Monday, April 29, 2019

A New Place, A New Time

My first experience working with the Bedouin with A New Dawn in the Negev of Israel was in the
 summer of 2017, almost two years after coming to Israel. I was invited to participate as an English teacher, allowing me to get to know many of the young Bedouin of Rahat as well as fellow English 

teachers in the community

From this experience I got to know Bedouin culture better than I had with Masa, or I ever could academic or sociological studies; as I was not just invited to see the community, but take part in it as well. I was given a traditional kafiya, I tried Bedouin style pizza (lots of corn!) and even made lifelong friends, one of whom was also the first person to actually encourage my system of belief in Israel gifting me a small, very old Buddha that she had found in the desert

She has probably been my best friend in Israel, truthfully. And it was through A New Dawn in the Negev I was able to forge that kinship. A New Dawn in the Negev works diligently to show the world who they and their culture are by not just holding cultural demonstrations, but actively inviting those of other communities, from anywhere in the world, to take part in their lives

Bedouin culture is famous for their hospitality, and the traveler with good will and honest intent to learn will find kinship in such faraway places from their own

It is in this way people get an authentic experience working with the Bedouin, and seeing far more than if they were a passing tourist or aide helper who will only be able to act on a surface level. By taking part you are not just made to feel welcome, but become a part of the tapestry of memory it creates

And if for no other reason, the best fish I have had was in the cultural home of desert nomads, going for the unexpected familiarity will demonstrate most tangibly that positive relationships are not only possible, but necessary, and in this A New Dawn in the Negev acts diligently

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Meet Jamal Alkirnawi

Jamal Alkirnawi is an entrepreneur and the founder and executive director of A New Dawn in the Negev, a Bedouin-Jewish organization in Israel, that has operated for over ten years. A passionate visionary, the organization is a manifestation of his desire to raise the level of education for the Bedouin community in Israel’s Negev region.
Jamal’s deep experience in the field sources from his bachelor’s degree in public health administration and two graduate degrees:  a master’s of social work from McGill University (Canada) with a specialization in peacebuilding and civil society, and a Mandel MBA in social leadership from his alma mater, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
A social activist since youth, Jamal grew up in the Bedouin community in Israel and rose through the university system, integrating his own experiences and successes to become the academic counselor for Arab students at Ben-Gurion University, where he worked for 7 years. This has had a great impact on rising graduation rates, as well as better education for bedouins.
Jamal believes that the key for the Bedouin development is through superior education. A high quality of education will prevent the city’s high drop-out rate and the risky behaviors practiced by Bedouin youth; teaching them to become responsible, ethical, and committed citizens in Israeli communities, while providing programs for High tech education. This process must begin in infancy, he asserts, combatting the gaps between Arabs and Jews that begin at birth and continues on through the lifecycle. A New Dawn is committed to this ideal through all of its programs and believes that it should be the highest public priority. His vision is for Bedouin in the near future to be involved with global development, volunteering in Israel, and interacting with other international communities.
For his innovative work in the community, Jamal was recognized in 2014 by the Recanati-Kop-Chais-Rashi Award for Entrepreneurship in Social Work (Honorable Mention). He was recognized by the Tikvah Fund president Reuven-Rivlin with the Israel Hope award in 2018 at Ben-Guirion University. He is a gather fellow of the Goldin Institute (
He continues to travel internationally to increase awareness of Bedouin community and culture, as well as to network for more partnerships to participate in exchange and improve educational programs. A New Dawn in the Negev recently hosted international exchange students, as well as bringing Bedouin students abroad to visit, as well as cultural programs to bring the Bedouin Negev communities into close friendship with local communities.

If you would like to contact Jamal Alkirnawi, please contact him via facebook, or at

היאבקות מחברת בין קהילות - Wrestling connect communities

The Maccabi Beer Sheva Association is headed by Leonid Shulman, who has been known in Beer Sheva neighborhoods for years. Boys and girls from the age of six can find not only the wrestling classes but also a warm home for their afternoons, where homework help can be obtained as well as friendship in two different but very close communities coming together.

According to Jamal Alkirnawi, founder and director of the association A New Dawn in the Negev (, "The programs are to connect communities, those of Bedouins and Jews to enable social barriers to be broken and see common good."

