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Yara and Naomi - Two Children and Their Holiday Experience

Friday 1 November 2013, by Christina Valentin

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]

Our friends from early childhood often remain fast friends throughout life. I thought of this today when visiting the 3rd grade class at the NSWAS primary school. There I found Yara and Naomi, who are “best friends” despite their cultural differences. Yara was born to a Palestinian family and lives in Wahat al Salam/Neve Shalom. Naomi was born to a Jewish family and lives in Gizo, a nearby moshav (village).

I interviewed these two girls about school and their friendship. Here is what they said:

- What are your favourite subjects at school?

Yara: Music! And I also like Hebrew.

Naomi: My favorite subject is Math.

- How were the holidays? (Yara has just enjoyed a school break for Eid al- Adha, whereas Naomi recently returned after the Sukkot holiday).

Yara: It was fun to be off school, but I really missed my friends! Naomi didn’t have a holiday so she had to go to school. I wanted to play with her, but I knew she had to be in school and couldn’t play with me.

Naomi: My holidays were also very nice, though I missed my friends, especially Yara, because she had to be at school. I went to see my friend Maya, who also had a break from school, but couldn’t visit Yara.

- What do you know about your friend’s holidays?

Yara: I know that at Sukkot they make a big Sukka (semi-enclosed structure), where they celebrate and eat their meals. It’s a very happy holiday. The teacher taught us all about it and we celebrated together at school.

Naomi: I know a lot about Eid al-Adha, because we also learned about it at school. There was a whole day of workshops about the holiday and the teachers told us stories. We also had a big celebration at school.

- How was it in school for you, when your friends were away for the holidays?

Yara: For me it was not a lot of fun. I missed my Jewish friends and sometimes I didn’t know who to play with. I like to learn more when we are all together.

Naomi: It was boring without Yara, but sometimes it was funny that there were not as many kids as usual.

When we called Yara’s mother to get permission to interview her daughter, she told us that on the morning after Sukkot, Yara jumped out of bed, smiled from ear to ear and said: “Hurray, today I will see my Jewish friends again“.

Yara and Naomi are best friends despite their cultural differences. Seeing them together makes me wonder why elsewhere in Israel such children need to attend different schools and grow up separately.

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