Celebrating a Decade

July 2014

The Bridge over the Wadi School in Wadi Ara celebrates a decade together

 A moment of joy, surrounded by sadness, with huge gratitude, happiness and hope. We are about the finish ten years in the Bridge over the Wadi school. The sixth grade students, the seventh graduating class, is on the stage, with excitement buzzing in the crowd of parents, families and teachers.

The end of year sixth grade show is about to begin and I stand near the stage, like many other parents, and try to get a good angle for a photo, to document this exciting moment. I sit, photograph, and peer over the camera at the stage. I look and I can’t believe it’s real: how is it possible that ten years have passed?

I start remembering: the first meeting, the decisions, fear of the unknown, will they open this school on September 1st, 2014? Will the Ministry of Education approve of it? What will it look like? And most importantly: is it a smart decision as a parent to throw my two dear daughters, Afaf and Razan, into the deep end? And what is a Jewish-Arab school exactly, what do you learn there?

In those days, we did not have answers, we had mostly good intentions, hopes and fears.

Ten years later, I can say that as parents, we did not stay outside and sit on the fence. We jumped in the water with our daughters, and slowly realized how warm the water really was, and it embraced us. We got to know families, children, teachers and they became lifelong friends. Together we thought and spoke about our opinions and our stereotypes, and we changed. We grew along with our daughters; we became part of the Bridge over the Wadi family. Today we are Afaf and Razan, Gada and Kotzai from Bridge over the Wadi – we are part of the “bridge” – and the school is a part of us.

In these difficult days, that remind us of the days when the school was beginning, I ask to call on the families, Jews and Arabs, to join our way of life; the way of with solidarity, raising our children in a healthy environment with Jewish and Arab families together. We don’t need to hope that it will happen in the future. Here, in Wadi Ara, in the “Bridge” school, it’s happening now!

By Kotzai, a parent and founder of the Wadi Ara school

 

Kotzai's daughter added something of her own:

I came to the Bridge over the Wadi School when I was seven. I went through nine years full of special experiences – the kind that I would not have had if I was in a different school, a different culture, a different language, or only one kind of friend. When the day came when I had to leave this amazing place, after finishing sixth grade, my heart was heavy and I know that next year, a piece of me will be missing because I am not there.  

At my graduation from school I cried, because I was leaving the place that has taught me everything that I know. Bridge over the Wadi is home. The teachers are like parents, and the children are like siblings. I know that my tears have not stopped, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to go to this school – it is the best thing that ever happened to me.

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