Accepting Diversity

With so much bountiful rain this week it was hard to go outside

and even harder was to get out of bed from under the warm covers.

Holding a dripping umbrella on the windy streets,

on the buses or light rail train, while trying to stay dry, was a real challenge.

Jerusalem light rail train, Machane Yehudah station, rain

Like this scene at the Machane Yehuda light rail train station,

Jerusalem was wet, cold and dark much of the week.

Ethiopian immigrants brought their protests to Jerusalem,

and headlines were of religious intolerance and racial discrimination.

It was hard to find something positive to write about.

But then on Sunday, in spite of 28 mm of rain,

more than 145 people attended a symposium entitled,

  “The Challenge of Accepting the Diversity of our Children’s Choices.”

Gilo neigborhood, Beit hayeled

The symposium was held at AMIT Beit Hayeled,

located in the Gilo neighborhood, 

a home to 120 children who for various reasons

had to leave their family’s homes.

 AMIT’s goal is to strengthen Israeli society by educating and

 nurturing children within a framework of academic excellence,

religious values and Zionist ideals.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

 In his opening remarks, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of New York City

spoke of the need for ahava, love.

Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein, professor emerita of the Bar Ilan University

 School of Social Work, who has inspired thousands of students,

said that we should seek a thinking person,

not clones of ourselves from our children.

Benny Lau, Rabbi Benny Lau

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau, who works tirelessly for religious unity,

spoke of the relationship of Avraham and Lot, 

a model of one family member giving space to the other,

while remaining nearby when needed.

Dr Tova Hartman

Dr. Tova Hartman, Bar Ilan University psychology professor and 

 activist for women’s inclusion, stressed the importance of 

parents giving a clear message of their agenda to their children.

The three panelists answered questions after their presentations.

People bundled up and went back out to face the cold winds.

The special speakers at this symposium, spoke of the need 

for tolerance and unity and acceptance of differences.

The teachers in AMIT schools, “just do it” daily.

The AMIT network of 98 schools serves over 25,000 students 

and is supported by many volunteers and generous donors.

With the help she received, the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants

was able to study at the Technion and became a doctor;

 today she is serving in the IDF…

now that is something positive to write about.

14 thoughts on “Accepting Diversity

  • January 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    thanx for being there and taking pics, even in the rain and cold!

  • January 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I love your picture of rabbi benny Lau!! you should send him the picture – I think he would like it.
    Great pictures for a rainy day!

  • January 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Great pictures and so nice to hear about an event like this.

    • January 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks, was not sure how this would be received. There are impressive people working hard to improve things and I think people should hear about it.

  • January 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    kol hakovod! Wonderful to hear such positivism…

  • January 25, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Wonderful article. And wonderful you for seeking it out. I’m sending it to my aunt, Sarah Shane Just keep warm!

  • January 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    It was an outstanding lineup of speakers but I missed some visuals. I wonder are afraid to show a short film like “Trembling Before God”? Do we tremble when we get into the real difficult issues?
    The speakers were excellent. When is phase two on diversity?

  • January 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

    We like AMIT! (and support the organization, too)

    Looks like nasty weather, but I suppose wet in Israel is a good thing.

    Also, regarding tolerance, I always think, what are the boundaries? One person’s tolerable is someone else’s intolerable.

    • January 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Wet weather is a blessing, just wish it was not so cold.
      Sometimes it is much easier to talk about tolerance.
      This week EMUNAH is meeting in Jerusalem, another great women’s organization.


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