Archives For Jerusalem: Roots

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

  11864890_704135219692543_7241628479877859214_o 11872022_704135076359224_8688489099147585843_oThe theme of the day was learning about how to “go green”. We spent the morning at Kibbutz Lotan, a small Kibbutz that is just down the road from Ketura. There, we went on a tour of their eco campus where we learned all about composting and reusing our resources. A highlight of our visit was making bricks out of mud and hay.

The kids learned about how we can use the earth and the resources around us in order to build homes and other buildings. At Kibbutz Lotan (almost, if not all of,) their homes are made out of the same material (clay and hay) that we created. In making these clay bricks, the campers got their hands dirty and mixed sand, clay, and water together. Then they shaped the mixture into bricks and put them out in the sun to dry. After, they took already dry bricks and built bridges out of them.

The bridges they built were strong enough to bear their weight so they had a lot of fun walking around on the bridges and testing their new creations’ limits. It was amazing to see how well the kids work together in a team when they are working toward a common goal. After mud building, the kids completed their tour by getting to see the homes made of clay and seeing what an ecological bathroom and kitchen looks like. We finished off our time at Lotan with lunch there, and the campers got to experience composting their own food scraps for themselves.

11882313_704135596359172_1550955720072931400_oOn the way back to Ketura, we took a detour and went to Yotvata, Israel’s dairy capital. The kids loved buying their favorite dairy products there and trying the delicious ice cream. Once we got back, the kids listened to a presentation about the Arava Institute that is hosted here, at Ketura. Learning about the institute really helped them round out their eco experience. Later, they had their movement session with Shuli.11856301_704135749692490_8064042934508902601_o

For the last night here, we had a barbecue and pool party. The kids loved swimming, dancing, and bonding. We are sad to leave but excited to see what Kids4Peace brings us in the future. The campers can’t wait for Leadership!

A very special thank you to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem for making Roots Camp at Ketura possible! The campers are so thankful for their experience this summer.

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

11882806_703657183073680_598313525766737926_o 11879117_703658353073563_9118155578323815440_oAnother exciting, hot, and action-packed day! The highlight of the campers’ day was definitely their movement session with Shuli. Shuli organized a session where they really got to explore their creative side. The unique part is that for the first time, they were told to make a mess.

Shuli gave the kids a ton of newspapers and asked them to rip them up into tiny pieces until the ground was completely covered in newspaper shreds. They got really into it and even started making snow angels in the newspaper! Though I suppose they’d be called newspaper angels…

Throughout the session she had them do different activities and competitions with the newspaper mess. First, she split them up into four different teams and asked them to choose a corner. Then they tried to get as many newspaper shreds to their corner as possible. The next exercise was a bit more challenging. They were asked to make a fort or home out of the furniture and other supplies in the room we were in and then create a presentation to show to the group.

BUT, they were supposed to do all of this without speaking. It was really incredible to watch them use their imaginations and work so well in teams, all without talking to each other. They cooperated so well with each other, and you could really tell how much they trust each other and each other’s ideas.

This is what Lour has to say about the movement session today:

“This is the fourth movement session that we have had during this camp, and every day it becomes more and more exciting. Shuli is very focused on helping us explore other cultures and letting our creative side run wild. I was a little bit surprised when she told us that we had to rip up newspapers and throw them on the ground. I remember looking around at her and the advisors with a very puzzled look on my face. I thought the idea was a little bizarre, but the moment I began ripping the newspapers apart and tossing the tiny shreds into the air, It felt very good. I felt like art and creativity can be expressed so differently and that it isn’t only limited to quiet and clean activities. It was also an amazing experience to try and build homes out of materials. My group was very successful at it and I must say, our presentation was hilarious. Overall, it was great to see everyone participate in making a mess and surprisingly, in cleaning it up. I felt like we were all very connected and could work together as a team.”11882398_703646379741427_4416038817952705029_o

After the session we planned our hike and poike dinner for tonight, painted the concrete shapes we made on Monday, and went swimming. We told the campers that we have a surprise for them tonight. We’re going to watch the meteor shower! Stay tuned to hear about our experience!

By Talia, Roots camper

10344283_703390589767006_3898699421493161243_o Today we got to go to the beach in Eilat, experience some cool water sports, and spend some time in the Ice Mall food court. The water sports were really awesome, and were super fun. We had a few different kinds, such as tubing, boating, and riding on the banana boat. When we weren’t playing water sports, we got to enjoy the beach.  After the amazing experience in Eilat, we continued onto a movement session, and even got a movie night! It’s so cool to be able to participate in such a variety of activities at camp.

Quotes from all the girls

Anaghim: Each day gets better and better.

Devorah: It was fun to see the Jordan crossing and learn all about the politics between Israel and Jordan.

