Hand In Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel

Building a Shared Society: Integrated Arab & Jewish Schools in Israel
Please join us on Sunday, April 8, 3:00 p.m., at St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church/Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard St., Ann Arbor, to learn how Hand in Hand is creating a strong, inclusive society in Israel through a network of Jewish-Arab integrated bilingual schools and organized communities.  We will hear from Alma Saporta and Vicky Makhoul, two Hand in Hand graduates and also Noa Yammer, Hand in Hand’s Director of Communications.  This special event is sponsored by the Michigan Friends of Hand in Hand.  In these challenging times, Hand in Hand stands out like a beacon of sanity and hope.

Vicky Makhoul and Alma Saporta met when they were in first grade together in 2005.  They have stayed friends since then and are both interested in art, science, and social change.  They graduated from the Hand in Hand high school in Jerusalem in 2017, and are taking a gap year to volunteer before their next steps.  Vicky is volunteering as an EMT on an ambulance, as part of the first Jewish-Arab joint ambulance crew, helping to give medical access to Arab residents of East Jerusalem.  Alma is volunteering in the Knesset and has started her own project called the “Social Network Studio.”  Next Alma plans to do National Service and Vicky plans to attend University.
Noa Yammer is an American-born educator, activist, and musician who has been living in Jerusalem since 2003.  Noa leads the International Engagement and Communications at Hand in Hand, sharing the Hand in Hand story with thousands of supporters in Israel and around the world in visits, workshops, and online.  She is also the Youth Program Director at Heartbeat, a music dialogue organization for Israeli and Palestinian youth.
Hand in Hand (handinhandk12.org) brings together thousands of Jews and Arabs in six schools and communities throughout Israel.  Hand in Hand public schools build friendship and cultural understanding.  The students learn both Hebrew and Arabic from teachers speaking their native tongues.  Differences in culture, religion and historical viewpoint are discussed openly.  When Arab and Jewish children learn together, they break the cycle of negative stereotypes and learn to relate to one another with mutual understanding and respect.  Hand in Hand’s extraordinary model provides a clear and simple example that Jews and Arabs can study, work, and live together in peace.
Three years ago, Lee Gordon, co-founder of Hand in Hand visited Ann Arbor for a weekend of talks and programs.  Following his visit, a number of people, inspired by Lee’s 2015 presentations, joined together to form Michigan Friends of Hand in Hand, an Ann Arbor-based interfaith group committed to raising awareness of this Israel-based school system.  To learn more about this new group, send a message to: [email protected]com.  
This public program is co-sponsored by Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Beth Israel Social Action Committee, First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth Emeth Social Action Committee, UM Hillel, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and Zeitouna.
Building a Shared Society: Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel is at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Temple Beth Emeth and St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church, 2309 Packard.  Following the program, there will be a reception.  Call Don Redding, 734-276-8426 for more information.
Mark your calendar and plan to attend. You will be inspired and enthused by meeting and hearing Noa, Vicky and Alma!