This Is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge in commemoration of Shira Banki

This Is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge in commemoration of Shira Banki

Our vision 

Jerusalem is a multifaceted and multiethnic city.  It is the home of the three monotheistic religions and diverse ethnic, political, and religious communities.

How is it possible to create a common fabric of life?  How can we learn and teach out of encounter and diversity?  These questions engage many educators in Jerusalem, the city’s cultural heroes, and pioneers of the future by educating youths to turn pluralism into power.

Our activity is devoted to the commemoration of Shira Banki.  Shira was murdered as she participated in a gay pride parade in Jerusalem.  She sought to support the right of every person to do it his/her way.  Shira is an inspiration to all of us.  We wish to be worthy to see ourselves in the Teachers’ Lounge of Shira and her generation, a teachers’ lounge that seeks to follow her way and educate to listen to the diverse human voices that comprise the human wholeness that is Jerusalem – listening from which will grow a story of hope for the State of Israel.

Main Goal

Men and women educators in Jerusalem will be key figures, cultural heroes who will organize meetings between the various communities living in the city.

Pedagogical educational approach

Bringing together children and teenagers from the diverse populations in Jerusalem’s streets is often charged and challenging.  Educators are required to deal with this challenge every day both inside and outside the classroom.  They, people who live in Jerusalem as adults, who are are also, as individuals, coping with fears, dreams, and hopes for change.  The expectation that educators will lead Jerusalem’s next generation to accept the pluralism and diversity of Jerusalem as a source of inspiration and strength, requires that the educators believe in it themselves.  This Is Jerusalem!  – Teachers’ Loungeprogram sees educators as key figures who can instill change.  For this to happen, deep processes need to take place in their meetings.  The Teachers’ Lounge seeks to create a space in which these deep processes will occur through open dialogue between Jerusalem’s educators from the city’s various communities and sectors.

Our experience of recent years indicates that direct meetings between teachers participating in the program also seeps to the classrooms and students in the various communities where the teachers of This Is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge operates.

Activity of This Is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge

Groups of educators from different communities have been meeting for the past three years.    These meetings have resulted in exhibitions which documented the educators and their meetings. The exhibitions were held in various locations in Jerusalem’s public space, and were even shown at schools together with lesson plans and proposals for relevant activities.

Following the teachers’ first year of participation, they continue to be active as leaders of This is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge communities and as entrepreneurial teachers who undertake joint ventures in this spirit at their respective schools.

This Is Jerusalem! – Teachers’ Lounge project has become an important and well-known program in the city.  It is supported by numerous organizations, including the Education Administration at the Jerusalem Municipality, foundations, and the Jerusalem Forum for Jewish Renewal Organizations, and is jointly run by the Department of Education at Hebrew Union College and the Banki family.

Registration to the project and courses: