The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ)'s flagship Jewish-Arab relations program is titled “Meeting Neighbors.” This program brings together Jewish families from Reform communities across the country with Arab families in nearby localities. With professional facilitation, the participants go through a process of getting to know each other on a personal basis, leading to the formation of personal relationships, discussing topics of mutual interest, undoing stereotypes and breaking barriers. The participants leave the program after having formed genuine friendships and rediscovering their neighbors.
The groups are made up of six families on each side – Jewish and Arab. Due to the setup of the program, we ensure that the families who join are made up of the same general constellation, i.e. two parents with children. The families are paired up according to familial similarities so to develop personal relationships with one another. To do so, each session includes a lunch break, at which point the paired families break off to private homes to dine together and get to know each other better. In order to ensure equality in all aspects as best as possible, the meetings take place in the Jewish and Arab localities, respectively.
The group meets for seven monthly facilitated meetings. The meetings include facilitated discussions, outings to cultural venues, joint meals, holiday-related programs and more. The final session is a celebratory one organized by the participants themselves.
This is a unique IMPJ program. The IMPJ has been using the Givat Haviva Educational Seminar as the professional service provider for facilitation and content development.