Mais: Water sports was the best part of the day.

Tia: The people with us are really cool, especially the advisors and counselors.

Adan: My favorite part of the day was water sports, but I like how camp keeps getting better and better.

Loure: My favorite part of the day was when I fell on Zeena during tubing and then we both fell in the water!

Yasmin: Banana boat was my favorite part.

Lour: This camp is very well planned, and no day is like the other. Today was very different from yesterday, and tomorrow is going to be even more different.

Nina: It was fun to push Samer in the water!

Zeena: Tubing was my favorite part.

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

 11232917_702987846473947_8754832709214966157_oDay 2 began bright and early with a morning bike ride. We met at the bikeshed at 6:15, and we were off to ride around the rocky trails near Ketura for about 45 minutes. The campers who did not know how to ride a bike got to ride in the backseat of a pickup truck through the trailers. Everyone was included no matter their skill.

As we rode through the dusty paths, we saw sand dunes, mountains, thousands of date trees, and most interestingly: Jordan. The mountain range across from Ketura is in Jordan. Seeing just a glimpse got the kids excited about tomorrow’s visit to the border. The campers loved getting to start off our day with something so active.

After the ride, the campers headed back to their rooms to recharge and get ready for the rest of the day. We were then off to breakfast.11054416_702988049807260_3594209053802510506_o Since we are switching off prayer days for each religion, today was our Jewish campers’ turn to say prayers before eating.

When breakfast was over, the campers had another break and then we had our morning meeting. We went over the schedule, talked about what the day has in store for us, and what we are most excited for. The kids then left for their second movement session with Shuli.

They had a really good time with her and they seem to be having a very meaningful experience communicating with each other through their body language instead of verbally. It is exciting to see the impact the movement sessions have left on the campers.

After the movement session, we got crafty. All of the campers were divided into teams of two to create a special art project. We mixed sand and water together to make a mold for a concrete-like mixture. The kids had a lot of fun exploring their creative side by carving different shapes into the now muddy sand. It was really fun watching them bounce ideas off of each other so they could make a unique art piece. They really seemed to understand the importance of using teammates when working in a group, and they genuinely enjoyed having a partner to work with.

11879085_702988639807201_660067227713121880_oAfter facecasting, we headed to lunch and then had the afternoon to recuperate after our busy couple days. The campers had the choice of swimming or resting in their rooms. Either way, it was nice to cool off either in the water or in the air conditioning. At 4:30 pm, we left for a session led by the Ketura about what a Kibbutz is.

After we learned about the structure of Kibbutz Ketura, we were split up into three separate groups and each given a controversial Kibbutz scenario. For example, the Kibbutz was running low on water, especially because it is in the desert. Therefore, the campers had to decide alternative ways to use less water. They came up with not planting grass and replacing it with synthetic grass. Then, they presented their ideas to the group, had a group discussion, and voted on whether or not they should replace the grass. The purpose of this exercise was for the campers to understand how a Kibbutz committee meeting is run. After this session, we had dinner.

We went on a walking tour of the Kibbutz Ketura after dinner. On the tour, we got to see and learn about what a home on the Kibbutz looks like, the algae factory, and the solar panel field. The solar panel field was the campers’ favorite part. We got to see robots cleaning the solar panels, how cool! Right after the tour we headed to the highly anticipated Kids4Peace vs. Ketura kids soccer game. Everyone who wanted to play got the chance to. I was so impressed with how well the campers worked together and rooted each other on. Not to mention how great their soccer skills are!

It was a long but fun and relaxing day. We learned so much about Kibbutz Ketura today that the campers were more than content with staying here and experiencing all this place has to offer. Tomorrow, we go to Eilat, and the kids can’t wait to go tubing!

by Leah, K4P Summer Intern

11221555_702556333183765_537692727224051429_oIt was an incredible and action packed first day at Roots Camp! We began the day at the Kids4Peace office at 6:30am. The kids came energetic as ever, hugging all their friends, singing songs, and eager to get down to Kibbutz Ketura. After a three and a half hour bus ride, we arrived.

Nadav, one of our Jewish faith advisors was there to greet us, along with other members of the Ketura staff. Campers filed off the bus, one by one, each with a wider smile than the next one. We were here! And boy, was it hot.

From the bus, we headed straight to the Roots meeting room. There, we recharged with cold water, lemonade, fruit, and coffee cake. We started with an ice breaker because Samer, the new Muslim faith advisor, and I, the Kids4Peace summer intern and camp media manager, had not yet met the kids. We soon went over camp rules, expectations for the week, and what we hope to do at camp this summer.11794520_702557073183691_5203347602640481250_o

After our opening session, we headed to the Kibbutz’s cafeteria for lunch. Each day this week, we will listen to kids from each religion say a prayer before meals. Today was Christian day, so the six Christian campers presented a prayer to the group. Next, we ate. There were lots of options so all the campers found something they liked. After lunch, the campers headed to their first movement session with Shuli, our movement instructor. Shuli will be here with us for the week, leading movement sessions, followed by discussions, for our campers. Reports back from the campers were “really fun!” “interesting!” “cool!” They are excited to see what Shuli has in store for tomorrow.

