The Train to a Better Future

Light Rail Stations To Display Images of Arab and Israeli

Teachers Living Together in Harmony 

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A new exhibition will be displayed at Jerusalem light rail stations around the city, starting next week. The initiative, titled "Teachers Room - in Memory of Shira Banki" created by students at Hebrew Union College is supported by the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Arison Foundation, amongst others.  The exhibition aims to promote tolerance in the city and the posters, ten in total, have been placed at ten light rail stations around east and west Jerusalem neighborhoods.

 The posters illustrate meetings between Jewish and Arab teachers who work in Jerusalem at various landmarks in the city - teachers wandering through the Mahaneh Yehuda market, listening to explanations at the Damascus Gate, watching the landscape from the promenade at Armon Hanatziv. The project shows that despite religion and race, it is possible to live together in harmony. 

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"Unfortunately, due to the complicated structure of Jerusalem, it is easy to live without knowing our neighbors," explains Prof. Michal Muskat-Barkan, Director of Education at the Jerusalem Institute for Jewish Studies who initiated and led the ‘Teacher’s Lounge’ program. "We want to make sure that Arab and Jewish teachers in Jerusalem have the opportunity to meet and get to know each other. Teachers educate our children in schools throughout the city - east and west – every day, and to me, they are the cultural heroes of this city and the hope of the young generation. The idea behind the exhibition displayed at light rail stations all over the city was to present the teachers and share some of their experiences with the public. These teachers were ready for the journey, to explore their fears, prejudices and stigmas and to understand the reality of their colleagues whom they would otherwise have never met.”

 The Teachers' Room Program - in memory of the late Shira Banki, which has been active for five years, works to create a dialogue between teachers and educators from different communities all over Jerusalem. The program has become an important educational project in Jerusalem, creating an active community of teachers working together in joint projects.

 "Teachers are agents of change," adds Dr. Udi Spiegel, Director of Shared Living and Education programs at the Jerusalem Foundation, which has been supporting the program since its inception: "Hundreds of teachers have been talking to their colleagues from ‘the other side’, and through their exposure on posters all over the city have shown courage. I sincerely hope that the images of Arab and Jewish teachers, secular and religious, working together, will increase tolerance and reduce the hostility between those communities in Jerusalem."

To read coverage from Yediyot Yerushalayim in Hebrew click here