for special needs and training and employment groups for at-risk youth. This haven for vulnerable youth does not require an official referral and does not impose a time limit on the help provided.

 

Impact: Only last year 1,300 teens took part in one-time workshops and “in nature” activities at Yaelim, 121 youths participated in year-long nature therapy programs and 75 groups participated in sports challenges. Additionally, 80 sessions of the Ein Yael bicycling club took place and 3 Etgarim groups (extreme sports for the physically disabled) made their home at Yaelim.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Social Welfare Office

 

Website: www.einyael.co.il/category/yeelim-center

With a special focus on the needs of the city’s most vulnerable, the Jerusalem Foundation seeks to improve communal strengthen for an open and vibrant Jerusalem in the decade ahead and beyond. Focusing on the needs of Arab Women, Workforce Development for Palestinian Women increases employment and income opportunities for women in East Jerusalem, where only 21% of women are employed and 43% complete high school. The empowerment program provides language skills, business development, practical internships and seed funding.

 

 

A pilot is currently being implemented in the Sur Baher neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, where a one-day local job fair for women and girls only is organized. The services include East Jerusalem employment agencies explaining the market demand for various jobs, academic orientation for high school girls and a variety of cultural events for children to ensure all women can participate. The fair does not only offer employment prospects to women, but it is also a way to collect information to develop relevant training programs leveraging existing resources. In Sur Baher, a community center and five schools can be used in off-school hours for vocational training purposes to the benefit of the 8,470 women living in the neighborhood.

 

Impact: The program has the potential to significantly improve the lives of many Arab women, their families and the community at large. In Sur Baher, 200 women expressed interest in vocational training, while 10% of the target audience already completed a training program, with 60% of them now being employed part-time.

The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem – also known as the Biblical Zoo – has been a leader in wildlife conservation since 1993. As one of the few multicultural sites in Israel, it has become a bridge between local communities, with over 100,000 youth visiting each year from all of Jerusalem’s diverse communities. To expand the Zoo’s educational program, the Jerusalem Foundation is supporting the creation of the Education Center for Environment and Wildlife Conservation, which will later be developed as a High School on the Zoo premises. This initiative will create tomorrow’s leaders in the areas of nature conservation and the environment, by turning outstanding students from all backgrounds into role models for the Jerusalem of the future. In line with the Jerusalem Foundation vision for 2030, which focuses on future leadership as one of its three main priorities.

 

 

The High School will operate as part of the public school system, but its curriculum will also include zoology, biology, veterinary science, ecology, animal husbandry, sustainability, horticulture, and technical maintenance. Students will be required to work at the Zoo to gain practical experience, including exposure to in situ species breeding and reintroduction programs. The Center and High School will be open to young people from all over Israel who are interested in wildlife conservation, shaping a new generation of environmentally-aware Jerusalemites.

 

Impact: Today the Biblical Zoo and the Aquarium attract over 1 million visitors annually. The Education Center for Environment and Wildlife Conservation and High School will improve the educational experience of Israeli youth visiting the premises, boosting their understanding of wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality, Ministry of Education

With the growing understanding that the precarious state of our environment cannot be ignored, the Jerusalem Foundation seeks to cultivate urban sustainability within the daily life of Jerusalem, to shape a modern and vibrant city with opportunities for all. To do so, an ambitious plan has been approved to build the new Canada Center for Urban Sustainability on the site of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Today more than 100 organizations and activists work in Jerusalem to promote social justice and environmental sustainability, but with little interaction and limited scope for impact. The new center will provide a co-working space for these sustainability leaders to exchange ideas, maximize synergies and launch joint ventures. This will create a future leadership with a long term commitment to the city, as envisioned by the Jerusalem Foundation plan looking to 2030 and beyond.

 

Developed in collaboration with farmers, artists, urban planners, agro-tech developers and educators, the centre will feature a space for urban innovation demonstrations, indoor and outdoor workspaces with sustainable farming terraces, an artist studio, a greenhouse, a volunteers centre and classrooms. The Canada Centre will be built from repurposed shipping containers and will utilize eco-friendly construction methods with an emphasis on reclaimed, natural and renewable materials. By promoting innovation, education and civic engagement, the centre will position Jerusalem as a leader of the green movement in Israel and the world.

 

The centre will host many activities: horticulture therapy for former prison inmates and Holocaust survivors, programs for people with autism and other special needs, workshops in recyclable materials and educational programs for children, youth and adults. The centre will serve people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, reflecting Jerusalem’s diverse communities.

