Youth Exchange Delegation from Bremen, Germany

Bremen1

The purpose of the youth delegation aged 14 to 18 was to experience the multi-faith dimensions of this land and create relationships with people their own age from Open House.

Visit of Students from Ben Gurion School of Education

visitors2

Students from Be’er Sheva University School of Education visited Open House on March 2nd . They were on an educational tour of Ramle.

Abrahamic gatherings

בין דתי 5

In partnership with Bircat Shalom community in Kibbutz Gezer, led by Rabbi Miri Gold & Neve Shalom Spiritual Center, we have initiated multi-faith gatherings in our respective communities.

Meeting with Palestinian School Students in Beit Hanina

2015-03-16 11.33.14

I wish to share with you a first time experience–talking to hundreds of Palestinian pupils from a school in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian town near Jerusalem with a wall in its heart.

Nonviolent Communication Workshop For Women

group4

Senior Fulbright scholar and director of Middle East Center for Peace, Prof. Paula Rayman, conducted at Open House a workshop in nonviolent communication for Arab and Jewish women…

Summer Peace Camp in the Midst of War

10447836_676786439065877_4057386015268847850_n

At this time, when rockets are falling all over the country from the south and from the north, and the airplanes are on their way to bomb Gaza, we pray and hope that a lasting ceasefire will come into effect immediately. We at Open House feel for both sides, and we pray for both sides. … more »

Celebrating Light

20131210_181657

Celebrating the Light on Human Right’s Day, 10th of Dec, was the initiative of artist Shulamit Ashkenazi. After participating in our Interfaith course for women, Shulamit became quite an activist at Open House.

Women’s Business Workshop & Interfaith Course

nes_amim_women

In the past 3 years Open House has been doing major work empowering women as individuals and in the community.

2013 Summer Peace Camp

solo_camper

The OPEN HOUSE Summer Peace Camp has been running for 22 consecutive years. By now, we have gained a lot of experience about how to melt fear and prejudice, which manifests more strongly the older a person is.

Empowerment of Women

empower4

In the past 3 years Open House has been doing major work empowering women as individuals and in the community. Open House, in co-operation with the Kolech forum of religious Jewish women and the Interfaith Encounter Association…

Masa Masaar – The Journey

10

The Journey is meant to open young Arabs and Jews to the experience and narrative of The Other. As a rule, the young people are exposed only to the narratives and attitudes of their own community. It takes enormous courage, in the Israeli Palestinian context, to bear the pain of what we have done to each other throughout a prolonged conflict. It is natural to become defensive under such circumstances. Listening, acknowledgement, empathy, these are the qualities that we aim to seed in The Journey.

Day for Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC)

dpac

Open House, together with the spiritual center in Neve Shalom held the event on November 18th at the “Alamaria” school in Ramle.

Adam’s Tree

adamstree

This is the first time that such a thing has happened to our Open House community and I wish to share it with you. Adam Hijazi from Neve Shalom died this summer in a car accident together with his father Ahmad Hijazi, the director of the School for Peace in Neve Shalom.

Summer Peace Camp 2012 Summary

camp thumb

This was a truly groundbreaking year for Open House Ramle’s Summer Peace Camp. The camp was based at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam for the fifth year in a row and had 103 total campers: 43 Arab campers and, a record high, 60 Jewish campers.

Greeting for the Jewish New Year

new-year

For this coming year, we extend to you blessings of health and joyful creativity! We wish to share with you, our dear friends, a beautiful letter we received from the parents of Yael, who participated in our summer camp this year for the first time.

Six year olds in our Summer Camp

6yocamper

Here is a clip from our Summer Camp this year from our 6 year olds! The song chosen for this clip is called “Yachad”;–Together – together, heart to heart, we will open new light in the sky..when the heart opens, it embraces the world.. it is not too late, if we believe..

Olive Tree Project

the almost ready sculptures

The Olive Tree Project is a program we had been dreaming about the whole of last year. We wished to work with 2 schools–a Hebrew school and an Arab school which will create olive tree sculptures for each other.

Music in Common

Playing the Oud

On the occasion of The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 of Dec. 2011, we had another concert at Open House with FODfest, Friends of Daniel Pearl Festivel, also called Music in Common.