Jamal and Leonid, each in his own community, understand the importance of formal education and informal education. The two social activists were happy for the opportunity to bring the populations of Beer Sheva and Rahat closer together, and since the end of October, a bus has come to the school in Rahat at 3 PM, and the group, together with an accompanying spa, is traveling to Be'er Sheva. They arrive at the recently renovated Maccabi AMI hall, where they dress and then prepare for the class. The group consists of fourteen boys and girls from Rahat who come three times a week for the wrestling department in Be'er Sheva to join an existing group of local Beer Sheva children.

Leonid, and his assistant coach, his son Yuri (ranked No. 3 in the world under the age of 23) are waiting for them and together with the team from Be'er Sheva, there is an hour of running, jumping, flips and various wrestling exercises.

In their eyes this is the long road where building a champion begins.

Leonid says, "In the first few encounters there were some discipline problems, and the children were very excited though it was not easy for them to listen to me ... I feel that today they are more relaxed and we can already see interaction between the children from both cities."

And according to the organizers, the class is only the beginning.

A tournament is already planned in the spring with the participation of the children and their parents. After the tournament there will be refreshments and social activities in the hope of deepening the relationship between the parents of both communities. Thanks to the Schwartz Family who support the effort, do not regard the new department activity as a single one-year occasion, and it is expected to continue for the coming years, as well as expand. They have already begun this in the greatest of spirits for their proud community endeavour.

לאוניד שולמן, העומד בראש עמותת מכבי באר שבע, הוא דמות מוכרת בקרב תושבי באר שבע.
ילדים וילדות המשתתפים בחוג ההיאבקות של לאוניד, מוצאים במסגרת הזו לא רק חוג, אלא גם בית חם בשעות אחה״צ בו הם יכולים לקבל עזרה בשיעורי הבית וגם מקום ליצור חברות ושותפות בין שתי קהילות שונות אך שכנות.

ג׳מאל אלקירנאווי, מנכ״ל ומייסד עמותת השחר החדש בנגב רואה בחוג ההאיבקות של לאוניד, המפגיש ילדים בדואים ויהודים יחד בחוג אחד, הזדמנות לחבר בין שתי הקהילות, לנפץ חסמים חברתיים ולמצוא את הטוב המשותף.

ג׳מאל ולאוניד, כל אחד בקהילה שלו, מבינים את החשיבות של חינוך פורמאלי ובלתי פורמאלי.
שני הפעילים החברתיים שמחו להוציא לפועל את החזון לחבר בין שתי הקהילות והחל מאוקטובר מגיע אוטובוס שאוסף קבוצת ילדים מרהט בשעה 3 אחה״צ ומוביל אותם לחוג בבאר שבע
הילדים מגיעים לאולם המשופץ של מכבי ע.מ.י, שם הם מתלבשים ומתכוננים לקראת השיעור
בקבוצה יש 14 בנים ובנות מרהט והם מצטרפים שלוש פעמים בשבוע לחוג ההיאבקות המתקיים בבאר שבע.

לאוניד ועוזר המאמן שלו, בנו יורי (מקום 3 בעולם מתחת לגיל 23) מחכים לילדים ויחד עם ילדי הקבוצה הקיימת בבאר שבע עוברים שעה של ריצה, קפיצה, גלגול ותרגילי היאבקות שונים שהם הדרך בעיני המאמנים, לבניית אלופי המחר.

״במפגשים הראשונים, חווינו בעיות משמעת עם הילדים ולמרות שהם היו נלהבים, היה להם קשה להקשיב לי״ מספר לאוניד. ״אני מרגיש שהיום הם רגועים יותר וניתן לראות את האינטראקציה הטובה בין הילדים שתי הערים״.

מארגני היוזמה הזו מצהירים שהחוג הוא רק ההתחלה.
בימים אלו, החל ארגון של טורניר היאבקות שעתיד להתקיים באביב בהשתתפות הילדים ובנוכחות הוריהם
בסיום האירוע, יהנו המשתתפים מכיבוד ושתייה ומגוון פעילויות חברתיות במטרה להעמיק את הקשר גם בקרב הורי הילדים משתי הקהילות.

הודות התמיכה הרבה של משפחת שוורץ, היוזמה היא לא חד שנתית אלא מתוכננת להמשיך ולהתקיים בשנים שיבואו ולהתרחב וכבר החלו המאמצים להמשיך ולתרום לקהילה ולתוכנית המבורכת הזו
Wrestling to connect and integrate communities

Students of Salahdin school from Rahat