Teachers’ Lounge Moves Forward in a Post-October 7 World

February 28, 2024

People looking at the sunset in Jerusalem

The HUC-JIR Teachers’ Lounge program, accredited by the Israeli Ministry of Education, promotes multicultural tolerance and peaceful shared society. Teachers’ Lounge brings together Arab and Jewish educators to create an open dialogue centered on overcoming barriers to peaceful coexistence. At the heart of the program are the participating teachers who serve as moral, civic, and educational role models for students in every community.

After October 7, many teachers who intended to join the program experienced a breach of trust and decided not to join us. Despite the war, and after a few months’ delay, we opened a uni-national program in Jerusalem.

The first multinational session in Jerusalem was held at the end of February and exceeded expectations. After introductions, participants were paired off to get to know each other and the conversations flowed smoothly despite language barriers. Participants gained understanding and opened conversations about the situation as experienced across differences.

Building on the success, we recently opened the Tel Aviv–Jaffa section. The group consisted of Arabs and Jews who expressed a desire to continue meeting as a multinational group, rather than a uni-national one. There was a sense of curiosity, openness, and positive energy from everyone involved.

These meetings inspire hope that bridges of trust can be built, and the power of educators to help pave the way to building those bridges.

Learn about the Teachers’ Lounge program