In its seventh year of success, the Shonim B’yahad artistic educational project endowing the values of equality, tolerance and inclusion of each other, by recognizing our shared humanity, has touched the hearts of hundreds of visitors.
Shonim culminates in an exhibition of the art work, which was created by students of the participating school from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Hundreds of works have been submitted and selected by our panel of judges, comprised of experts in the arts and education. The chosen works were enlarged and exhibited on the walls of Dizengoff Center, Israel’s busiest shopping mall located in the heart of Tel Aviv and at the Jaffa Port, another heavily trafficked tourist area.
The project began at the Museum of the Seam in Jerusalem, and was then adopted and renewed by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee in Florida, USA, under the name Embracing Our Differences. The Federation has since remained a devoted partner of this project in Israel.
In 2015, at the opening ceremony, we were honored to welcome, among other distinguished guests, Mrs. Nechama Rivlin, First Lady of Israel, and Mr. Asaf Zamir, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv. Both spoke passionately on the values such a project promotes. In fact, following the opening ceremony, Mrs. Rivlin wrote on the President of Israel’s official Facebook page that:
“This exhibition can teach us all a lesson about humanity, tolerance and inclusion. On patience and the love of humankind. We must have this hope, the ability of the youth to feel, even beyond what you see. To look forward. I am hopeful that this wonderful project will continue to succeed and will be a center for encounters between youths of different religions, ethnicity and [societal] sectors.“
Today, there is a threat to the delicate tapestry which makes up the Israeli society. Particularly now, it is imperative to promote this initiative and the values of inclusion and equality it promotes among students. We were so proud to bring the winning artwork to the United States for exhibitions across the country, to Atlanta, Washington, DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and more! Among the participating congregations and organizations included:
– Temple Sinai of Washington, DC
– Temple Sinai of Atlanta
– Jewish Funder’s Conference
If you would like to bring the artwork and spirit of this project to your community, please contact Noga Gonen-Caspi at firstname.lastname@example.org.