Later, we moved into our rooms. The girls and boys are split, each with their own suite. Each suite has four bedrooms, with three or four beds per bedroom, a common room, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette. We then headed to the pool to relax and cool off. The kids couldn’t wait to get to the sand dunes.

The dunes was the highlight of our day today. The bus pulled up to an opening in the middle of the vast desert. Once we got off the bus, the campers were each given a sheet of paper with a question on it:11791985_702556336517098_9140927453872220006_o 

How do you feel now, sitting by yourself in the desert?

Loure said: “I feel so thankful to be sitting in this peaceful desert.”

Adan: The view reminded me how beautiful God is and how amazing his creations are.”

Talia: “I feel like I’m part of what’s around me. I can feel the sand, on my feet, in between my toes. Every little sound is magnified. The rustle of the paper, the scratching of my pencil. The wind doesn’t resist me. It acknowledges my presence and bends around my lone figure. I would stay like this for hours.

11223880_702556866517045_1906811591494242401_oWe each shared how we felt, sitting alone in the desert. It was a special time because all the campers were listening to each other, intent on how their peers were feeling. This was a unique experience for us. We connected to the land and most importantly, each other.

To wrap up the night, we had a bonfire next to the dunes. For dinner, we made pita bread by shaping dough and putting it on a huge round pan to bake over the fire. Ketura prepared a huge spread of things to put on our pita breads, including falafel, labneh, hummus, and white and milk chocolate spreads for dessert.

By the time we got back to Ketura, the campers were tired and ready to head to bed. If this is just day one, I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Special THANK YOU to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem for sponsoring this camp for us! 2015-08-09 (1)11794435_702557319850333_4516872084762313894_o

Roots Camp Day 2

merk4p —  August 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

by Maggie, K4P Jerusalem Intern

Movement session:
By focusing consciously on our bodies and movements we gained an understanding of our physical reactions to things as well as our control over our bodies. This was furthered by partner work where we learned that if we are aware of our own selves we can bring that awareness to the task and compete it with less energy and in less time. This was a fun and interactive session where the youth experienced something new and interesting.
Group project:
This group will become leaders next year within K4P and in preparation for this we have focused this camp on exploring the growth and development of the youth through out their time in K4P. Now we are looking forward to the next phase and hope to take all that we have learned and aspire to and integrate that in our work. With that in mind the youth are making individual masks of their faces. This mask will come to represent “The Best That They Can Be” Today we began the discussion and soon you will see the progress that we have made …
We watched a movie outside under the stars with popcorn. A beautiful way to end a great day. The movie: “Skyhigh” – a story of one boy’s journey through acquiring superpowers and using them with and in order to protect others.
As part of the theme, “My Land, Your Land, Whose Responsibility”, Roots camp focuses on issues of identity and responsibility. This project shows just one example of how the process works
Each kid made two individual watercolor paintings depicting 1.) who they were when they began K4P, and 2.) who they are now (including their hopes for where they are going on their journey with peace). Each youth then presented both pieces, all of which will hang in the camp activity room for the duration of the program.
The discussion showed how far the youth have come from the beginning of their participation with K4P as they finish their third year in the 6-year program. Many spoke of how they need to work at peace, one youth even painted a battery with a peace sign, with connecting wires of both the Israeli and Palestinian colors, noted that we need to constantly re-charge our selves and engage in the work with renewed energy. Peace will not just come – we need to work at it. This sentiment was echoed by the participants and noted as a key learning in their participation with K4P. Many youth, through their paintings, referenced how things are less black and white for them now, how things have become “messier,” but that with this comes more understanding of the other and a desire to be more open.
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Here’s a glimpse into the first day of camp:

The energy on the 4-hour bus ride down to the desert felt nothing short of miraculous, as ten Israeli and Palestinian teenagers from Jerusalem took the brave step of joining together for a week of intensive learning, sharing, and growing.

Opening of the day: Fears/Hopes/Expectations:  Youth spoke about their fears in leaving home during this turbulent time, all who had reservations were happy they decided to come. Many felt concerned that their close friends were not attending camp this year, but they saw this challenge as an opportunity to get to know others in the group better. It seemed that the concerns about loneliness were lost on the bus as they felt they came together as a group.

