MAIN CHARACTER UPDATES
In alphabetical order
Adi (Israeli, Jewish): After graduating from the University of Haifa with degrees in Literature, Counseling and Human Development, Adi started working with three amazing non-profits. At Oranim College’s “Rabin Social Leadership Program,” she is supervising two teams of Israelis who are teaching at-risk youth with leadership potential. As an educator in Branco Weiss’ “Young Thinkers Program,” Adi is teaching 1st – 6th graders thinking skills through games, art and role playing that will serve them as they mature in a diverse society. As a coordinator in Tseva’s “Youth Building a Future” after-school enrichment program, Adi is supervising volunteers and teaching 25 underprivileged elementary school children, creating a warm and inspiring space for all. The goal of the program is to overcome the widening socio-economic gaps within Israeli society by promoting educational equality and social responsibility. Adi and her partner, also named Adi, are living in a village near Haifa. They inherited a garden with three chickens and couldn’t be happier!
Gal (Israeli, Jewish): After graduating from Ben Gurion University with a degree in Political Science, Gal spent three months in the Republic of Benin in West Africa volunteering for Songhai. The organization works with young adults to promote a “new African society by developing a continual focus on sustainable socio-economic entrepreneurship,” mainly in agriculture. Gal was working at The Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED), and as the Building Bridges Middle East Coordinator, when she received the spectacular news that she was accepted into the Israeli Government’s new Civil Service Cadet Program! Gal is one of 30 participants (selected from 650 applicants) chosen for this prestigious six-year program, which includes getting a Master’s in Public Policy from Hebrew University and doing four years of civil service in different ministries. Gal’s goal is to work in the Israeli government to ensure that minorities receive equal rights and just treatment in Israel. She and her life partner Nati, whom she met at Ben Gurion University, are incredibly happy together.
Hanin (Palestinian Israeli, Muslim): After studying “sha’aria,” Islamic Law, at the University of Jordan, Hanin returned home to Northern Israel. For the past two years, she has been teaching 1st through 4th grade students at a Bedouin school in the Negev. She has an impressive course load, teaching seven classes a day of Arabic or Islamic Studies to more than 200 students! For the past few years, Hanin has been writing about her personal experiences as independent thinking, feminist, devout Muslim woman – and two publishers are interested in her work. She remains passionate about Islamic studies, world religions, politics, foreign affairs and foreign languages. Hanin’s dream is to get a masters degree in Turkey. She plans to continue teaching and wants become a journalist, like her father Khaled.
Rawan (Palestinian, Muslim): After earning a master’s degree in social work at McGill University in Canada, through their International Community Action Network (ICAN), Rawan was a community organizer at Al-Quds University’s Women Empowerment Center in Jerusalem. She has taught at Al-Quds University’s School of Social Work for years, supervising students in their field practices. After serving in various roles with Building Bridges for over a decade, Rawan is now the Executive Director of Building Bridges ME-US, based in Jerusalem. She works in collaboration with the U.S. Program Director and the Middle East home group leaders to create and develop programming for Building Bridges participants and alumni. Rawan has worked with diverse Palestinian groups using a feminist lens to address issues of injustice, conflict, and marginalization, and how it relates to identity.
Rezan (Palestinian, Christian): After completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Media Studies at City University in London, Rezan worked as a researcher with Exeter University’s “Conflict In Cities” program. She now has a thriving photography business in her hometown of Jerusalem, specializing in newborn, children, teen, family, engagement, wedding and event photography. Rezan is making a name for herself as a Palestinian woman in a largely male field. She gets bookings months in advance and her work is being featured in magazines. Rezan visits her sister Joline in the New York area at least once a year. If you are interested in hiring her to photograph your family or for a special occasion, she would love to hear from you!