Jerusalem School Response to Violence

November 10th, 2014 

A note from the middle and highschool educators at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School: 

Dear Parents and friends, 

During these upsetting days of violence and tension in the city, we work harder than ever to deepen our discourse on values of tolerance and peace. Last week, we saw anti-Arab graffiti on the walls of our school, and the discourse around tolerance and the danger of violent acts deepened, and we began to understand how our contact with differences can enrich and empower us...

We thought that the best way to end this week was with a shared march of the middle and high school classes in the Pat neighborhood, Beit Tzafafa and Katamonim. Our mission was to project a voice of peace among the voices of violence that are so loud; to call for a life of partnership and equality. The march was uplifting for the students, and filled them with courage, hope and faith in our path.  

We hope to turn this march into a weekly tradition – for students and teachers to walk together, week after week, each time focusing on a different value. This week we focused on partnership. We explained to the students that their shared lives in the school are not to be taken for granted, and do not exist yet in Israel at large, even if it feels so natural in their eyes.  

We also made space for students to speak about current events, openly and respectfully. We gave students space to ask questions and speak about their personal experiences and feelings about what is happening around them.

We will finish with the hope that our efforts will bear fruit, that these values will be instilled in all of us, and that these voices will be louder than the voices of animosity. We wish everybody days of quiet and peace.

Yours,

Arik Sporta [High School Principal], Widad Naoum [Vice Principal], and Dafna Garfinkel [Middle School Administrator and teacher]

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