Walking in Jaffa's Shoes

by Sadaka-Reut Arab Jewish Youth Partnership
Walking in Jaffa's Shoes

Since the start of 2022, we have completed our Tours Facilitation Training Course, in which seven local Palestininan and Jewish Israelis were trained to facilitate Sadaka-Reut's alternative tour of Jaffa.

Over the years, through Sadaka-Reut’s nearly four decades of educational shared society work with dialogue groups, we developed a socio-historical tour of Jaffa that tells the once vibrant Palestinian port city’s unheard story, one that goes beyond Jaffa as merely a suburb of Tel-Aviv or an appealing tourist attraction. Through the tour we reveal the complexities - and thus the opportunities - that color the lives of the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Jaffa, and in mixed cities in general. Ignoring these complexities continues and strengthens their existence, whereas directly engaging with them is a necessary step in order to create opportunities for shared living. After the events of May, we have been blown away by the number of requests we have received to give tours to Palestinian and Jewish schools, local community centers, international gap-year programs, and other interested parties. At the moment, we do not have the capacity to give tours to all who want, nor are we able to offer tours free of charge, thereby limiting the communities and individuals who can participate. 

Through our facilitation training, we created space for our bi-national group participants to develop skills for joint bi-national work, practical facilitation tools, and knowledge they can share with their local Jaffan communities as well as communities outside of Jaffa. The course took place over three months and had 12 sessions, including dialogue groups and historical analysis, practical facilitation experience, and lectures from local experts (residents, activists, and academics) so that the participants will be equipped, in turn, to run tours in Jaffa to different groups from a place of deep familiarity with the city’s historical context. Because of this project, we have already been able to serve a larger population by running several times the number of tours we are currently been able to. 

During the month of April, we took part in a local initiative aimed at ending the housing crisis in Jaffa, which currently has over 500 families that are set to be evicted from their homes. As part of this initiative, both old and new facilitators lead local tours for Jewish Israelis, in order to raise awareness and knowledge surrounding the historical and current circumstances that have lead to the housing crisis. Thus far, over 100 locals have undergone our tour of Jaffa as part of this initiative.

It is because of your support that locals have been empowered to tell their personal and family stories, and to bring their experiences to others. We thank you dearly and hope you will continue to support this important project!

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Dear partners,

This past year has been a challenging one for us all, yet as we look back and reflect, we are proud of the work we were able to do in our Tours Department. 

Thanks to your support, in 2021, 323 people participated in our open tours of Jaffa. Our participants included local schools and youth centers, university students, tour groups, and many more. 

In light of the events of the past year, particularly surrounding the violence we saw around the country in cities like Jaffa, we believe our alternative tour is more important now than ever. In the words of one Palestinian tour participant, ""I learned that you cannot simply let go of the past and turn a new page. Because history repeats itself all the time and we must recognize and address the wrongdoings of the past and work to mend them if we want to be able to move forward."

Now, looking ahead to 2022, we are about to begin our Tour Facilitators Training Program. In the program, both Palestinian and Jewish locals will learn how to run our alternative tour in an intensive 6-week course that will consist of classes with academics and local activists, as well as a practicum in which the participants will themselves build and lead a tour. 

Thank you for your support which allows us to adapt to the most pressing needs of our community in the face of an ever changing context. Will you consider joining us ensure the success of the Tour Facilitator Training Program

Wishing a happy holiday season and a bright new year to us all.

Warmly,

The Sadaka-Reut Team

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Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa

The Events of May 2021

A lot has happened since our last report to you, our supporters. 

As you probably know, in May 2021 ongoing institutional violence erupted to the surface from Jerusalem, to Gaza, to Nablus, to Jaffa and other mixed cities within the green line. It is almost too much to summarize. In Lyd and Jaffa, two mixed cities within the green-line, police stood by as Jewish assailants threw rocks and sought to attack Palestinians’ homes. Peaceful Palestinian protests were met with police violence, and several Palestinians who decided to strike in protest of the increasing violence, were deemed traitors and fired by their employees. The media provided biased coverage focusing on violent acts by Palestinians towards Jews and failing to cover the reverse, and failing to provide the context for the attacks. 

We have worked in this context for nearly 40 years, and so we know that the crisis merely brought to the surface tensions that inform the day to day reality in Israel, and exemplified the alienation and de-legitimization that plague Israeli society as a matter of course. The crisis has severely damaged what little trust existed between the Palestinian and Jewish communities within the green line. 

Impact on Our Programming

The crisis impacted us tremendously. When ongoing violence erupted to the surface, everyone on staff, Palestinian and Jewish, spurred into heartbreak and into action in our personal lives, each from within our communities. We also knew we had a professional mandate at this time. 

While we were due to open our Community Group in Jaffa (a local group of Palestinian and Jewish participants from Jaffa, aged 18-21) and our Jaffa Tour Facilitators Group (a group of Palestinian and Jewish tour facilitators, aged 22-30) the events made it impossible to to open the groups. The atmosphere was incredibly tense and we believed it would be detrimental and harmful to begin a bi-national process immediately following the events across the land, and in Jaffa specifically. 

Instead, we realized that our mandate as an organization that has been working in this context for so long is to provide our existing participants, outside audiences, as well as fellow educators, with the tools to unpack this crisis. The events of May were unsettling and overwhelming, but that pushed us to work with our youth to process what was happening, and adapt our programming to create space for educators to understand how to show up for their youth at this moment. We also led open tours of Jaffa to Palestinian groups and Jewish groups, hoping to provide people with the space to make sense of recent events in Jaffa in a historical context.

