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Activities Abstract

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Activities Abstract:

1. Jewish and Arab Communities rebuilding their Environment Project:

This project is a professional collaboration of Ossim Shalom with ICfC, the International Center for conciliation based in Boston US. The project is based on the Historical Conciliation inter-group conflict conciliation model that was developed by ICfC.

In this project we work with mixed Jewish – Arab communities nation wide that share protracted historical conflict, aiming to change their social environment.This is another Ossim Shalom project that is implemented by our trained professional facilitator

Ossim Shalom believe that when painful memories are dealt with, and a deep understanding of empathy for the “other” takes place, communities can transcend generations of hostility, work towards building peace, and create a social environment that is conducive for a civil harmonious society. Thus we work with groups that share a protracted history of conflict and in which the early signs of volatility might give expression not only to current issues but to conflicts that transpired at specified and unspecified times.

The goal of Historical Conciliation is to use face to face contact to produce empathy and understanding instead of hatred and anger, which in turn make space for redefined relationship and more cooperative behavior. To tame the power of the past not through repression nor by agreeing to stop thinking about the past, but to seek elusive dimensions of parallel histories preserved in those memories that can lead to reciprocal acknowledgment, rather than perpetuating the resentment and risking the occasions of volatility and violence. The end product of the group mutual activities is to develop mutual projects to rebuild their social environment.

  

2. Annual conference: Ossim Shalomisconducting annual conferences that are dealing with professional dilemmas connected to the social diversities and cleavages in the Israeli society and social problems, including the outcomes of the deterioration of the Israeli welfare state. 2. Training Arab and Jewish social workers as change agents in their highly diverse communities: Workshops for Jewish and Arab social workers, in small mixed groups. The purpose is to train them as change agents in their communities. The aim is to develop skilled cadres of professionals who are able to develop grassroots democratic leadership, thus reducing biases and xenophobic behaviour, developing tolerance and reducing inter- and intra- group conflicts. Till now we have trained about 200 change agents nation wide. Jewish and Arab professionals members of Ossim Shalom are facilitating those workshops. This model was special developed for social workers by members of Ossim Shalom.

 

3. Training Arab and Jewish social workers as change agents in their highly diverse communities: Workshops for Jewish and Arab social workers, in small mixed groups. The purpose is to train them as change agents in their communities. The aim is to develop skilled cadres of professionals who are able to develop

grassroots democratic leadership, thus reducing biases and xenophobic behaviour, developing tolerance and reducing inter- and intra- group conflicts. Till now we have trained about 200 change agents nation wide. Jewish and Arab professionals members of Ossim Shalom are facilitating those workshops. This model was special developed for social workers by members of Ossim Shalom.

 

4. Facilitators' course: Training Arab and Jewish change agents, veterans of the above program, as professional facilitators aiming to develop a cadre of professional facilitators able to work with groups in conflict in a highly diverse and conflictual social environment. The course was developed by members of Ossim Shalom and has gained academic recognition in the advanced studies program at Bar Ilan University School of Social Work. Graduates of this course are facilitating various workshops and projects as the above mentioned change agents' skills workshop. Till now we have trained about 70facilitators.The course teachers and facilitators are Jewish and Arab social workers, members of Ossim Shalom. Ossim Shalom has also received for this project the year 2000 Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) chairperson's award "For the Promotion of Dialogue, Tolerance and Coexistence between Jews and Arabs”.

 

5. Building mutual professional leadership – joint project with Palestinian Social Workers: This project of Palestinians (non Israeli) and Israeli, Jewish and Arab, Social Workers was aimed to develop mutual professional leadership. The project, which was initiated, planned and implemented by Palestinian N.G.O and Ossim Shalom, included 3 elements: the first one was series of five regional workshops in the West Bank and Gaze, where Israeli and Palestinians social workers learn about their personal and professional environment. The second element, which was planned by the Steering Committee in accordance with the recommendation of the workshops' participants, comprises three mutual courses: policy making and community development that will run simultaneously, and additional course in professional supervision. The third element was comprised of regional courses for the Palestinian social workers in child abuse, women abuse and old age. The project was ended by the outbreak of second Intifada in Oct. 2000, while planning the supervision course. The satisfactory rate of the first two courses was very high.

 

6. Inter-agency activities and workshops: Mutual cooperation between Jewish & Arab municipal social welfare agencies: the purpose was to acquire new knowledge, develop peer learning, and inter–community local citizens' projects. The project was implemented in 10 municipal social agencies by a veteran of Ossim Shalom facilitator's course. In a conference on behalf of this project, hosted by the Jewish–Arab Centre and the School of Social Work at Haifa University, participants in this project – social workers and members of the communities- described the changes that they were undergoing due to this project. The project facilitator/director was supervising Tel Hai College School of Social Work similar projects in Jewish and Arab municipal social services. This programme is part of long and fruitful collaboration between Ossim Shalom and the Tel Hai College School of Social Work.

 

7. Professional collaboration between Hebrew University and Al-Quds UniversitySchools of Social Work: The program is a one-year extra-curricular seminar that brings together Jewish and Arab students and faculty of social work to teach and learn about the ‘other' and the "otherness” at the essential level of their professional studies. These are highly divers groups, in which the participants have no other opportunity to meet or to have an open dialogue on either personal or professional level. We aim to equip social work students with the knowledge, skills and tools to work in diverse social environments, to reinforce the values of respect for all human beings, human rights and cooperation among all social workers. The seminar is conducted by a Jewish and an Arab facilitator. The project was initiated and planned by Ossim Shalom, and is coordinated by the three partners (Hebrew University, Al-QudsUniversityand Ossim Shalom). Ossim Shalom gained for this project the Jerusalem Fund award for "the Promotion of Tolerance and Democratic Values” of the year 2003.