Day of the Child 2011

SDC12718

November 20 is the Day of the Child, marking the anniversary of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Children. On Friday, November 18, Open House young adults led sessions on children’s rights at the Terra Santa school in Ramle. Here are the words of Bissan Salman, 19, who led the sessions together with Muhammad Kabua, 18, and Vivian Rabia: “First we brainstormed … more »

Workshops for Child Development

Workshops for Child Development

Throughout 2011, there were 9 sessions, held at Open House, designed for Arab women on the topic of the development of the sexuality of children. These topics are pretty much shunned in the Arab community and are a cause for embarrasement. The Muntada Foundation, based in Haifa, has made it its purpose to promote greater … more »

2011 Summer Peace Camp

RDSCF1534

Between July 3rd and 21st, OPEN HOUSE held its annual Summer Peace Camp. As in past years, the principal venue was the mixed Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom/Wahat as-Salam (NS/WAS). There were 83 boys and girls who participated, from 6 to 14 years old. They came from a variety of locations, including Ramle, Lod, Kfar … more »

Dalia speaks on TEDx Jaffa

daliatedxjaffa

Dalia was invited to speak in a TEDx event in Jaffa holding the title, “Desire to know the Other”. The event was held on September the 7th 2011 in the beautiful setting of the East West House and the speakers were Jews and Arabs working for peace. Among the speakers were grass roots, interfaith and community organizers as … more »

Visiting Groups

Christ Church NYC visit 6th Feb 2009 topic Hope

Hundreds of groups have visited OPEN HOUSE in Ramle or asked us to meet with them in Jerusalem. Our presentations include: The story and history of the house, our experience in peace building and perspectives on coexistence.   If you’re planning a trip to Israel and wish to meet with us, you’re welcome to , … more »

The historic visit of the Al-Khayri sisters

alsisters1

Nuha (right) and Khanoum Al-Khayri at Open House In mid January, 1995, we were deeply moved to welcome the Al-Khayri sisters to Open House which was their home before 1948.  Nuha came from Ramallah and Khanoum all the way from Amman. They came to plant an olive tree with us in the yard. It was Tu B’Shvat, … more »

The visit of Shlomo Lahat

Shlomo-Lahat(1)

When Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Shlomo Lahat, came to visit Open House with members of his municipality, our very first summer camp was taking place at Open House, where the children were joyfully engaged in artistic activity around long tables. The warmth and encouragement that he gave us meant a lot to us in our … more »

Postcards for Peace

SDC13606[optimized]

NEVEI KODESH Synagogue members in Boulder Colorado, have taken initiative to help Open House by creating postcards from the art work of our Peace Camp and Nursery School. Members of Nevei Kodesh Congregation are holding a dialogue group with Christian and Muslim Palestinian Americans who together have taken on this project to raise funds for … more »

Day of the Child

bissandayofthechild

Day of the Child Following The Day of the Child on the 20th of November 2010, two volunteers from “The Journey” of previous years, Bissan and Muhammad, initiated activities in two schools, to raise the consciousness in relation to Children’s Rights. They used a poster which visually portrayed the basic rights of children according to international … more »

FODFest Concert at Open House

concert

On the 14th of October 2010, a Concert was held at Open House, offered by FODfest–Friends of Daniel Festival, in memory of Daniel Pearl, the American Jewish journalist murdered by Al-Qaeda. Daniel Pearl believed that music crosses borders and he loved to to play with people from the different communities wherever he traveled. The Itar … more »

2010 Summer Peace Camp

2010summercamp6

The 2010 summer camp of Open House took place between the 4th of July to the 22nd on Neve Shalom grounds with 97 Arab and Jewish children. Participants were gathered from the greater Ramle area including Lod, Neve Shalom, Kibbuts Gezer, Beit Hashmonai, Carmei Yosef, Gizo, Eshtaol, Kfar Uriah Ein Hemed Abu Gosh and Beit Nakuba. … more »

Discussing the war in Gaza

Dear Friends,

I wish to share with you this open, trusting, and rare dialogue, a fruit of our work and training. On the 28th of February 2009, we convened at Open House, a group of young adult Arabs and Jews, with whom we have been working with for some time. Most of these young adults had participated in a Youth Delegation to Padova Italy, in 2007 and were hosted there by the Italian Friends of Open House. We wished to know how they felt during and after the Gaza war. They agreed to share their discussion with you.

by Dalia Landau

Knowing how bitter and defensive Jewish-Arab dialogue can become, we agreed on certain ground rules for our discussion, which I moderated.

Here are some fragments of our sharing:

“On the one hand, I have family in Gaza”, Jacob said, “and on the other hand, I have a friend who is a soldier in the South{of Israel} and the rockets from Gaza fell near his base. I am in pain, I am torn from inside..”

Shay, who is a soldier {and a student} felt that Israel tried to preserve some kind of war ethic under impossible circumstances. “I don’t think that our leaders hate Humanity, hate Arabs.. I think that our leaders were facing very difficult dilemmas..,” he said.

Michal, who as a soldier is a teacher to soldiers, was ashamed to call her Arab friends during the war “what could I say? That the destruction was disproportionate? How could the destruction of the Unrwa schools be in the least justifiable?”

