topics: education/arts, Arab/Israeli exchange, social change organizations, "Healing the World"; jump to dispatch

BikeAbout Log


Rider Notes: January 15, 1998

Food of the Day: Yemenite bread

There is a spongy flat Yemenite bread that we've seen around and that appears to be less popular than pita bread or regular loaves. Looking a bit like a half-done pancake, this bread is served warm, often straight off the griddle, where it is lightly fried to a golden brown on one side.

Word of the Day: Shatil — "seedling"

The word shatil click to hear an audio clip means "seedling" in Hebrew. In the case of our Place of the Day, it represents the possible growth of social change through proper funding initiatives geared toward non-profit organizations.

Tech Fact of the Day: Diversity

The word "diversity" describes a technical reality that all people in Jerusalem must accept and understand about their city's population. This means that the people of Jerusalem, who come from many different backgrounds, upbringings, and religions, have to teach themselves how to enjoy the diversity inherent to their city.

Person of the Day: Danny Bar-Giora click to view a photograph

Danny Bar-Giora is the Director of the Jerusalem High School for the Arts (JHSA) [now known as the Charles Smith High School for the Arts], and a teacher in the mathematics and computer classes. He is also an avid bicyclist/rollerblader! After a brief jaunt with a high-tech firm, Danny decided to pursue a career in education. He hopes to help prepare the masses for the technical revolution, but only in a position from which he can have direct interaction with students. A graduate of a program called the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, he holds fast to the theory that the students at his school should be taught to be human beings first, good citizens second, and artists/performers third. Read more about the JHSA below.

Place of the Day: Shatil Empowering Center for Social Change Organizations

The Shatil Empowering Center for Social Change Organizations is a member of the non-profit umbrella organization called the New Israel Fund. Shatil offers a number of workshops and seminars about the many social issues faced by the diverse citizens of Israel, and provides general subsistence grants to other non-profit organizations, which can apply to Shatil for operational funding only, however, and must look for additional income sources for project financing. Other programs offered by Shatil include advocacy for immigrants, hosting a volunteer database and dispatch service, and the provision of free assistance to appropriate or needy organizations. Read more about Shatil below.

To contact Shatil about how you can help their cause, write, phone or email to:

P.O. Box 53395
Jerusalem 91533
Tel: +972-2-672.3597
Fax: +972-2-673.5149

Group Dispatch, January 15

picture of Corinne

The early hours of Thursday morning were the first moments since we reconvened in Israel that we had free. After all, our first visit wasn't until 10:50 a.m.!

andrEa and Corinne spent this time on the phone and on the computers, as usual, and the boys went to visit some of the other important Old City places not specifically included in our schedule.

Ethan and Anthony made a bee line for the Western or Wailing Wall click to view a photograph, one of the only vestiges of the city from the time of the Second Temple. Jews consider this wall sacred since it is also all that remains of the Jewish temple, or synagogue, that used to occupy the heights of Mount Moriah. Now, at all hours of the day, Jews and people of all religions flock to this wall for special religious occasions or just to pray. click to view a photograph Some people pray for specific things (many Jews wish [cry and wail, hence the name "Wailing" Wall] for the return of the temple click to view a photograph), while others pray for world peace and an end to all war. To do this, a message is written on a piece of paper that is then pushed into one of the many cracks or holes in the stone. click to view a photograph There is even an Internet service where you can send a message straight from your home to someone near the Wall who will place the message in a crack for you!

Since the site is very holy, orthodox practices are observed when around it. Men and women pray at different parts of the wall and anyone approaching closely must wear a head cover. For men, there are small cardboard yarmulkes (the little hats that some religious Jews wear) provided for free. There are also tables and other objects used by religious Jews that help them complete their prayers. click to view a photograph click to view a photograph

After the visit to the Wall, Ethan and Anthony also made some preparatory phone calls click to view a photograph and then wandered through the Jewish Quarter, checking out some of the reconstructed areas and uncovered ruins — the Cardo or traditional Roman main avenue, parts of the old original city wall, a synagogue left in ruins after the War of 1948. click to view a photograph They found a good map showing how the original city that King David established, called Shiloah, developed into the Old City of today. click to view a photograph

