Home > Oasis of Peace > Projects & Outreach > Doumia-Sakinah: The Pluralistic Spiritual Center > Programs and reports > PSCC Activity Report September to June 2014

PSCC Activity Report September to June 2014

Wednesday 9 July 2014

All the versions of this article: [عربي] [English] [עברית]

This year at the PSCC we have begun to see our aspirations come into fruition. The Center has become more active in bringing together people from the village and outside and with very limited resources has managed to accomplish a wide range of activities.

The work of the Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center, as outlined in this report focus on:

I. Special Projects, II. Joint Activities, III. Generating Income, IV. Building Community

I. Special Projects

Special projects include the (1) Peace Museum, (2) Women’s Dialogue Through Religious Text, (3) Masa Massar and (4) Empowering Students in Reidman College of Alternative Medicine.

1. Peace Museum (Rooms & Ways for Peace)

This has been the main project of the PSCC this year and consists of (a) Gallery, (b) Bustan, (c) Muzbalah, as described below.

a. Gallery

The Gallery is currently being constructed on the ground floor of the Fred Segal Peace and Friendship Library. This will provide the space to exhibit for the general public the history of the village, the narratives of its two peoples and a changing art exhibition for Palestinian and Jewish artists. During the year we developed the architectural plans for the Museum, received price offers for building, and have begun the construction. Lead funding for this project has come from the German Friends Association, with fundraising being carried out by Reuven Maskowitz and Hermann Sieben. The building project is being carried out with design contributions and overseeing by Eitan Kramer, Nurit Agmon (architect), Dyana Rizak-Shalufi, Eyas Shbeta and the building committee.

b. Bustan

This is an exciting project that opens the doors of the NSWAS community to visiting groups who desire an experiential exploration that includes reconciliation and spiritual aspects. Over the years, members of the NSWAS community have developed special approaches to healing and reconciliation using a variety of tools. The Bustan relies upon their skills and talents by offering workshops to Palestinian, Israeli and foreign groups. In the past year Dyana Shalufi and Ety Edlund have developed a variety of unique activities. Dyana also worked with Smadar Kremer to produce a beautiful internet marketing brochure in Hebrew, Arabic and English. (link)
This year the Bustan has provided 15 workshops for groups such as teachers, school principals, Palestinian and Israel women, youth and international groups.

c. Mus-baleh*

This is an environmental art seminar program which Michal Moses has developed throughout the year. She has built a seminar center for creative art from recycled materials. It provides workshops that take groups through the process of transforming old recyclable materials into art. The program is constantly evolving in two small rooms across from the school. It is providing the venue for various art recycling activities and environmental art integrating the needs of the Bustan for art activities.

* Mus-balah = museum + “zbaleh” (garbage in Arabic) or = museum + mizbalah: garbage dump in Hebrew)

2. Women’s Dialogue through Jewish, Christian and Islamic texts

This special program integrates between a joint exploration of scriptural sources with an encounter between Jewish and Palestinian women. The program began in January 2014 and continued through April, and is the second year that the program has functioned in this format. It is facilitated by Vivian Rabiah and Shai Schwartz. This year’s program was a great success. There is a waiting list of women who want to participate in the next program which will begin in October. We hope that this will be supported by the British Friends of NSWAS and other funders. A full report is available.

3. Masa – Massar

This program for Palestinian and Israeli youth changed direction this year towards seeking to build an ongoing cadre of young people that would meet throughout the year. The project is conducted jointly with the Open House, Ramle. We have begun organizing a group of youth from two high schools: Ramle and Kibbutz Givat Brener, who will meet and work together throughout the coming school year. It will include an intensive two-day seminar and one educational trip. In addition the PSCC will carry out a three day workshop with Arab and Jewish youth in cooperation with the Sulha Peace Project.

4. Empowering Students in Reidman College of Alternative Medicine

In the coming school year the PSCC will run a project of student empowerment including two courses in the Arab town of Sachnin and in Jerusalem, for improving communication between students. The tools we will work with will include mindfulness, compassionate listening and practicing skills that develop integrity, awareness of language, empathy and listening to the other.