“Personal Key of Success”: Each participant stated what they could bring to the camp to make it a success and placed a key around their neck.
Pool time was a great break from the heat. All the youth passed the camp’s swim test with our on-site lifeguard with flying colors, cheered each other on, and enjoyed popsicles and relaxing and hanging out together.
“Desert Solo”:  Night hike under the stars, with guided time for group and individual reflection. This is always a turning point in camp for bonding with each other, and the land we all connect with so deeply. 

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*All donations to Roots Camp 2014 have been matched by actress and K4P supporter Natalie Portman! We are so appreciative to her incredible generosity. We loved meeting Natalie at our offices this past winter, and could not be happier with her support.

More than 250 Youth, Family Members, Staff & Community Leaders gathered together on Thursday December 19, 2013 from across East & West Jerusalem and the West Bank. For many, the event was the first time venturing outside after days of Jerusalem’s most intense snowstorm in over a century.

The Kids4Peace community was honored to receive blessings by prominent local clergy members from the three religions including former MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, Father Sanni Ibrahim Azar, and Emam Hosein Abed Gomaa. The community was inspired and encouraged to continue coming together amid rising regional political tension, an unpromising peace process, and increased violence. Rabbi Melchior challenged the community to “listen to other people’s dreams and change our destiny.” He proclaimed to the audience boldly, “We are not destined to fight and kill each other.”

After the blessings, the Jerusalem Youth Chorus of the YMCA performed songs in Hebrew and Arabic, filling the auditorium with cheer and song. Executive Director Josh Thomas honored Kids4Peace’s longest-serving staff, and Jerusalem Co-Directors Mohammad Joulany and Rebecca Sullum announced a new community service partnership with Hadassah Hospital. Staff and volunteers then led activity stations, including art, drumming, and cookie decorating.

The art station featured an array of gifts for the youth to decorate which Kids4Peace will be donating to children hospitalized at Hadassah Hospital as part of a new volunteering relationship with the Mount Scopus branch of Hadassah Hospital. Kids4Peace Jerusalem will be visiting the pediatric ward regularly to run activities for the youth in the hospital.

For the first time ever– Kids4Peace Grandmother Jihan Raouf led an incredible cookie-decorating station, featuring her own homemade cookies! Guests had choices of toppings, spreads, icing, candy and sprinkles for the most colorful and exciting cookies Jerusalem has ever seen.

Kids4Peace counselors in training created and ran a Kids4Peace game with prizes including new Kids4Peace merchandise.

The Fundraising Raffle was a huge success and congratulations to Leap4Peace member Aviya Cohen on selling the most tickets! Special thank you to our sponsors: Guiding Star Travel, Sbitany and Sons, and the Village Green.

The event was a blast for all who attended as community members of all ages rekindled their connections and friendships. Thank you to everyone who participated and we look forward to next year’s winter event already!


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There is never a dull moment here at Kids4Peace Jerusalem! While our 6th graders were learning more about Orthodox Easter in the Old City, Roots was in the north of Israel participating in a weekend seminar about racism. Roots is the second year continuation program for returning 8th graders and it is during this year that they begin to focus on their personal identity and explore how it fits into the larger community. They gather monthly to visit each others’ neighborhoods and sacred places as well as to volunteer in the community. The seminar took place at Nes Ammim, a kibbutz located between Acco and Nahariya that was founded after the Holocaust by European Christians as a sign of solidarity and good faith with the Jewish people. What a great place for Kids4Peace to be and we’re so grateful to them for hosting us!

Enjoying the boat ride in the Mediterranean!

Enjoying a boat ride on the Mediterranean!

While a weekend focused on racism can be tough and difficult at times, the group started the seminar with a fun and enjoyable boat ride around the Old City walls of Acco. With a great start to the seminar behind them, they jumped straight into the depth of the weekend. On Saturday the youth participated in discussions and activities surrounding racism, stereotypes and discrimination. Each participant was given an ethnicity and based on that were given a certain, different type of food. This challenged them to think about the equality of what each participant was given and the effects of these divisions. How does it feel to be judged based on your culture, religion, or ethnicity? What have you heard about or personally experienced with discrimination and stereotyping?

Learning in the beautiful setting of Nes Ammim.

Learning in the beautiful setting of Nes Ammim.

Here's a group competing in the master chef competition, we think it looks delicious!

Here’s a group competing in the master chef competition, we think it looks delicious!

In addition to this exercise, the group engaged in discussions surrounding situations of racism in Israel and Palestine in different communities and learned about leaders from around the world who have fought against racism. They also learned how they can combat racism in their own communities. A highlight of the weekend, removed from the idea of racism, was the master chef competition where the youth were divided into teams competing to create the most original and beautiful chocolate balls. Sounds like a pretty fun and delicious way to end the weekend to us!

Another weekend, another amazing seminar for our continuation program participants! As always, we look forward to keeping you up to date on what’s happening in Jerusalem!