Friday, November 25th, Galilee Dreamers enthusiastically opened the year with 70 11th and 12th grade teens at Oranim College of Education, with a program led by the Oranim International School. Beginning with small group discussions propelled by a “Wheel of Questions,” 11th and 12th Graders shared a bit about their lives, their hobbies, and why they participate in the group. Since this is the third year of participation for the 12th Graders, the older teens brought their inspiring experiences to the younger teens. Afterwards, we split into two groups by grade level. The orientation to the program included not only the theme for the year and examples of upcoming programs, but also a discussion of how Dreamers speak with each other in person and in our WhatsApp group, so that we can create an atmosphere of respect and acceptance. Following the orientation, the 11th Graders engaged in a discussion about their own identities, illustrating who they are through pictures, songs, memes, and art.
The 12th Graders celebrated Yaara’s and Mahmoud’s birthdays with sweets from Germany. We all sang songs, and everyone wrote birthday blessings in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The teens were then asked to think of projects that they would like to lead in their own communities. After each teen wrote their ideas for social innovation programs on a poster, everyone walked around, read the posters, and added “likes.” Here are some of the ideas that were raised:
Opening an Instagram page to teach historical facts related to the conflict between Jews and Palestinians
Volunteering during the holidays on behalf of needy populations
Collecting clothes for families in the refugee camp in Jenin
Recording a podcast of the topic of shared society
Recording and filming a song that represents the values of the Galilee Dreamers
The excitement generated by this activity caused our friend, teacher and partner, Dr. Malec Hujirat from Bir Al Maksur, to emphasize in Arabic and in Hebrew the importance of volunteering as a great value in both Islam and Judaism. In addition, Malek invited the Galilee Dreamers to participate in the upcoming Volunteer Day in Bir Al Maksur which includes cleaning the Muslim cemetery in the village, meeting with leaders from the Arab community, and a shared meal.
The entire program was especially emotional and filled with love, tolerance and joy. We are one complete family – a family that strives to build a sense of brotherhood/sisterhood, respect, equality, mutual appreciation, and positivity. With the new 11th Graders joining the program and the 12th Graders bringing their deeply meaningful experiences, we left Friday with the feeling that we are on the way towards bringing social change to the Galilee.