 

Impact: The centre will impact Israeli society and the economy of the future in terms of energy, waste, water, clean-tech, agriculture and food. It will boost the quality of life and promote urban renewal in Jerusalem and beyond, by uniting citizens to ensure the environmental health and wellbeing of their city, which is also their own.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality, Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, Leichtag Foundation, Jewish National Fund Australia, dozens of Israeli NGOs

Established more than 40 years ago by the Jerusalem Foundation and the Hebrew University, the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (JIPR) has grown to become the leading institute in Israel for the study of Jerusalem. JIPR gathers data, researches, evaluates and educates policymakers and stakeholders on critical issues and trends facing Jerusalem. The institute’s research covers every aspect of Jerusalem’s development: urban planning, social and demographic issues, economic and environmental challenges and the impact of geopolitical conflicts. As a leading institution with a long term commitment to the city, JIPR represents the Jerusalem Foundation’s dedication to future leadership as part of its vision for the next decade.

 

JIPR is known for its integrity and impartiality and is accepted by all parties. The research carried out clusters into three areas: urbanism and sustainability, economy and innovation and society and populations. The institute’s Annual Statistical Yearbook is a treasure trove of information tracking trends in Jerusalem and JIPR has become the go-to research institute for the Israeli government and philanthropic organizations alike, providing insightful data that shapes policies and investment for Jerusalem. Funding is needed to carry out and expand research and support the publication of many materials.

 

Impact: The institute’s work informs important decisions that shape the future of Jerusalem as a city and as a home to many different communities.

 

Website: www.jerusaleminstitute.org.il

A Studio of Her Own is a platform for promoting young religious women artists. It empowers Jewish religious women to pursue a career in the arts despite community pressure and external prejudice. Opened in 2009, the Studio provides a physical and mental space for creation, as well as programs tailored to meet the needs of participating artists. A Studio of Her Own encourages multicultural discourse in contemporary art, boosting creative culture in Jerusalem for a vibrant and open city in the decade leading to 2030 and beyond.

 

 

A Studio of Her Own offers young religious women artists, all of whom have a degree in art, a mentoring program for professional advancement, contact with curators and important artists, and increased exposure through public exhibitions. The Studio also offers a course in business development to assist them in learning to manage their personal studios and to make a living from their work. The Studio, housed in painter Pinhas Litwinowsky’s former home and atelier, was recently renovated to include a gallery for exhibitions, a library and research center and a coffee shop. With more space available, a tailored residency program for women artists has been launched and the Studio now hosts a variety of cultural events featuring performing arts, film, literature poetry and music.

 

 Impact: Studio of Her Own has received national recognition for its many years of work and activity. Today 40 women artists are active members of the Studio and hundreds of artists have participated in the business course. Studio of Her Own does not only allow Jewish religious women to make a living from art, but it also makes art more accessible to communities that are generally not exposed to it.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality, Leichtag Foundation

 

Website: www.studioofherown.com

When the art collective Empty House first entered Lorenzo-Serafin House, the historical central Jerusalem building was abandoned and dilapidated. Today, HaMiffal, the ‘factory’, is a unique cultural and arts center, a platform for creativity where Jerusalem’s young artists can experiment in a variety of ways. The whole space in itself is a massive work of art, open to Jerusalem’s residents and visitors who can also enjoy the café and co-working spaces. HaMiffal is an opportunity for local art academy graduates to stay in Jerusalem and contribute to its diverse and busy art scene. The project supports emerging artists, and their experimentations and creativity boost creative culture in the city, in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for 2030.

 

 

HaMiffal’s goal is to become a leading international art center, with an international residency for foreign artists and a creative platform. Renovation is underway of the 1st floor, supported by funds from the Municipality for the development of the city center. Spaces and activities will double, making extra funding a priority.

HaMiffal provides work for over 200 local artists, with 400 more creatives joining the activities as co-creators or event planners. Every year, over 60,000 visitors (more than 100 per day), come to see art, meet and work at HaMiffal.

