מאוחדים, UNITEDمتحدون
Dear Friends,
My mother taught me this poem.  Its stirring words celebrate humanity's ability to triumph over any obstacle with vision, courage, and determination.  They provide both inspiration and comfort.
Jerusalem Peacebuilders lives by these words.  Our interfaith, bi-communal mission now faces new levels of suspicion and intransigence due to COVID-19, political malaise, and underfunded schools in Israel and Palestine alike.  But we remain determined. 'Tis the will of the soul that decides the goal and not the calm or strife.
Since October, JPB's small staff of four educators and three interns has
  • Forged connections with local NGOs to offer needed leadership training to teens and community leaders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Launched an online staff-training program to prepare an entire second cadre of professional educators recruited from JPB alumni and volunteers
  • Expanded our work with Israeli Ministry of Education's Learning Together and Excellence on the Periphery programs, gaining access to 20 new schools
  • Deepened our involvement with interfaith education in Houston 
These are no ordinary times, but come what may, either online or in-person, we will continue to cross barriers, empower educators, train community leaders, mentor youth, build common ground, and promote peace.  We are united in our determination to advance this sacred mission.
Thank you for joining us as we chart this life-changing course.  'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales that decides which way to go.
Peace, שלום ,سلام
(The Rev. Canon) Nicholas Porter
Founding Director, Jerusalem Peacebuilders
New schools, new teachers, new opportunities
A teacher shares her identity word cloud 
during the JPB training
Our online education programs are now underway in several schools across the Holy Lands! Last week, we successfully ran our first Teacher Training workshop in which multiple English teachers from different sectors participated. The teachers are receiving training on our high school program, as their high school students are participating in the program. In the training, the teachers learned more about JPB's curriculum and engaged in some dialogue and storytelling exercises. JPB works with a wide array of partners in advancing our school programs, including the Amal Network, the Israeli Ministry of Education program "Excellence in the Periphery", and the Jerusalem Municipality "Shared Learning" program. Over the next two months we will work with over 100+ students and teachers and from varying backgrounds.  In the new year, we will more than double that number.

Outside of Shared Learning, we will be working with students in a primarily uni-national format with the goal of developing a Level Two Online Program of cross-border activities and workshops. Both participants and teachers have been very enthusiastic, and we have already received a lot of positive feedback!

Youth peacebuilders reconnect and continue learning
After four successful online Summer Institutes, the team moved forward with organizing a series of virtual reunions for mid-October. We originally planned to hold the events in-person and outdoors, but Israel was soon gripped by a paralyzing second wave of COVID-19 cases. Even though the country ordered a second lockdown, our community proved that it wanted to stay connected no matter what. Everyone was happy to share stories, play games, and simply be together again; as friends, as peacebuilders, as leaders.

At the reunions, we announced the launch of an exciting Online Alumni Program. For the next seven months, JPB alumni will be invited to join a series of webinar sessions featuring guest speakers, sharing holiday recipes, learning more about our religions, panel discussions, and much more! The program will offer our community the perfect space continue learning, growing, and supporting one another.

We held our first online alumni forum last week, which featured Prof. Seth Cantey of Washington and Lee University. Prof. Cantey spoke to the group about the recent Abraham Accords and their impact on the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. After the presentation, alumni asked questions and engaged in a respectful dialogue on the Accords and their work as peacebuilders. Holiday foods will feature at our next forum in December, with more to follow! 
Middle East team hones skills while building trust
Last week, our Jerusalem Regional Co-Director, Sarah Aweidah, and our Senior Educator and Curriculum Advisor, Sarah Benazera, participated in the ALLMEP Storytellers Workshop. The workshop was held online and included many JPB partner organizations and peacebuilding colleagues. The workshop helped our team develop their storytelling skills while providing a space to build trust and network. Through storytelling we overcome one of the biggest challenges we face as peacebuilders, as we work with young leaders to share their narratives. These storytelling skills are already proving to be essential in our work with youth and community leaders in the West Bank.
Reflections on peacebuilding and joining the team
JPB is pleased to welcome Noelle Boyd as a US-based Program Assistant. Noelle recently graduated from New York University and connected with JPB over the summer. Below, she reflects on her hire and journey as a peacebuilder:  

"Thinking about my swift entrance into this incredible organization and larger, innovative mission for peace, I can honestly say that JPB first chose me." 

After recently graduating from NYU in the spring, I stumbled upon JPB's website late in the summer. I was searching for an opportunity to grow my passion for people-to-people connection, teaching, and understanding some of humanity's most pressing issues - all from my hometown here in Houston. At the time, I hadn't realized just how much of a force the field of 'peacebuilding' was in the diplomatic relations world - my career trajectory of interest - sharing many roots, theories, and frames in common with what I had loved so dearly in my undergraduate studies of Anthropology at NYU. 

Though feeling severely under-qualified in my ability to contribute effectively to the dialogue around healing and reconciliation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least on a personal level, I decided that I would simply start with telling my story. I've always been drawn to that: storytelling, dialogue, facilitation, and conversation. And, as it turns out, that is exactly what the heart of JPB is all about: drawing like-minded individuals from all walks of life, ages, faiths and fortitudes into a space to grow and be challenged as new narratives are placed on the table. 

Photos from Noelle's life changing pilgrimage to the Holy Land during university

In my email, to who would later become my future boss - the wonderful Jack Karn, Program Director of JPB, I detailed my personal connections and questions regarding the Holy Land. I told of my travels there as a junior through NYU's Israel Insights program for campus leaders. I connected my revelations from that trip to my subsequent decision to study abroad in Ghana as a senior. I painted the picture and passion of mine to serve in ministry all four years I schooled in the city- both on my colorful campus and in the craziness of the concrete jungle at my local church. After a few interviews and insightful conversations, I found myself soon joining the JPB family in their journey towards peace, and my vision for both my career and call have never been the same."
Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world