Community Initiatives

Community Initiatives

Shira Katz Winker, Gesharim Leadership Course Fellow 2014

“Jerusalem Mix”

The project involves meetings of Haredi and secular women in the Nachlaot section of Jerusalem, seeking a common language and leading to working within the neighborhood.  Nachlaot is a mixed neighborhood in Jerusalem which includes a young secular and religious population along with Haredi communities.  Tensions exist between the communities as well as apathy and sense of being apart.  The project brought together varied groups of women who differed both in age and sector affiliation for a series of meetings, and from the outset discussions focused on ways to effect change.

Ronit Cohen Gluzberg, Gesharim Leadership Course Fellow 2015

“Neighbors Neighbors”

The “Neighbors Neighbors” project created a mechanism for community dialogue for the residents of the French Hill and Ramat Eshkol neighborhoods in Jerusalem who are experiencing demographic change with the addition of a Haredi population into their respective neighborhoods.  The meetings take place once a month and their purpose is to change the tone of the neighborhood dialogue from one of struggle to one of outreach, understanding, and creating consensus in order to enable the different communities to live side by side in one neighborhood without strife.   Ronit set up a steering committee which is made up of organization representatives and community heads active in the neighborhoods in order to create an appropriate model for the integration of people in the community.  The hope is that in the future the model will serve other neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in Israel to support a multicultural and pluralistic fabric of life.

Uri Eynan and Yisrael Tik, Gesharim Leadership Course Fellows 2015

The project will involve a series of acquaintance meetings for a group of Haredi and secular participants.  The discussion will include differences and similarities in the areas of Shabbat, education, child-rearing, livelihood and employment, military service, and more.  The project was created from the belief that outreach and personal contact is the way to shatter the fears and stigmas between the different sectors.  The first session is slated to take place in March 2016.

Zeev Kashash, Gesharim Leadership Course Fellow 2015

“Rescuing in Unity” is a series of challenging and fascinating sessions for “United Hatzala” volunteers in their various branches around the country.  The purpose of the meetings is to strengthen the bond and the social contact between the volunteers by means of dialogue moderated by Gesher.  This unusual meeting between volunteers from all sectors of the community who all work together in rescue services, invites the crews to open up issues and share common challenges.  Frank discussion strengthens relationships and mutual respect and improves the mutual familiarity and respect.

Avraham Hayun, Gesharim Leadership Course Fellow 2015

During the week of Yom Haatzmaut 2016, hundreds of young people active in SAHISpecial Hesed Unit—in Jerusalem, distributed flowers to passersby from different origins in the center of the city.  Each youngster gave two flowers to a person plus a card which had the following text: “Don’t’ forget that I am your brother—Independence with meaning,” and requested that one of the flowers be given to another person, different from the recipient.

The purpose is to recognize the other and to respect those from the broader populace in Jerusalem and throughout the country, and increasing the feeling of unity among the people while promoting tolerance and acceptance of the other.  The result was that the center city was full of smiling people of all backgrounds who gave 3500 flowers to one another, an opportunity to remind everyone that all of us are part of one people celebrating independence.