International Art Collaboration "Dare I Call You Cousin" Features Hand in Hand Students

So What

Students Areen Nashef and Yael Keinan, in front of flags of donor countries. Photo by Michal Fattal
Students Areen Nashef and Yael Keinan, in front of flags of donor countries. Photo by Michal Fattal

Jerusalem's Hand in Hand School is the only organization in Israel working to expand the model of integrated, bilingual schools for Arabs and Jews.

The idea right there in plain sight,
obvious as breathing with a hat on,
though few of their Israeli and
Palestinian neighbors and friends
and cousins could see it, their eyes
cataracted with fear. But for Areen
and Yael in first grade, it was easy.
Teachers filled the classroom with
Arabic and Hebrew, and so what
they had no words yet to talk to each other.
They used their hands, wrapped books
together, ate figs and pomegranates together,
played ball together under the olive trees.
So what if they disagreed and agreed
all the way up the ladder of grades,
they learned each other's languages
and listened, didn't they, heard with their
ears and toes and rows of desks, cluttered
and spattered with their complicated lives.
They spoke, didn't they, they understood,
their arms around each other's waists.
And their words rose with the years,
We don't blame each other for the
adults' mistakes, we are sisters.

- Frances Payne Adler

Thank you to Hand in Hand students Areen Nashef and Yael Keinan for participating in “Dare I Call You Cousin," a meditation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Cousin" is a collaborative art project by three artists: poet Frances Payne Adler, founder of the Creative Writing and Social Action Program at California State University Monterey Bay, who now lives in Portland, Oregon; photographer Michal Fattal, who works for Ha'aretz; and videographer Yossi Yacov, who has been documenting the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements for 20 years. The project is committed to portraying multiple points of view, and to encouraging audiences to participate in dialogue and expand the diversity of voices for peace. It is funded in part by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland, Oregon.

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