This, from Ira Kerem, about yesterday's post. I thought I should simply run it in full.
Thanks for writing this. There is one major and one minor detail that I would change in your article. The first is that I told you that Jewish parents might be taking their children out because of a fear of inter-dating but I said that this was speculation and that there were many other stated reasons and not just one possible reason. The reasons that the students and parents have told us include: a very small social network in each class which makes it difficult for kids who wish to cultivate many friendships or those who might have trouble finding other kids with whom they feel really comfortable; a lack of “major” specialty subjects which big schools can offer their students; no record yet that the kids do well in the all important matriculation exams since they have only had one and that in English until now, and the very wide choice of specialized high schools in the Jewish sector offering outstanding programs in music, art, science, academics, etc. which entice many parents and students. My speculation does not deserve to be the only reason given why Jewish pupils drop out of our school.
The second item is that I work for Hand in Hand, the non-profit organization that runs a network of four bilingual, multicultural, Arab-Jewish integrated schools on the basis of equality and mutual understanding and respect. I do not work for only the Jerusalem school. We have over 900 students in our four schools and we are working to open a new school next year in Haifa. We would like to offer parents a choice where their children can learn that the “other” does not have to be considered the enemy and in fact can become a “friend”, where the culture and the language of the “other” can be understood and appreciated, and even where one side does not have to force its view on the other side. The schools are created because enough parents believe in this vision and enough individuals, foundations, federations, synagogues, churches, organizations, and governments from Israel and abroad can share this vision. We welcome any support that your readers might offer.
All the best,
Also, the following came in from 'Hand in Hand' Executive Director, Sam Shube:
Just writing compliment you on your thoughtful blog entry on Hand in Hand. I've been CEO of the organization for close to two years. It's a job that never stops forcing me to rethink my assumptions about Israeli society. I also thought you might want to take a look at my own blog, of which several entries are about Hand in Hand.
Specifically, "Couscous on Tuesdays" June 15 2009
"From Qufr Qara to Meah Shearim on Holocause Day" April 22 2009
"From Jaffa to Jerusalem on Israel's 60th" May 2008
Hand in Hand