Hadas Nahar, Part 1

July 15th, 2018

Every morning when I step outside my apartment, conveniently located downtown, an area with plenty of restaurants and bars to hang out at, I am immediately greeted by the vivacious, bustling city that is Haifa. Because of my previous connection to Haifa through the Diller Teen Fellows Program, I decided that this is where I wanted to spend my summer. It is hard to believe that my summer is already halfway over. My love for Haifa, a city I was only remotely familiar with before this summer, has grown tenfold in the few weeks that I have been here. I believe that Haifa is one of the more underrated cities in Israel. It is not only home to the stunning Bahai Gardens, but it is unique in that it is a mixed city where Arabs and Jews live side by side. Because I wanted to learn more about Arab-Jewish coexistence efforts throughout Israel, I decided to intern at Beit Ha’Gefen, an Arab-Jewish Cultural Center in Haifa.

Beit Ha’Gefen strives to promote shared living and mutual understanding between Arabs and Jews through art galleries, workshops, Arab-Jewish youth groups, theater, festivals, and more. It is home to the Clore Library & Cultural Center, the only library in Haifa that contains thousands of books in Arabic alongside Hebrew and English. Beit Ha’Gefen is an incredible organization that is not afraid to ask tough questions and try to promote dialogue and coexistence through a medium that everyone can relate to regardless of religion or nationality; art.

Beit Ha'Gefen Library

Beit Ha’Gefen Library

My internship at Beit Ha’Gefen has been exactly what I wanted out of this summer; it has given me the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of a nonprofit organization, meet people of all backgrounds, and learn about coexistence efforts in Haifa. My internship consists primarily of two parts. Some of the time I am doing administrative work, such as grant research, translations, and generally helping out around the office. I have also been able to sit in and participate in fascinating workshops and tours that Beit Ha’Gefen gives to various groups that come to learn about the organization.

The other bulk of the time, I am helping out at The Achva School, an Arab summer camp located in Wadi Nisnas. Working at the summer camp is exhausting but rewarding; the kids I am working with know little to no English, and I do not speak Arabic or Hebrew; one can see the problem. However, the kids seem to be able to connect with us interns despite the large language barrier. Although we are not equipped with the ability to verbally communicate with the kids, we are easily able to laugh and play and dance and sing. One young girl spent a solid thirty minutes with me, asking me to spin her around and sing Moana to her. Kids are kids. Arab, Jewish, or otherwise. They all just want the same thing, which is to play and have fun.

Summer Camp

Grantee Hadas Nahar with two kids from the Achva Summer Camp

Despite how much I am enjoying and learning from my time at Beit Ha’Gefen, this summer for me is also about more than solely the internship. It is about being in Israel; being immersed in Israeli culture; getting to know the food, the people, the language, questioning everything and deepening my relationship with this country full of its complexities and beauty. Through my internship with Beit Ha’Gefen, and furthermore, through being in Israel and traveling, I see myself achieving these goals that I had set for myself. Over the last few weekends, I have visited friends in Tel Aviv and gotten to experience the beautiful beaches and lively city. I have also taken a day trip to Akko, gone on hikes and to the beach, and explored Haifa with the new friends that I have made on my program. I am planning on traveling to more places in Israel in the second half of my trip and am looking forward to continuing to explore and to continuing my work and learning with Beit Ha’Gefen. I am very grateful that I have four more weeks in this beautiful country and I cannot wait for all that is to come.


Grantee Hadas Nahar on a hike in Haifa

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Allen Kraut  |  August 19th, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Hadas’s description sounds like the greatest combination of a fine opportunity and an intern who has the talent and desire to make the most of it. And she also writes well.
    I predict a wonderful future for this Program and for Hadas!

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