 

Impact: 100 artists benefit from residency programs and exhibition space each year. Among them, 5-10 are accepted to international exhibitions and residencies, while more than 100 public events are organized at HaMiffal for the benefit of the local population.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality, Eden Development Company

Every year the Jerusalem Foundation announces a general call for arts and culture proposals to create platforms for its vibrant mosaic of languages, perspectives and beliefs, enhancing Jerusalem as a diverse, pluralistic city. The initiatives supported by the Jerusalem Foundation promote creative culture in Jerusalem and breathe new life into this ancient city, enhancing its vibrancy and openness for the next decade leading to 2030 and beyond.

 

 

In 2019 the Jerusalem Foundation received 140 applications and had to select among many deserving cultural initiatives. Funding is needed to continue to support an increasing number of arts and culture projects that are changing the face of modern Jerusalem. Priority is given to proposals that are original or innovative, bridge social gaps, by providing platforms for populations lacking cultural infrastructure and promote arts and culture in the public sphere. Projects that received funding from the Jerusalem Foundation for three consecutive years are not eligible and enter a two-year waiting period to ensure support to a variety of cultural initiatives.

 

Impact: The Jerusalem Foundation funding makes the Jerusalem culture and arts scene every day more vibrant, with a huge impact on the artistic community and on the city as a whole.

All contributions will be part of the large distribution of funds that supports arts and culture in Jerusalem.

Founded by the Jerusalem Foundation, the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Campus is an international multidisciplinary center of culture and dialogue at the cornerstone of modern Jerusalem. It is home to a range of world-class civil society and cultural institutions that play a vital role in the development of creative culture in the city, in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for 2030. Mishkenot Sha’ananim exposes local writers, artists, scholars and audiences to international influences, while drawing on the unique inspiration of Jerusalem and Israel to influence global discourse and position them as world centers for the arts and intellectual exploration.

 

 

The campus, housed in a restored 19th century compound and commanding breathtaking views of the Old City, hosts world-class institutions that draw distinguished guests from around the world. The Maurice Dwek Residence Retreat and Guesthouse hosted and inspired the Dalai Lama, Paul Auster, Amos Oz, Marc Chagall, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and many more. Other institutions include the Konrad Adenauer Conference Center, the Jerusalem Music Center, the Jerusalem Press Club, the Jerusalem Center for Ethics and the Dwek Gallery. The surrounding grounds form one of the most stunning green open spaces in Jerusalem and house several historical attractions, including the landmark Montefiore Windmill, ancient cisterns and a 1860s guardhouse. The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to ensure vital support for the Mishkenot Sha’ananim campus, institutions and programs to flourish well into the future and to meet the needs of Jerusalem’s most distinguished 21st century guests.

 

Impact: The Mishkenot Sha’ananim campus hosts sites that are visited by thousands each year, contributing to a vibrant cultural scene in Jerusalem to the benefit of all of its citizens as well as international guests.

The Museum for Islamic Art, founded in 1974, is the only one of its kind aiming to provide cultural education and shared learning opportunities for Israel’s Jews and Arabs of all ages. As a dynamic educational and cultural center, it hosts tens of thousands of visitors every year. To improve its facilities as well as its reach and impact, the Jerusalem Foundation is supporting an extensive renovation plan that includes the establishment of a new Shared Learning Education Center. This will expand the museum’s unique shared living educational and enrichment activities, bringing together more Jerusalem residents from different cultural and religious backgrounds. This will strengthen the city’s social fabric, building communal strength for an open and vibrant city that looks forward to 2030 and beyond as envisioned by the Jerusalem Foundation.

 

 

The educational programs based on the art developed in Muslim civilization expose students and teachers to the culture of ‘the other’: its language, norms, rituals and ceremonies. Central to the programs are the values of democracy, equality and freedom of expression versus incitement intending to advance tolerance and acceptance. The renovation will reimagine the interior and exterior of the building and establish an innovative center with over 2,000 books, computer stations and research equipment. The project also includes the addition of a classroom, an activity room and an early childhood activity room. The entrance hall will also be redesigned to host both the reception area and a café.

 

Impact: The new center will significantly enhance the capacity of the education department, enabling an estimated 50% increase in participants within a few years and accommodating a wider variety of programs for Jewish and Arab school children and teachers. The center will become a place for pioneering dialogue and shared living efforts by educators and NGOs in Jerusalem. Here they will be able to meet, be inspired and grow, just as the adults participating in the classes on Islamic art, culture and civilization.