 

8. Workshop on human rights and combating stereotypesin the police force.

 

9. Training of Arab and Jewish policemen in communitypolicing,human rights and combating stereotypes in highly divers communities: Training Jewish and Arab community policemen positioned in Bedouin community that have unique cultural and behavioral patterns, and in Jewish highly divers towns.

The program was aimed to:

Help them develop a professional identity, which will better enable them to carry out their professional duties;

Help to develop understanding, patience and tolerance while dealings with people of diverse and different cultures, to diminish unnecessary clashes with the local population;

Enhance the ability of local police to act as conveners, building bridges and acting as role models to reduce violence in the community;

Enhance police ability to build, present and implement community projects.

 

10. Cinematheque: Ossim Shalom is holding regular activities in the Jerusalem Cinematheque for over 15 years. Activities consist of the screening of films which deal with social issues such as attitudes towards foreign workers; the "other” and the "different”; peace and war; women's status in various societies; social and political conflicts; etc. The films are accompanied by a lecture given by a renowned expert, usually from academia. These activities are open to the general public as well as to Ossim Shalom members. Similar activities were held in other cities as well.

 

 

11. Arab community's empowerment: As a result of our continuous activities, and from reports of our members, it was clear that there is a lack of community volunteering networks in Arab communities, in particular due to the shortage of community workers. We have thus begun developing culturally-sensitive programmes to meet the needs of these communities. The main purposes of these programmes are:

To bring community social services in Arab localities up to par with those offered in Jewish localities;

To bring together activists with particular skills that will form the nucleus of a network of volunteers in the Arab communities;

To develop joint activities of social workers and residents, together with local organizations, to realize residents' rights and reduce social diversity.

 

12. Dialogue groups: Ossim Shalom members, mainly graduates of the facilitators' course, maintain a number of regional long-term dialogue groups, with mixed Jewish-Arab participation. These activities are a response to the professional and social needs of our members, as well as a platform for suggesting new ideas for projects. These groups are gaining additional meaning in times of local war, when the diversity within the organisation is growing and our members use these dialogues to reduce tension.

 

13. Games Centre: game-playing activities with families, children and parents, in their homes, with the purpose to improve dialogue and reduce family violence. This programme has been operative for a number of years in a Jewish – Arab Community Centre in Jerusalem, with mixed population. The instructors were volunteers, many of them social work students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who received professional instruction from an experienced Ossim Shalom social worker. Each volunteer works with a family for six months, demonstrating the game as an alternative mode of family dialogue. The social services reported a definite improvement in patterns of family interaction, a reduction in the levels of family violence, as was reported by the families themselves. A similar program is operating with a group of Jewish and Arab families in a community centre in Tel Aviv. It is lead by three members of Ossim Shalom

 

14. The Ossim Shalom Journal: Ossim Shalom is publishing three journals a year which are sent to all members. The journal acts as a platform for the discussion of professional dilemmas and members' ideas and points of views, as well as presenting reports of the organization's activities.

 

15. Post-Trauma workshop: Mutual learning and training program for Palestinian from Gaza and for Israeli students and professionals social workers in post-trauma treatment. The training was aimed to develop sound knowledge and skills in post-trauma treatment and to combine it with mutual understanding of the problems of both sides of the conflict.

 

 

16. Post-Trauma workshop in the north of Israel: Mutual learning and implementing knowledge and skills program in post-trauma treatment for Israeli and Arab social workers in the north of Israel. The aim was to open Arab - Israeli post-trauma centre in the north of Israel that suffers from the last Lebanon warTo bring community social services in Arab localities up to par with those offered in Jewish localities;

To bring together activists with particular skills that will form the nucleus of a network of volunteers in the Arab communities;

To develop joint activities of social workers and residents, together with local organizations, to realize residents' rights and reduce social diversity.

 

17. Alliance school for deaf children: Ossim Shalom and the Alliance Special EducationSchool for Deaf Children in Jerusalem developed a joint project to deal with highly diversed school's staff. As a result of the local political situation the staffs tends to relate every conflict to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. This situation has negative effects on the school's daily activities. The program's main goals are:

To reduce the inter-staff conflicts caused by the social, cultural and political diversity among the inter-disciplinary school staff.

To equip the staff with knowledge and skills to deal affectively with local conflicts.

To develop school staffs ability to open dialogue in order to increase their ability to act professionally in their diverse environments, and the acceptance of the "other” and the "different”,and consequently to decrease the in-school staff conflicts.

The program, which was planned together with the School, was intended for the duration of three to four years, and will comprise of 5 workshops to allow the participation of all staff members. Every workshop will include 2 weekend retreats – one in the beginning of the program to start the process, and one at the end, with an option for additional one according to the process evaluation, plus about 20 meetings, 3 hour each. The first workshop has started in the beginning of this (2009 – 2010) school year. Ossim Shalom facilitators, veterans of our courses are facilitating these workshops.

All these activities should have positive effect on the school's functions.

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