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Women’s Faith and Ecology Project in Jerusalem Spurs Dialogue and Action

The Women’s Faith and Ecology Project in Jerusalem continues to engage Christian, Muslim, and Jewish women  in the Jerusalem area for inspiring seminars on faith and ecology.

The seminar held on December, 17th 2015 helped us move forward in creating individual work plans for Jerusalem-based eco project. We discussed various project ideas as part of a brainstorming session. As part of this process, Naomi Tsur, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and founder of the Jerusalem Green Fund spoke about her work in the municipality and with other offices in which she was able to promote significant changes related to sustainability, ecology and faith in Jerusalem. She spoke of the importance of women leadership, politics and the significance of faith-inspired organizations to Jerusalem’s future. She told us about her achievements in creating a greener Jerusalem: among them the Gazelle Valley Park, the Old Railway park, and various compost and recycling projects. Massat7_1-(4)It was fascinating to hear about them and provided inspiration for the women to create their own project.

Our next seminar, on January 3rd, 2016, made me feel really thankful to the world for giving me the opportunity to meet and have quality time with all the wonderful and inspiring women who joined me in the meetings- it was really a pleasure and I learned so much! The ideas for future projects that were discussed seemed quite feasible.

At the meeting we had a really great panel with Soher, Samah and Mira who are doing amazing things and so we all decided we want to come and join them in all their projects and come visit them in the field.

Massat_17_12-(61)Soher, a Christian Arab originally from Haifa, told us about her work as an economist and work with Catholic seminary students, at the Jewish-Christian Relations Center and various minority groups of women in Israel and how she empowers them through her classes and workshops on finances and other topics.

Samah, a Muslim woman from East Jerusalem, shared with us stories from her work with the amazing projects in the Kidron Valley (Wadi al-Nar) of Jerusalem, her photography project with young Muslim women and her work in the Jerusalem municipality. Her work really inspired me and showed the richness of the work in East Jerusalem that we have not known about.

Massat7_1-(2)Lastly Mira, a Jewish woman from Tel Aviv, spoke about her work on the Jordan River with EcoPeace Middle East. She gave us a sense of the complexity and importance of the issues surrounding the Jordan River and we all became excited and ready to go to a Jordan River seminar that she will be leading!

Our panels were followed by a workshop session in which we reviewed different tools used by NGOs and practitioners in development that can help us translate our ideas and goals into feasible work plans. In addition we worked in small groups and discussed our projects and gave each other valuable advice and comments on how to realize our goals for local women’s social entrepreneurship in Jerusalem relating to ecology.

Massat7_1-(9) For me this was an amazing experience and I was so happy to meet all of these women and I am sure we will all stay in touch and help each other develop our work.

Thanks for the German Embassy in Tel Aviv for supporting our work on this project.

By Manya Kagan

Photos by Massat

 

 

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