Voices from Asia

A letter from the Adam Institute in Jerusalem

This letter is part of our series on the Voices from Asia. We share our platform with Dr. Uki Maroshek-Klarman who serves as the Executive Director at the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.

Instytut Boyma 31.10.2023

Logo Instytutu Adama

Dear All,

Many of you have reached out to check in and see how I’m doing, how we’re doing.

Thank you for your concern and caring. It means a great deal to me, to us.

In a sentence, we’re safe, yet heartbroken. We’re fine, but not okay.

Israeli society is enduring very difficult times since the brutal attack on the communities near the Gazan border and other cities throughout Israel. The level of cruelty carried out against children, elderly, young people and security personnel has left those of us who believe in human goodness amazed, pained and angry. We’re gravely concerned about the 230 hostages including babies, elderly and peace activists with whom we have had long-standing relations for many years. Our hearts are broken for the 1400 who were killed and the hundreds who were injured. The personal and collective trauma is great. For example, Kibbutz Be’eri has 107 residents killed or lost/kidnapped – that’s almost 10% of their inhabitants. That is proportional to New York City losing 800,000 people. (The numbers may have gone up – it’s so hard to keep track of it all.)

Some of you have asked about how you can help. What particular projects can you support to have an impact and foster wellbeing?

As many of you know, our nonprofit has been working in the field for more than thirty years, including extensive educational programs in southern Israel. In addition to general digital programming that we’re tailoring for students, teachers and parents nationally to address these especially challenging times, we’re focusing on two communities with whom we have a longstanding relationship and where we can have a valuable and direct impact.

1. TEEN LEADERS IN OFAKIM– We have a particularly warm, strong relationship with the Hosen Resilience Center’s Democratic Youth Leaders in Ofakim, a low-income city on the Gazan border. Ofakim suffered 50 casualties in this horrific war, and many residents were injured (Population 33,519).

The Democratic Youth Leadership group is an amazing cross-generational multi-ethnic group comprising Ashkenazim, Mizrachim, Ethiopian Israelis, neurotypical participants with an older participant with disabilities, different socioeconomic backgrounds and faith identities. We’ve run seminars on democratic principles, conflict resolution/mediation, and the connection between democracy and environment. It’s foundational work for teens who live in Israel’s geographic, economic and social periphery, disadvantaged in several realms. These acute disparities shape social status, income, access to education and social services. We wanted to equip young people with tools to bolster their education and afford them tools for social change. It’s been a great success.

Now we seek to give them a calm, peaceful place to heal. They love coming to the soothing pastoral Jerusalem Forest, where our offices are located. It’s near Yad Vashem, an ocean of greenery and quiescence. We’d like to raise money for a wellbeing seminar after the war that will allow them healing togetherness time in familiar surroundings. A one-night seminar including accommodations costs $5000. If we raise more, we can extend it to two nights or do a second seminar. If the spirit moves you, you can support these programs via this link or share with anyone else who’d like to do so.

Here’s a photo of the teens in the lovely forest during brighter days and more peaceful times.

I also want to share some video links that the teens prepared from previous seminars: this uplifting video preceded a seminar; this video captured the environmental seminar, and this link captured a previous seminar Ofakim.

2. BEDOUIN YOUNG LEADERSOur eyes and hearts are also with the Bedouin villages, recognized and unrecognized, in the Southern Negev desert, where we’ve run educational programming and have many colleagues and friends.  The victims of the October 7th attack by Hamas include 19 members of the Negev Bedouin Arab community and 7 hostages. Many live below the poverty line, and about half live outdoors. They lack proper protective structures, and Bedouin children were also killed. Some 60 percent of the community is under 18.

In the past two years, the Adam Institute has run educational programs for the student leadership program of Desert Stars Institute, which brings together mission-driven young people to realize their individual and collective potential as change-making leaders. The programs are especially important because the economic, social and civic disparities are even more amplified among the Bedouin population, with its patriarchal tradition and complexity of its socio-demographic structure.

About 130 Bedouin young leaders were given democratic tools for social change, using “Betzavta- Adam Institute’s facilitation method“. For many, this was the first time to explore the right to equality, housing, civic rights, women’s rights, etc… They requested additional programs for this year, and we would like to accede that request. Here’s a photo from a previous seminar:

Learning happens through discovery – strengthening identity and granting legitimacy to all kinds of feelings/perspectives. Drawing on decades of experience, the Adam Institute is creating educational materials for students nationwide. That includes children.

3. CHILDREN’S LEARNING IN WARTIME: The Adam Institute’s programming for ages 5-8 comprises stories, songs, art and play to facilitate emotional expression, bolster a sense of belonging and validate difference in response to extreme situations. The program for ages 9-12, based on an experiential interactive exhibit, comprises games and educational tasks that teach discrimination, scapegoating, tolerance, diversity, and bullying. Participants learn equality, accepting difference, and the right to dignity; they’re encouraged to draw on personal experience. Both programs are suited to learning at home, in the classroom, or on Zoom.

Investing in youth is investing in our future. In the aforementioned examples, the youth leadership share lessons learned in Adam Institute seminars with peers in their programs, classrooms and communities, adding resonance and value. Children are given tools to process complicated events and their feelings in creative and constructive ways, with the support of their teachers and parents.

In times of war and distress, communal resilience provides a vital source of strength. We are a part of that right now. The young democratic leaders tell us that programs like ours helped foster solidarity and bolstes their ability to withstand extreme situations, like we’re facing today.

Initiating these projects is an attempt to do good for some young people who are going to need it. They’ve already told us as much. Helping children process these very trying times is also an overriding goal of ours.

Great educational responsibility rests on our shoulders. We’re committed to doing it. We’ll vigorously continue our work to promote Israeli democracy, shared living between Israeli Jews and Arab citizens of the state, and peace with the countries of the region.

It may sound lofty, but we know that there is no other way forward.

I won’t lie. These are painful and scary times.

We’d greatly welcome your partnership and support. This link takes you to our donation page, with various currency options available. Every sum will be allocated towards healing and building our future.

Please feel free to share this email with friends and individuals for whom our message might resonate. You may sign up for your mailing list via this link.

May we know better days.

 

In gratitude,

Uki

Dr. Uki Maroshek-Klarman

Executive Director

The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peaces

ukimaroshek@gmail.com/uki@adaminstitute.org.il

Uki Maroshek-Klarman

Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace’s executive director and one of its founders. She created “Betzavta – Adam Institute’s facilitation method” to make democracy education accessible to all. The method offers engaging, experiential learning rooted in philosophy, sociology, social psychology—and fun. Dr. Maroshek-Klarman has developed numerous programs on democracy, civic and peace education and published books and articles. She has a doctorate in political philosophy from Tel Aviv University.

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