Letter From Rachel
At a time of war and growing mistrust among the diverse populations that share the Galilee, how does one nurture hope and understanding?
Together with my colleagues, we are moving ahead with our mission despite the many challenges that confront us. We begin by meeting with those students within each school who are open to working with the other. We create a safe space where the students can share their concerns and their dreams for the future.
Armed with this information, the facilitators can move to stage two-planning intergroup activities with a sensitivity to each student’s sense of security. In this phase of our programming, we carefully pair Jewish and Arab schools, and through group activities, the students get to know each other as human beings worthy of their friendship, and not as the fulfillment of the stereotypes that they have learned from the street. They share and learn together. Unless you are here, you cannot begin to appreciate how beautiful this is!
As the director, I travel throughout Northern Israel, engaging with our schools, principals, teachers and students. I am particularly cognizant of those students whose families have been evacuated from along the Lebanese border. I want to ensure that they, too, can participate fully in our programming.
Here is an example of the work that we are doing. In many schools, the students are learning Hebrew and Arabic together, as well as improving their English skills. One of our goals is that the students hear about the experiences of the other during wartime, and another is that they learn about the other’s culture. If necessary, the facilitators help navigate different points of view. Students learn that friends can have different points of view and remain friends.
Starting in March, we will facilitate online meetings connecting Galilee Dreamers in Israel with our friends and communities around the world. This cross-cultural exchange promises to enrich the experiences of our students and broaden their global perspectives. As we navigate these exciting developments, the GD community remains committed to nurturing unity, understanding and a shared vison for a brighter tomorrow.
Thank you, dear friends, for joining us on this journey!
Dr. Rachel Ravsin-Ravid
Director, Galilee Dreamers