Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

Sadly this is the fifth week since war began and the initiatives TalkMatters supports are finding it hard to function in the same way as before.  Many of the organisers have been in touch and say that people are in shock, that they do not want to leave their homes, and that an atmosphere of fear pervades.
Nevertheless the inspirational leaders of these initiatives are determined to keep going and will not give up on the Israeli-Palestinian partnerships made over many years. They are trying to work out what they should do, how, and when.
Today we are sending you an up-date from three of the our Associates with a focus on Education. Sipur-Hikaya (Hebrew and Arabic for ‘Story’), The Teachers’ Lounge and Hand in Hand Schools all provide programmes that enable Palestinians and Israelis – young and old – to study and work together. 

Abrahamic Reunion’s prayer vigil

The Abrahamic Reunion are continuing their vigil.  If you would like to express solidarity, togetherness and hurt without a political opinion this is the place to do it.  Details below

Update from Sipur-Hikaya

Sipur-Hikaya (Hebrew and Arabic for ‘Story’) teaches the two sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the recently published book “Side by Side – Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine’’. The dual narrative approach is studied in pre-military preparatory courses, schools and universities.

TalkMatters exchanged emails with Sefi Donner at Sipur-Hikaya in the last few days, and he sadly told us that schools are not willing to study the dual narrative right now.

We hope that the situation on the ground improves sufficiently, and soon, so that they can continue their work.

Sipur-Hikaya is featured in our Directory, has its own website

Update from The Teachers’ Lounge

The Teachers’ Lounge creates an inclusive, respectful and multicultural meeting space for groups of Jewish and Arab teachers operating in Jerusalem, Ramla, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the Western Galilee. The programme  brings together teachers for a series of ten sessions. As part of the programme, the teachers visit each other’s schools and homes, and tour their respective neighborhoods, streets and markets.

This is not happening right now.  Meir Berman says “we are still trying to understand what we should do, how and when” and we look forward to an update once they are able to give one.

The Teachers’ Lounge is featured in our Directory, has its own website. Back in August 2022, TalkMatters and The Teachers’ Lounge met online for a webinar – you can see a recording of it here.

Update from Hand in Hand Schools

Hand in Hand Schools provide an alternative to the current reality by educating children from the earliest age to value inclusion and equality. Our network of six bilingual, integrated schools reaches over 2,000 students from diverse communities across the country, with hundreds more families on waiting lists; and our six integrated, bilingual communities engage some 10,000 Arabs and Jews around the country in promoting equality.

As the war continues, Hand in Hand is doing everything we can to preserve and nourish our communities, partnerships, and friendships.

We’re relieved that all of our schools have now been able to resume in-person learning, making it much easier to reinforce these connections and really feel that visceral reminder of why Hand in Hand values are so important.

Our spaces are different than many others in Israel right now. Stepping into our ‘islands of peace’ each day only reinforces how precious every Hand in Hand classroom, teachers’ room, and community gathering is during this dark time.

Here are highlights from the past few days, with stories about complex conversations that give us hope, doing good for folks in need, and turning an awful moment around:

This video captures the experience of sheltering inside a safe room at HIH Jerusalem while a siren goes off outside.  The story is shared by a parent, who was on campus to pick up her son as the school bell morphed into a warning siren.

As the stress peaks, two teachers make something magical happen, and a moment of fear becomes a beacon of hope. Watch and listen to the end–you won’t be disappointed!

Hand in Hand Schools are featured in our Directory, and has their own website.  There are details on this page of their website which show how you can donate to help support their work.

Abrahamic Reunion’s prayer vigil

The Abrahamic Reunion recognizes that creating understanding and empathy between diverse faith communities is fundamental to developing multicultural acceptance, constructive cooperation and peaceful coexistence.

11:00 EDT (16:00 BST London time)

Multi-faith ~ All Welcome
Prayers for the peace & safety for all people in the Holy Land

Prayers are needed and the community of peace that is being built on these vigils is growing, providing important compassionate middle ground amidst so much horrible and heightened conflict. All welcome. Leaders from different faiths at each program. Please join in compassionate peacebuilding community together to support the Holy Land, the peacemakers, each other, ourselves, and the world. 

Peace ~ Salam ~ Shalom

You can join the prayer vigils at 16:00 UK time every day via Zoom. The Abrahamic Reunion is featured in our Directory, has its own website and joined TalkMatters for a webinar in November 2021.  Information on supporting their work with donations is here

Please pass on this information to your friends and colleagues. 

Please talk about the human stories that we share with you.  In the horrendous circumstances we all find ourselves, TalkMatters continues to introduce the UK public to the people who refuse to see one another as enemies.  We believe in supporting the grass-roots work in Israel and Palestine and we know that it is only by working together with you – our UK supporters – and with our Israeli-Palestinian Associates that we can ever walk another path.  A path that leads to a future of peace, justice and equality. 

Please join me at the Philip Reuff lecture 

If you are in London on Thursday 30 November, please join me at the 14th Rueff lecture hosted by our Associate, Oasis of Peace UK.  Rob Rinder MBE will speak on  “A holy Land for Us All’.  This is hugely relevant and I’m sure will be interesting and thought-provoking to all.  More details here. 

Thank you for your support.

Here’s to an end to these dark, disturbing days,

Jenny Nemko and the TalkMatters Team