Elul 5779, September 2019

Dr. Chaim Peri, featured presenter

Shalom Shalom my friends,

Post-elections here, and pre-Rosh HaShana, give me an “excuse” to write you. With the world changing so rapidly, the simple sense of friendship and connectedness becomes essentially important.

Yesterday – the day after our second national elections of 2019 – I was scheduled to meet the faculty of a school for disadvantaged youth in the Arab town of Sakhnin. It also happened to be my Hebrew calendar birthday, which I regard as an occasion for looking ahead with hope and making good wishes for family, friends nation and world.

The inpouring election results accompanied me on the road to the Galilee, and I was thinking that the emerging outcome paves the way for much-needed unity. This would mean that we have internalized the lessons from our painful history – in which divisiveness has led to the loss of Jewish sovereignty.

Back to Sakhnin… Like in other Arab schools that are now part of the Village Way movement, I felt in the educators an unquestionable wish to belong, to be welcomed and accepted as equals into our civil society. Their Hebrew is impeccable, and there is a strong feeling of shared “Israeliness”. In a nutshell, this is what the Village Way is doing: realizing inclusiveness beyond denominational and cultural differences. This goes hand in hand with our commitment to invest in the present for the sake of the future. Because every educational opportunity that is grasped and every child that is impacted have existential, long-term and far-reaching implications.

Whenever we set out on a journey, it is our custom to say the Tefilat HaDerech – the prayer for a safe journey. At this crossroad of a new year and new beginnings, I think there is nothing more appropriate than to bless us all with the words of this ancient prayer:

“May it be Your will, HaShem, that You should lead us in peace and direct our steps in peace, and guide us in peace, and support us in peace, and cause us to reach our destination in life, joy, peace and safety”. Amen!

Shana Tovah of good tidings,


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The Village Way in Sakhnin, September 18, 2019

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