II. Joint Activities

One of the PSCC’s goals this year was to become more focused on activities for the local and international spiritual activist community that seeks peace, awareness and healing. This year our doors were opened to many groups and drew hundreds of people from around the country and the world. Joint activities included the Sulha Peace Project, JITLI, an encounter workshop for single mothers, a seminar on Bible and Qur’an.

Sulha Peace Project

The Sulha Peace Project brings together Jews and Palestinian youth in a personal encounter with themselves and others. Participants come from both Israel and the Palestinian territories. Five meetings took place in the PSCC during the past years. The meetings took place in the spirit of the three religions, with music, art and workshops and in ‘listening circles’. Each meeting ran for five hour and had 100 to 200 participants. The Sulha meetings have been taking place with great success over the last 14 years. (see link). These activities cross all borders and allow close communication between people from different worlds.

JITLI

JITLI is a youth leadership program that brings together Jewish and Arab youth, Druze, Bedouins and Ethiopians. In April, the program counselors came for three days of Bustan workshops (see above). The group consisted of Jewish youth from San Diego, USA, Jewish Israeli youth from Sha’ar Hanegev, with Druzes, Muslims and Bedouins from Segev Shalom, Lakiya and northern Israel. The PSCC is working with JITLI in developing an additional 3-day Bustan program in August, for approximately 100 youth from Israel and America.

Other coooperative programs

  • Encounter workshop for single mothers
  • Bible and Qur’an – Meeting through the stories of “Sarah & Hagar” a seminar. Translation was provided by NSWAS member Faten Abdelhalim, who is also translating the book written by the seminar leader, Efrat Bar-Shalom.
  • A weekend of sacred spiritual dancing with the White Brotherhood (Bulgaria)
  • A weekend for Women’s Empowerment for Renewal with Damanhur Community in Italy
  • Holocaust Memorial Evening - study and enrichment from the writings of Etty Hillesum: The meeting marked the Holocaust by focusing on the Dutch writer murdered in the holocaust. The evening was dedicated to ethnic genocide of people all over the world.
  • Group meeting on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for the Health Ministry, initiated by Nihaya Dawod and Dorit Shippin
  • In-service training for school principals provided through Bustan activities
  • “Women in Action” A special seminar of a USAID-funded program of Seeds of Peace, for Israeli and Palestinian Women.
  • In May, a two-day conference on “focusing”, with more than 100 people.
  • In October 2013, an intensive of the Mastery Foundation School for Leadership, with the participation of several community members. An additional intensive is planned, in which more members of the community are expected to take part.

III. Generating Income

The PSCC rents its halls to groups that carry out activities that are compatible with the nature of the PSCC complex. These include many therapy, yoga and medition groups nad others. Every month 10 - 20 such groups utilize the PSCC for their activities; some on a regular basis. Among these are the Israel Community of Mindfulness, the Psycho-Dharma association and the Focusing study group. These activities usually include 20 - 100 participants.

IV. Building Community

The Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center is also a meeting place for activities for the NSWAS community. As such, it provides many opportunities throughout the year to strengthen ties between community members.

Holiday Celebrations

  • Special activities were carried out for families and their children for Rosh HaShanah, Hannuka, Christmas, and two Ramadam events that are planned for the month of July.
  • Meeting place for events The PSCC provides a venue for members to celebrate or commemorate special events such as memorial days for loved ones, etc.

"Getting to Know You"

A lecture series initiated and organized by Nadine Nashef and Tali Sonnenschein, of the the village’s second generation. Every few weeks, Nadine and Tali invite members of the community to speak about their lives, their work, their passion and the future. The series provides a bridge between generations in the village building a sense of shared purpose and direction. Beginning from August 2013, these interesting meetings touched on a wide variety of subjects.

Acquaintance and reflection meetings on various aspects of the community

A series of five meetings took place with the intention of providing an opportunity for newcomers and those planning to move to the community to meet with senior community members.

Youth to Youth

The PSCC continued to provide the venue for the second generation to enter the community. Sagi Frish and Rami Manaa initiated a meeting with all the young people in the village. This as a first step in bringing the youth closer to community life and activities and projects of the community.

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