A message from the President of the Jerusalem Foundation

Teddy Park 2

A message from the President of the Jerusalem Foundation, Yohanna Arbib

“Thou shalt not kill!” Is a commandment at the heart and soul of the Jewish religion.  This past week has been a particularly challenging period for the City of Jerusalem, and indeed for all of Israel. Only days after marking Tisha Be'av, where we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, a day where we focus on unity, a series of violent acts have shaken these Jewish values at their core.

We at the Jerusalem Foundation are all deeply saddened by the tragic murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki - a young girl who represented the very best of the next generation of Jerusalemites. Shira believed in an open and tolerant society, she believed in creating a better world -  tikun olam – by starting on her doorstep, in Jerusalem, a tremendous city encompassed by  age-old layers and complexities.

Jerusalem is home to every individual; it is a place where tolerance, acceptance and peace must be held to be sacred values by all. For almost 50 years, the Jerusalem Foundation has worked to promote values of tolerance, equality and mutual respect. Together with our amazing partners, we work to strengthen all the people of Jerusalem, different as they may be, with the conviction of shared common aims: to build strong communities, to raise our children, to share this special city. The Jerusalem Intercultural Center has been leading the charge to fight racism and xenophobia in the public sphere, especially in downtown Jerusalem. We are working together with a number of partners in the formal education system, to inculcate values of democracy, enable teachers to deal effectively with violence and hate in their classrooms, expand the range of populations exposed to such programs, teach children to communicate in the ‘other’s’ language, and more. Outside of school, Foundation-supported programs bring children, youth and adults of different backgrounds together at the Bloomfield Science Museum, Belmonte Youth Laboratories, at the Ein Yael Living Museum, at the Jerusalem International YMCA, on the basketball courts and on the soccer pitch.

In this way, the Jerusalem Foundation will continue in its efforts to advance and deepen the values of tolerance, mutual respect, understanding and unity. May her memory be a blessing and may the family be comforted in Zion.