COFOUNDERS: Amin Khalaf and Lee Gordon

These two activists — one Arab, one Jewish — joined creative forces in 1997 to form Hand in Hand.

Amin Khalaf served as  Hand in Hand's executive director in Israel from 1997 to 2011. Under his leadership, Hand in Hand gained recognition within Israeli's education system and grew into a network of schools with almost 1,000 students. Amin  has taught in both Arab and Jewish public schools throughout Jerusalem and has lectured at the David Yellin College of Education. He has been intensely involved in national coexistence projects, including facilitating a Jewish-Arab dialogue group.  He earned his BA and MA in Islamic and Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he also received his MBA in executive integrated management in 2010. A native of the Arab village Muqibla in northern Israel, Amin now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children, all of whom attend Hand in Hand's Max Rayne Jerusalem School.  Read profile of Amin.

Lee Gordon is executive director of American Friends of Hand in Hand. He lived in Israel for two decades, where he was actively involved in Jewish-Arab dialogue. Originally from the United States, Lee earned an M.A. in social work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and graduated from the Mandel Institute's prestigious School for Educational Leadership. Lee is a veteran social activist and community organizer, having worked and volunteered for numerous educational and community organizations. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three children, where he builds a network of international support for Hand in Hand. Read Lee's recollection of Hand in Hand's early days.

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