Project Harmony 2015 - learning about the other

August 1st, 2015

Project Harmony English language summer camp just finished its sixth summer at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School. Jewish and Arab campers spent four weeks getting to know each other, creating art, theater, and music - and just having fun. Every summer, Project Harmony opens itself up not only to Hand in hand students, but to students from schools around the city as well.

One of those kids this year was Ori, who goes to an all Jewish school in Jerusalem.

His mother, Orli, takes it from here:

How is it that my kids don't like Arabs? I’ve always taught them that we are all equal, but somehow my 11 year old thinks all Arabs are bad - how does that happen?

I sent Ori to Project Harmony this summer because I thought it would be good for him. He was scared at the beginning, but the staff at camp was warm and supportive, and he opened up and started playing sports with the other kids. After a few weeks in camp, he came home and told me: “you know what, Ima, you were right. My Arab friends are really cool, and I can learn from them, maybe they can come over?” That was everything for me. I know change doesn't happen overnight, but this was a start. I told him that my granparents and my father spoke Arabic, and as an Iraqi Jew, the language is part of our heritage too. You can’t judge people by their religion or ethnicity. Being part of Hand in Hand is about really understanding and living the equality I believe in.

 

Ori with his new friends at the pool

 

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