The four of us eventually met up again in the street on our way to the first school we would visit in all of Israel: the Jerusalem High School for the Arts (JHSA) [now known as the Charles Smith High School for the Arts]. The school is actually a junior high and high school rolled into one small building, but with only about 380 students. A private arts school, it provides junior high kids a chance to learn little about the fine arts, drama, dance, music, and TV/film, from which they must choose one specialty when they start high school. Of course, the basics are taught here as well, but the arts element represents between 12 and 20 hours of their workload every week!

We first met the schools director, Danny Bar-Giora click to view a photograph (see the Person of the Day), who was very interested in talking with us about how computer technology and the Internet has, can, and will change the way students learn. Danny expects to see a technical revolution within the next ten years, but one that focuses on communication among people. He has been gearing his school to use computers and technology in different ways for all the arts, and hopes to use them in the future for joint projects on the Internet.

Next we visited with some JHSA students from a seventh grade English class. Most of the students had visited the United States before, and all of them watch American television shows rebroadcast in Israel, so communicating with them was quite easy. They shared with us their views on what it's like being a young Israeli. Because these kids are already very familiar with the Internet click to view a photograph, they had many questions for us, and it was a very active though sadly short visit. click to view a photograph

Later we met with one of the people responsible for these kids' understanding of the Internet, a JHSA graduate and Webmaster of their site, named Shaul Olnert. click to view a photograph He showed us the school's computer lab he helped build and install this past summer. This lab makes it possible for each of the students and most of the teachers to have email accounts and even, in some cases, private Web sites! He and the students of the school are responsible for maintaining the school's site click to view a photograph, which is very cool. Be warned, though, it's mostly in Hebrew. Other pet projects in which Shaul participates include the amazing and enormous Israeli educational site, SNUNIT, a resource-oriented portal to assist students in studying on the Internet, and/or coping with school life in general.

The next stop for the day was at the Bak'ah Community Center click to view a photograph, an afterschool facility which has an Arab/Israeli exchange philosophy and programs. Yoram Asidon was our helpful host during this visit, where Anthony and Ethan socialized with a younger crowd, talking to them about the Mediterranean, life in Israel, life in general, and what the coming Internet revolution could mean to them. Yoram (at the far left in this picture click to view a photograph) is very active in the many exchange, peace, and environmental movements all over Israel. This visit was for Ethan and Anthony only, as andrEa had a different appointment at the organization detailed below, and Corinne struck ill from lack of sleep.

In the early evening, andrEa met with Ms. Alona Vardi, from Shatil (which is both our Place of the Day and our Word of the Day), a non-profit "capacity building center for social change organizations" offering a myriad of programs, workshops, and funding opportunities for other non-profits in Israel. andrEa was particularly pleased to see the 60 people in the office representing almost all of Israel's ethnicities and religions! It was a true case of putting diversity (our Tech Fact of the Day) to its best uses.

You never know when you're going to run into someone famous, so it was a pleasant surprise when we learned that Alona was the English language content writer for the excellent Virtual Jerusalem Tour, which can be found in our Israel Resources Page, where you can find links to information on all sorts of pieces and parts of Israel that we might skip in our dispatches.

After this very long and active day, it was time to head back to our respective homes for a full evening of dispatch-writing, socializing with our hosts, preparing for tomorrow's ride to Tel Aviv, and some much, much deserved sleep.

Go to Previous Rider Notes PageGo to Next Rider Notes Page

Questions? Ask Corinne Go To Corinne's Page!

Return to Fast Facts

BikeAbout Itinerary & Journal Discussion Groups About Israel eDscape Projects BikeAbout Scrapbook
Discussions About

About BikeAbout Mediterranean Journey BikeAbout Partners Resource Library

AquanetInternet access and Web hosting while in Israel were provided by Aquanet.

Daedalus Design Group Computer Curriculum Corporation Compaq

Copyright 1997-2004 BikeAbout. All rights reserved.