Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom
Autumn holidays at the Primary School
Monday, 31 October 2016

The month of October was full of many holidays. This year the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) coincided with the Muslim Hijri New Year, and Yom Kippur (Jewish) followed soon after. For Yom Kippur, students engaged in discussions with their classmates and conducted a variety of activities all related to learning about asking forgiveness and the importance of apologizing. Yom Kippur is often referred to as the Day of Atonement, stressing the need for repentance. In the Hebrew calendar, Sukkot, quickly followed Yom Kippur. The Jewish students were on break until October 25.

During Sukkot, we spoke to some Palestinian students at the Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom primary school about how they felt about having classes without their Jewish classmates. Ten year old, Andalus, told me, "I like that we are a school that has Palestinians and Jews together because I want peace." Nada, who is in second grade, said, "I like when Jews and Palestinians are together because I have a lot of Jewish friends. When they are away, I miss them."

Although the Palestinian students did miss many of their peers, the uni-national days were still full of exciting activities. On these days, the Arabic language was emphasized and the majority of the activities were related to autumn. Most mornings, one could hear little voices singing songs. The kids collected autumn leaves and created nature collages. The days were full of baking bread, playing with soap bubbles and learning to make a delicious green tea. The Palestinian students concluded the these “uninational days” by spending a day in the sun, splashing and playing in the bright blue swimming pool – taking advantage of its last days of being open before it closed for the season.