Beit Hagefen: Asaf Ron and Olfat Haider in the U.S. Northeas...

Beit Hagefen: Asaf Ron and Olfat Haider in the U.S. Northeast

May 5 - 17, 2012 12:00am - 12:00am

Asaf Ron and Olfat Haider of Beit Hagefen will visit Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC on their upcoming trip to the Northeast United States. Please contact Beit Hagefen or the Task Force to arrange a meeting or speaking engagement. Download this document to learn more about Beit Hagefen. ( Click here to read about Olfat's accomplishments in Ha'aretz. ( Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Center was established in Haifa in1963 for the purpose of bringing together Arabs and Jews and educating towards coexistence, neighborliness and tolerance by means of cultural and artistic activities, festivals, meetings and community activity . Beit Hagefen is a non-profit organization, supported by the Haifa Municipality, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, donations and sponsorships. Beit Hagefen operates on the local, national and international level. Beit Hagefen's Board of Directors comprises 14 members (7 Jews + 7 Arabs). Beit Hagefen Activities The Holiday of Holidays Festival Coexistence Walks in Wadi Nisnas Visitors Center and Meetings The Arab Culture Month Festival Elkarma- the Arab Theater of Beit-Hagefen Library and Children's Cultural Center -Clore Events and special activities Bios Asaf Ron, Executive Director Asaf Ron was born in Haifa, Israel. He holds a B.A degree in Education and in Israel Studies. He also has an M.P.A in Public Administration from Haifa University. Asaf served in the I.D.F as a Medic from 1979-1983 Asaf supervised the Haifa Chapter of the Israel Scouts Youth Movement and has worked at the Haifa Municipality as a youth worker, responsible for Leadership Development and Training in Haifa's High-Schools and youth movements. In 1990 Asaf established "Hevra Aheret" - an Institute that offered Organizational Development services focusing on Leadership training, interpersonal communication, Team building for Schools, Municipalities, the I.D.F. From 2000-2003, Asaf served as the Israeli Emissary (Educator) on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel to the West Hartford & CT Jewish community. Upon returning to Israel, he was recruited to the roll of Director at boarding home for children at risk in Tiberias. In 2006 Asaf was appointed as the Director of the Education Department at the Gilboa Regional Council, and managed 13 Arab and Jewish Schools. Since June 2010, Asaf has served as the Executive Director of Beit Hagefen - a Jewish and Arab Culture and Education nonprofit in Haifa; its mission is to educate and instill a multicultural and mutual understanding among communities and ethnic groups in Haifa and around Israel. Asaf lives with his wife Iris, 16 years old twins Nir & Ofir, and 20 year old daughter -Gal . The family lives in Gan Ner, a community village 30 miles East of Haifa, on the Gilboa Mountain. Olfat Haider, Program Director Click here to read about Olfat's accomplishments in Ha'aretz. Olfat Haider was born and raised in Haifa, Israel, where she lives today. As an outstanding young volleyball player, she joined the Israeli National Women's Team, as its only Arab member. Olfat has always combined her love of sports and the land with her desire to bring people together. In addition to earning her B.Ed. in Physical Education, she also completed a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Gender Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Olfat has been involved in several projects promoting peaceful co-existence between Jewish and Arab youth in Israel. She has also led and facilitated numerous multicultural and multi-ethnic groups of various ages in wide-ranging projects and initiatives. "When Jews and Arabs are brought together under challenging conditions, away from everything known and familiar," she says, "they come to a point where they drop their masks and, with them, layers of separation. They discover that, in the end, they are much more alike than they thought, as beneath their ethnic or national identity they are all, first and foremost, human beings." In 2004, Olfat joined three other participants of Palestinian origin and four Jewish Israelis as a team member of "Breaking the Ice". The project had them sail from South America to Antarctica, where the group climbed a previously un-summited peak and named it the "Israeli-Palestinian Friendship Mountain." In 2005, Olfat became a certified instructor at the Outward Bound School in North Carolina, where she worked in the Unity Project with various American ethnic groups. There, she also began working with Arab-Jewish groups and helped to create the Palestinian-Israeli Unity Project (PIUP), a joint effort between Outward Bound and "Breaking the Ice". This project brought Arab and Jewish teenagers from Israel to the mountains of North Carolina for intensive wilderness expeditions. In 2007, Outward Bound authorized Olfat to establish its branch in Israel. Currently, Olfat is working at Beit Hagefen -- an Arab-Jewish Center in Haifa -- as its Program Manager. One of her projects involves leading an annual student expedition to the Alps. Olfat Haider continues with her sports activities as a hobby. Currently, she is training for and competing in triathlon competitions and running long distances. In between, Olfat continues to climb mountains around the globe.