Khader felt that “nothing substantial was acheived–the war did not stop the rockets, Gilad Shalit is not back and more than a thousand people were killed..”

One of our participants was trying to put herself in the place of the leaders of Israel with the primary responsibility of protecting the citizens in the South and facing “a hard core fundamentalist leadership in Hamas” … She asked the others to help her find another way..

“How can we help create a change? Where shall we draw our hope from?” was the question.

Jacob:

“In Ireland there was a very long conflict, much longer than ours.. and after long and challenging negotiations there is peace there, an agreed on peace. There is hope for us too..May be we have a chance to transcend ourselves…”

Khader:

“We need to free ourselves from the prevalent mentality that the use of force is going to create submission and solve our problems. It is not true that we have no other choice. We do have another choice. We can create another situation with words of peace, with words of dialogue, with words that will bring to the opening of the passages to Gaza..

How can we create a change? I say we need to begin with ourselves, with education towards forgiveness, to look the other in the eye as an equal and see through the eyes of the other. I want more people to know about our togetherness. Maybe people like us are a bridge to peace.”

Shay:

“Speaking of education, for many years now we have ignored Humanistic education and put our efforts in technology, computers, physics, weakening our humanistic sensibilities. That is why I am studying International Relations, because i want to be part of the momentum for change”

Kasem:

“Even though I am Palestinian, I wish to make a plea for Israel. This is not natural for me to do but it is the right thing for me to do. I would like our Italian friends to know that when i was in Italy, after our visit to Padova, looking for a medical school to continue my studies{ this was before the Gaza war}, and i said I was israeli, people assumed that meant Jewish Israeli and they were very cold to me, so i was advised to say that I was Palestinian, and then their attitude changed. I did not like that attitude. I remind myself that Israel has very serious existential dilemmas and that there is massive propaganda in the Arab world too.”

Michal:

“How is optimism possible at this time, or at any other time? What is hope going to be based on?

I talk with my Jewish friends. They are not certain where they want to live. Today we cannot take it for granted that people, especially young people, will want to continue living in this country. In order to feel hope, the most important step for me is to decide that i am here. No matter what is happening, I am here. I am part of this. These roots, this is the basis for creating a future here…”

Anna:

“We all know that we are all human beings, yet it is with such ease that in a conflict situation we turn ‘the other’ into an abstraction – a frightening mythological abstraction. This is for me very sad also to see the abstractions that I can create when the person is not right there in front of me..how the split happens in the mind, in the heart…the blindness of humanity, our blindness, my blindness….

How shall I find my hope?..Out of this darkness hope needs to emerge, hope needs to grow from within us, from within me. My hope will grow through action..the kind of action, the kind of interaction we are having here now.”

On rereading this dialogue, I am again amazed at the depth of insight, lack of defensiveness and empathy for each other’s situation. The latter aspect is very unusual in a situation of conflict, let alone war, where each side is pushing to justify its own positions. I was asked what were the ground rules that the participants agreed to respect. We lit a candle in the middle to evoke in ourselves a sense of the sacred, a reminder that our words were a gift entrusted to each other. We agreed to speak subjectively about our own feelings and perceptions and we allowed for a few moments of silence between each other’s words…

Dalia

Jewish-Arab Parents’ Network

The Parents’ Network creates a nucleus of coexistence advocates within the local community by forging friendships between Jewish and Arab residents of Ramle. Fifty adults (sometimes joined by their 35 children) participate in weekend family outings to nature sites around the country, holiday celebrations, and regular meetings at OPEN HOUSE to hear guest speakers and exchange views. One highlight of this year’s activities was the model Seder held before Passover, which afforded many of the Arab parents their first opportunity to share in the experience of a Passover Seder.

International Exchange Programs

youthitaly

Delegations of older OPEN HOUSE teens have traveled abroad over the past several summers, deepening friendships among themselves and fostering connections with their peers abroad.

Nursery School

101

The OPEN HOUSE nursery school provides a ‘head start’ program that strengthens Arab children’s identity and self-confidence. These qualities are essential for children in a minority culture as they grow and seek their place in the wider society. The nursery school offers a variety of stimulating activities fostering educational and social development. Every day the … more »

Young Leaders Training Course

20121215_100647

The greater Ramle environs have a very heterogeneous makeup in which different communities (religious, secular, Ethiopian, Russian, Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs) live parallel lives but rarely meet and interact. The level of dialogue, if at all, is superficial and occasional. Open House sees itself as a neutral location where fruitful dialogue and shared community, based … more »

Summer Peace Camp

activities

The OPEN HOUSE Summer Peace Camp enriches the educational and recreational possibilities for Arab and Jewish children, with about 100 peace campers.