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Meet our new director: Elinor Sidi

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Elinor Sidi is the new (actually the first) executive director of the association of educational institutions in Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom. She was employed recently by the association’s board with the desire to improve the efficiency of the association. Elinor has much experience in organizational work. She continues to work part time, in parallel, as a resource development consultant for the Shatil organization.

Elinor was born to a conservative Jewish family, growing up in Beit Shemesh, a town close to WAS-NS. She attended gender-segregated state religious schools. In university she studied towards a BA in biology at the Hebrew University and went on to do an MA in gender studies at Bar Ilan University. In her professional life she worked in hotel management before gravitating to the non-profit field. She became an activist for LGBT, feminist and Mizrachi causes. She says that whoever belongs to a minority group can empathize with the struggles of others, and that the struggles for LGBT and feminist issues are closely linked in their nature to the struggle for Palestinian rights. She says she is deeply worried by the racism that has been flooding the country, particularly since the time of the "Protective Edge" military campaign in Gaza (summer 2014). "I was in Jerusalem on the night of the murder of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir and will never forget the hate-filled, revenge-seeking gangs of teenagers that filled the streets that night."

Eventually Elinor’s activism led her to change the direction of her career and she was appointed executive director of the Open House in Jerusalem; a position she occupied for four years. She also began to work for Shatil, which supports for many organizations working for societal change.

Asked how she came to learn about WAS-NS, Elinor says that having lived nearby, she knew about and was interested in the village since her childhood. Today she lives in Beit Nekofa, a village situated between WAS-NS and Jerusalem. At home she has a 3-year old son who she hopes to bring to the WAS-NS school.

The position of executive director of the educational association was conceived after the organizational change of 2008 that split the functions of the municipal and educational associations of the village. However the role was never until now filled. The recently elected board felt the absence of such a function, at a time when we are attempting to further develop and expand the village educational projects. Together with the association board, Elinor will need to construct and give substance to her new role and, through it, to strengthen the operations of the educational institutions it governs. She will be looking at matters of organizational efficiency, relations with our overseas friends associations, work plans, longterm plans, and development of funding strategies.

"I believe in the power of education, particularly anti-racist education, to bring about change. One of the things I would like to advance is the opening of a bilingual, binational high school, that would work at a really high level."

The challenges before Elinor are formidable, but she certainly seems brave enough and sufficiently qualified to take them on.

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