Hand in Hand’s community members are trailblazers, committed to shared living in the face of conflict and societal rifts. They are a growing constituency of thousands of Arabs and Jews, women and men, children and adults. The embody our values—equality, pluralism, multiculturalism—every day, and their collective force is building a microcosm of a shared society in Israel. Our community members are resilient partners in educating our children toward genuine peace. They inspire us, and serve as an example for what is possible in this country.
These communities surround each of our six existing schools—Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Kfar Saba, Wadi Ara, and Galilee—and in areas where we offer alternative shared programming for children and families, as in our two newest communities, Kafr Qasim and Hof HaCarmel.
“You have to create it. It won’t happen by itself.”
-Dafna Kaplan, mother at the Hand in Hand Jaffa Preschool
Ushering in a better future requires that we create a true and equal community. While Hand in Hand is investing in education to build a better future, the burden of affecting real social change in Israel cannot rest on the shoulders of children alone. Each community member is a Hand in Hand ambassador. They stand up for their values and spread our message further in their own families, workplaces, and communities across the country.
Coming together in a conflict zone is not easy, and so we provide programming throughout the year to cultivate friendships, mutual trust, and appreciation. It is crucial that our community members know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to shared living, no matter the circumstances. Throughout the year, our communities enjoy parent-child activities, civic engagement, lectures and workshops, countrywide family gatherings, leadership seminars, facilitated dialogue sessions, language classes, shared holiday celebrations, cultural text study, and the upkeep of community gardens.
Likewise, a dedicated committee of graduate volunteers helps manage Hand in Hand’s vibrant, growing community of young alumni.
Whenever possible, Hand in Hand’s communities come together for countrywide events, including festival celebrations, movie screenings, and staff reunions. Our families and staff form a dedicated, nationwide community of activists. Hand in Hand’s community members are also social activists, and stand up for equality and inclusion in Israel.
For example, during the violent events of May 2021, Hand in Hand helped gather thousands in Jerusalem, the Galilee, Jaffa, Kfar Saba, Haifa, and Kafr Qasim to protest the escalating violence and broadcast a clear message: “Safety and equality for all.” During those frightening weeks, community members expressed an urgent need to connect and break out of the growing fear and suspicion inflaming society around us, even as the events coincided with both Jewish and Muslim holidays. Our community members effectively turned toward one another at a moment of crisis, when it may have felt natural to turn apart. Groups in Haifa, the Galilee, Jaffa, and Kfar Saba, as well as alumni, came together to share very challenging and complex feelings, while also emphasizing the importance of a recommitment to shared society during such difficult times.
A Kfar Saba community member, Guy, shared: “it is so important that we meet right now, and it’s so important for our children to see that, despite everything, we still stand together. We also need to demonstrate to ourselves, as a group, that we remain connected and that nothing can destroy our community.”