 

Website: www.islamicart.co.il

To ensure a vibrant future for Jerusalem and its diverse residents, the Jerusalem Foundation supports specialized high schools in East Jerusalem. Where 75% of the Arab population lives below the poverty line, nearly 80% of women are unemployed and 45% do not finish high school. Schools of excellence can help reverse these trends and improve communal strength, identified as a key priority in the Jerusalem Foundation’s 2030 roadmap. Novel cultural and educational opportunities for Arab youth, narrow gaps between communities and make Jerusalem a better place for all.

 

Ibda’a Art School: Established in September 2017, is the first middle and high school of its kind in East Jerusalem. Through the arts, pupils can find their way to self-expression, present experiences and learn to productively internalize their reality to grow to be change agents in society. Under its inspirational principal, Milhem Bader, the school is growing, presently serving a total of 142 pupils. In 2019, the school launched four new tracks – plastic arts, music and theatre and cinema. All taught according to the Israeli matriculation system. The Jerusalem Foundation is seeking funds to support the Ibda’a Youth Orchestra, one of the school’s most exciting programs.

Sur Baher Girls’ High School: Located in south-east Jerusalem, it serves 347 girls and is expected to grow to 600 in 2020. To train 21st century students who are scientifically aware, academically trained and technologically savvy, the Jerusalem Foundation is seeking funds to equip the school’s science labs (biology, chemistry, physics and robotics). Sur Baher Girls’ High School will turn into a technological learning hub for East Jerusalem, serving all the schools in the area with a direct impact on more than 2000 girls. The labs will serve as a catalyst to increase the chances of girls getting into university and thus be active agents in the social and economic development of the country.

Need: The ultra-Orthodox population in Israel comprises nearly a million people – 12% of Israel’s population – and is rapidly growing. In Jerusalem alone, there are 110,000 students learning in ultra-Orthodox schools, which represents about two-thirds of all of the Jewish students in the city. This population has consciously separated itself from the rest of society and most children, especially boys, are not exposed to the core curriculum of general studies.

 

Today, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning is considered a basic tool for success in the 21st century. Widening the culture of science among children and youth empowers them by equipping them with the skills needed for their future. Israel is advancing a national policy in STEM education, yet it has not been given voice in the Haredi school system, specifically among boys.

 

At the same time, science and technology is making its way into Haredi society, as long as it is connected to employment. The increasing poverty rate, the need to integrate into the workforce and earn a respectable living to support large families, and the increased drop out rates from Haredi schools all contribute to Haredi society’s willingness to include STEM education in their schools, provided that it does not negatively impact their lifestyle.

 

The Jerusalem Foundation is committed to focusing on the social and educational needs of all of the city’s residents. As part of our vision for 2030, we will support programs which will improve the level of STEM education for ultra-Orthodox boys, thus strengthening the social fabric of Jerusalem.

 

Response: More than a decade ago, the Jerusalem Foundation began to advance informal science and technology education among Haredi boys. Visits to various science institutions and after school activities were designed to expose children to STEM, circumventing Haredi resistance to secular education within the school system. Building on this experience, we now seek to delicately wade into STEM education among boys, exposing Haredi children (particularly boys) to the world of science and technology, both through formal and informal programming. After a one year search process, the Romema neighborhood, located in the center of Jerusalem, was selected to implement a pilot program. The program will develop independent thinking in science and technology; ensure problem based learning (PBL);  and cultivate an understanding on how to use the planets’ natural resources in every way.

 

In the first two years, the Romema pilot will focus on three main axes:

 

  1. Formal education within the Boys Elementary Schools (Talmud Torah): Improve the quality of mathematics, engineering and science that exist today in Talmud Torah system,within the regular school hours, leveraging current activities while upscaling them. This axis includes selecting the appropriate schools, mapping what is available today, training the teachers who can work together with pedagogical staff to upgrade the content, and offer in-school activities.
  2. Community Based Activities: Informal education activities will take place in the local community center and will encompass work with families and girls, including but not limited to early childhood programming, community-wide events for the entire family, development of a center for innovation within the community center, and after school activities.
  3. Infrastructure Building and Measurements of Success: Documenting the process, understanding which activities worked and which did not, developing criteria for success and ensuring that there is sufficient human capital and physical infrastructure to continue to develop the concept.

Partners: Funding and strategic partners include the Cleveland Jewish Federation, the Toronto Federation and the Jerusalem Municipality. The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, a renowned expert in STEM informal education programming, will assist in building formal and informal pedagogical content. A steering committee consisting of the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, and Rabbinical representatives of the Romema community center, will track the development of the project very closely and all stakeholders understand that the work plan will be very flexible and will be adjusted as needed based on the reactions of the community.