After the school year terminated, we devoted our efforts in July and August to plan for the coming year and start off strong. We are aiming to open the Community Group in October, and begin the Tour Facilitator Training between November and December. 

~~

We thank you for your support which allows us to adapt to the most pressing needs of our community in the face of an ever changing context. 

Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
Participants in an open tour of Jaffa
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Tour of Jaffa held by SR staff
Tour of Jaffa held by SR staff

Making Moves to Establish the Program

In the recent months we have mostly focused on developing our two programs, establishing partnerships to enable the opening of the groups, and working to raise the necessary funds to establish the groups. Your donations so far have been extremely helpful in moving us towards our goal, and we are working to reach more and more supporters!

As we have updated in our previous report, we are set on opening two groups - 

The Community Group - a group of local 18-21-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish, who come from marginalized communities. The purpose of the group is to provide participants with concrete tools and a community for learning and action through the Jaffa tours. We have been in contact with partners in Jaffa to recruit participants, and are hoping to open the group this summer.

The Tour Facilitators Group - a group of local 22-30-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish. The purpose of the group is to thoroughly train a small group of facilitators who will gain tools for leadership and continue to lead tours of the city and receive an income for doing so. As we are raising the necessary funds, we have had to push back the beginning of the facilitation training, which will hopefully open this this summer or early next year. 

Recent Events in Jaffa

Over the past few weeks, there has been much talk about Jaffa, rarely from the point of view of the Palestinian residents of the city. Following the recent uprising in Jaffa around the housing crisis, Tours Coordinator, Amoneh Asfour, led an open tour in Arabic and Hebrew to provide participants with the historical context for the situation in Jaffa. The open tour demonstrated the importance of having Palestinian residents of Jaffa tell the city’s story. For us, it showed the importance of establishing the groups we are aiming to establish, as a way of both equipping young people in Jaffa with practical tools and a space to share their voice and of intervening in the common story told of Jaffa, bringing awareness to the city's erased history and current reality of injustice and propose an alternative vision of a truly just and shared society.

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A Virtual Tour of Jaffa
A Virtual Tour of Jaffa

A New Beginning

For many years, Sadaka-Reut has been running a bi-national activism program for young adults from the Jaffa area, called Community in Action. As we have shared with supporters in our final report on the program’s GlobalGiving page (‘Support Palestinian & Jewish Youth Leaders in Jaffa’), we have decided to re-vamp our program so it can be better tailored to the young people of Jaffa and better address the needs of the local community. We have seen how the localized and acutely felt ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis and the deep-seated discrimination that preceded it, have served to disillusion young people in Jaffa, leading them to become rightfully frustrated with decision-makers and lose faith in their own ability to change their own, and their communities’, circumstances. We realized that in order to strengthen communities we must strengthen and empower the potential young leaders within them, countering hopelessness and providing them with practical tools, a community of learning and partnership, and guidance, to instill and sustain their commitment to pursue social and political change.

For this reason, we decided to halt the Community in Action program and begin something new. We decided to adapt and expand our tours department to engage young people in Jaffa and train them to facilitate alternative socio-political tours of Jaffa. Our experience through the years of working with young adults has taught us that providing participants with concrete tools and hands-on experiences, can present powerful educational opportunities that teach young people about their social-political context, and instill in them the confidence to act. In all our years of leading the Community in Action groups, teaching participants to build and lead tours of Jaffa proved one of the most impactful, teaching, and empowering experiences participants had undergone. We believe that in the current political moment, the process of empowering young leaders in the community must begin at this fundamental level. 

 

Developing the program

Since we have changed course, our dedicated Tours Coordinator, Amoneh Asfour, has been working to develop the training for the young tour facilitators. As part of our program, we have decided to open two groups:

The Community Group will be a group of local 18-21-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish, who come from marginalized communities. The purpose of the group is to provide participants with concrete tools and a community for learning and action. The tour facilitation training will enable participants to place their own experiences in their social, political, and historical context, and will function as an introduction to possible paths to activism. Beyond tour facilitation training, the training of the young group will focus on providing participants with additional practical self-empowerment tools (such as resume writing, public speaking, etc.). Participants will receive a scholarship to participate in the program. We are currently recruiting participants for this pilot program, which is due to last for 5-6 months. 

The Facilitators Group will be a group of local 22-30-year-old participants, both Palestinian and Jewish. The purpose of the group is to thoroughly train a small group of facilitators who will continue to lead tours of the city and receive an income for doing so. Throughout the training program, facilitators will meet with local experts (residents, activists, and scholars) to enrich their understanding of Jaffa’s history and current reality so that they can, in turn, provide an elaborate and complex picture of the city. As this is a professional training, participants will be paid for their time. The training program will span the month of February, with a total of 10 sessions. 

All throughout the process of developing these educational programs, we have continued facilitating virtual tours to expose individuals and groups to the untold and erased story of Jaffa. 

We are very excited to get started with these pilot programs. As a next step, we hope to guide our facilitators in developing additional tours, to create educational content for schools around the country, and to engage local groups of high-school students in the process of developing their own tours of the city. But for now, we are grateful to be able to get our Tours Department in motion and begin engaging young people around the history, and potential future, of Jaffa.

Socio-political Jaffa Tour Booklets
Socio-political Jaffa Tour Booklets
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Organization Information

Sadaka-Reut Arab Jewish Youth Partnership

Location: Tel Aviv-Jaffa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Rafi Barkan Bocarsly
Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
$3,019 raised of $15,000 goal
 
99 donations
$11,981 to go
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