 

Impact:

  1. Increased exposure of STEM among Haredi society, particularly boys
  2. Detailed mapping of needs
  3. Capacity building for teachers
  4. Developing detailed measurements of long tem success

 

Evaluation: Social Finance Israel which will be creating a model for long term evaluation of this project.

Jerusalem is a complex city with many challenges. Its diverse residents come from a wide spectrum of cultures and religions, and speak many languages. The Jerusalem Foundation supports the city’s residents to help build a modern, open and vibrant city together. In line with our vision for 2030, we are creating opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue through joint encounters, accessibility programs, and communal initiatives between Jews and Arabs, and between ultra-Orthodox and other Jews.

 

Our programs: Civil society institutions have a vital role to play as a force for change. At the Jerusalem Foundation’s initiative, over 50 non-profit organizations have come together through the Jerusalem Tolerance Coalition and the new Shared Living Hub operating out of our office in Jerusalem.

 

  • The Jerusalem Tolerance Coalition is a joint initiative of the Jerusalem Young Adults Center and the Jerusalem Foundation. It is composed of dozens of organizations, institutions, agencies and initiatives that work to advance shared living. They focus on people of different faiths and orientations, and are seeking to make Jerusalem a city where all groups are included and live together harmoniously. One of their flagship events is the Jerusalemite Day of Diversity (Yom Yerushalmi), a series of events that mark Jerusalem Day by celebrating the diversity of Jerusalem through tours, workshops, film events, discussion circles and performances.
  • The Shared Living Hub is Jerusalem’s first hub for social change organizations and initiatives promoting cross-communal and cross-cultural dialogue in Jerusalem. The Hub acts as a meeting point for the organizations that make up the Jerusalem Tolerance Coalition, empowers them to network and create partnerships, and is home to a number of ‘anchor’ groups who work out of this shared physical space:
    • Kulna Yerushalayim, founded by Arab and Jewish friends from East and West Jerusalem working in partnership to advance grassroots change. One of their flagship events is the Jerusalem Double, a series of backgammon tournaments to bring Jews and Arabs together.
    • Learning Together in Jerusalem, training school principals and teachers from 100 Jewish and Arab Jerusalem schools to develop and promote education toward shared living for thousands of East and West Jerusalem children.
    • The Shared Living Pedagogic Initiative, a pilot program that emerged from the Learning Together program above, providing intensive multicultural teacher training, pedagogic tools, curricula and dialogue techniques, for Jewish and Arab educators teaching children of different cultures, languages, religions and national identities.
    • Jewish Pluralism initiatives: The Tzionei Derech social movement, which is dedicated to creating a strong, vibrant and engaged civil society committed to Judaism, pluralism and democracy; and Kehilat Zion, a pluralistic community of Israeli Jews gathering together to re-dream Jerusalem as a meeting point and inspire Jews and non-Jews through prayer, social justice and study.

 

Other examples of Jerusalem Foundation projects which support and advance shared living in Jerusalem include:

  • The Hapoel Katamon football club, which operates a neighborhood league for Jewish and Arab youth teams, and uses sport as a tool for meaningful encounters and educating children about respect and tolerance.
  • Runners Without Borders, an organization which uses running as a way to connect Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, and as a tool to empower youth and women.
  • The Jewish and Arab Teachers programme places Arab teachers into Jewish schools to teach Arabic, and Jewish teachers into Arab schools to teach Hebrew. The programme exposes schoolchildren to teachers who are native Arabic/Hebrew-speakers and from a different culture to their own teachers.
  • The Multicultural Teacher’s Lounge brings together Arab and Jewish teachers from East and West Jerusalem for a series of 10 in-depth encounters, in which they share their challenges and successes, and exchange ideas through group activities, tours and dialogue workshops.
  • The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education which has enabled Jewish and Arab children to study together since 1998.
  • 0202 provides a new point of view of Jerusalem, through Facebook pages and a dedicated web site, which reach over 110,000 people every week, public discourse from East, West, and Haredi

 

 

Jerusalem is translated into three languages, opening a window for empathy and understanding between Jerusalem’s diverse communities.

  • Language as a Cultural Bridge seeks to advance language studies in both Hebrew and Arabic, for both children and adults, in a number of frameworks.