Yeru-Shalem: The Coalition for an Inclusive Jerusalem

Yeru-Shalem – The Coalition for an Inclusive Jerusalem - is a Jerusalem based, international venture whose goal is promoting Jerusalem as a heterogeneous, inclusive and creative city and strengthening Jerusalem’s multi-faceted, heterogeneous nature whilst empowering pluralist activity.
Location: Jerusalem
Year founded: 2011

Description

Yeru-ShalemThe Coalition for an Inclusive Jerusalem - is a Jerusalem based, international venture whose goal is promoting Jerusalem as a heterogeneous, inclusive and creative city. Yeru-Shalem was established by a group of active players in Jerusalem’s civil society who are involved in promoting the city, throughout the year, through a broad range of cultural, social and communal activities. The Coalition’s main goals are to strengthen Jerusalem’s multi-faceted, heterogeneous nature whilst empowering pluralist activity, especially within the framework of the inclusive Community Centers, that are connected to a wide variety of organizations involved with issues in civil society and “Jewish renewal”. In addition Yeru-Shalem strives to create a strategic network of players that can play a key role in shaping the character of the city.

Yeru-Shalem envisions Jerusalem as a symbol of tolerance and inclusiveness between all its residents from all traditions and religions and seeks to strengthen a healthy pluralist grassroots community, to fortify Jerusalem’s multi-layered character and empower the activity of the pluralist elements of its civil society, an important cornerstone of the city’s future. 

Jerusalem is both a launching pad for all in the Jewish world as well as a laboratory for experimentation and innovation. Yeru-Shalem seeks to gather the energy that is contained in Jerusalem and convert it into a systemic set of ideas and activities that will impact Israel and the entire Jewish world. Yeru-Shalem aspires for Jerusalem to be a city of lively communities operating within the broader array of its civil society, all contributing to the plurality and richness of this special place. It envisions Jerusalem spearheading the Jewish renaissance of Israel and the innovations that are taking place such as in the conception of Shabbat in modern Israel. 

Yeru-Shalem was created in 2011 by a group of active organizations and individuals in Jerusalem’s civil society. The Yeru-Shalem coalition represents nearly 400,000 residents in pluralist neighborhoods through civil society organizations, as well as individual Jerusalem-based activists.


The Shabbat Initiative

About

Shabbat was chosen as the first
stage of Yeru-Shalem’s message, since it is a unit of time and space whereby
the pluralistic and creative spirit can thrive.  The Shabbat initiative provides opportunities
and accessibility to a variety of Jerusalem's
communities around the city.  In 2013 the
Shabbat project began as a pilot and quickly gained traction and is expanding this year under the name, "Yerushalayim Shel Shabbat." In the
coming years Yeru-Shalem intends to expand and consolidate the Project by
including more organizations, community councils, cultural institutions and
religious communities around the city. The sustainability of the Shabbat
Project will serve to leverage the broader agenda of Yeru-Shalem. 

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

 The Shabbat initiative's objectives are to:

Change the Status Quo regarding the Sabbath in Jerusalem:

· Opening Community Centers, including municipal facilities, in pluralist neighborhoods on Shabbat.

· Opening up the City’s public spaces on Shabbat, through cultural, spiritual and communal events.

· Procuring municipal funding for cultural events on Shabbat (that take place in community centers and cultural institutions).

· Opening additional cultural institutions for Shabbat activity.

· Raising Jerusalem residents’ public awareness of cultural and spiritual events taking place on Shabbat and changing Shabbat leisure habits.

Expanding to as many neighborhoods as possible and diversify the age of participants with an emphasis on young families.

Change Jerusalem’s image as a pluralist city in the eyes of its residents, Israeli citizens and Diaspora Jewry

· Establishing and consolidating a consistent PR strategy for a broad range of Shabbat activities in Jerusalem.

· Promoting the perception of Public Space in Jerusalem as open, inviting, pluralist, and as a meeting point for Jerusalem’s differing populations.

· Exploring Yeru-Shalem’s added value in promoting tolerant, intercultural / religious voices in Jerusalem.




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Program Description

Activities will include:

Significant expansion of activity in Public Spaces on Shabbat and empowering a range of activities in a range of institutions, available on Shabbat.

Creating a permanent media and branding line throughout the year that will inform the public about the various programs.

Financial and logistical support of local activities around the city.

Encouraging partnerships and initiatives that will bring to fruition central, significant, large scale events in public spaces.

Connecting Jerusalem's cultural institutions and increasing their capacity to be active on Shabbat

Facilitation of partnerships and initiatives that will produce events in central locations such as the First Train Station, The Haas Promenade, Nayot Park, etc. In these areas Yeru-Shalem will establish presence in the form of open Kabbalat Shabbat programs, activities around Jewish holidays and more.

Increasing lobbying for pluralist expression and consolidation of the pluralist agenda. This includes meeting with municipal officials and professionals, working with Administrative Directors on budgeting, policy etc., working with cultural institutions and engaging them in the “Shabbat” challenge. 

Increasing collaboration between Jerusalem-based community, cultural and spiritual institutions for increased cultural activity on Shabbat in the public sphere.


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Demonstrated Need

Yeru-Shalem's Shabbat Project is addressing the need to challenge and change the status quo regarding the Shabbat in Jerusalem including:

· 
Opening Community Centers, including municipal facilities,
in pluralist neighbourhoods on Shabbat.

· 
Opening up the City’s public spaces on Shabbat, through
cultural, spiritual and communal events.

· 
Procuring municipal funding for cultural events on Shabbat
(that take place in Community Centers and cultural institutions).

· 
Opening additional cultural institutions for Shabbat
activity.

· 
Raising Jerusalem
residents’ public awareness of cultural and spiritual events taking place on
Shabbat and changing Shabbat leisure habits.



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Program Accomplishments

By creating alternative ways of enjoying and celebrating
Shabbat in Jerusalem,
thousands have attended events in public parts from across the generational
spectrum.

In
addition recruiting the directors of the Community Centers to work together to
lobby the municipality and the mayor regarding decision making on budgetary
allocations has ensured the pluralist voice to be at the table and enabled
important progress towards ensuring that pluralist communities will receive funding for cultural Shabbat activity.


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How do you measure the success of your program?

In 2014 the Jerusalem
Institute for Israel Studies performed an outside evaluation of Shabbat
activities in general, which included Yeru-Shalem coalition activities.
The evaluation intended to address three main goals:

· 
Mapping of all activities that take place on
Shabbat in Jerusalem,
including those associated with the Yeru-Shalem coalition.

· 
Analysis of the changes in visitor numbers to select
cultural institutions between 2008 – 2014.

· 
Analysis of cultural activities on Shabbat in Jerusalem and the changes
in this field, as perceived by city residents (secular and traditional).

Results of this
evaluation include:

· 
63% of residents surveyed believe that the
existence of weekend activities has a major impact on their desire to stay and
live in the city
.

· 
80% of the city’s secular and traditional Jewish
populations believe that there has been an increase in the scope of activities
on weekends in the last year.

· 
89% of respondents feel that cultural and leisure
activity on weekends significantly contributes to the image of a pluralist Jerusalem.

· 
58% responded that such activities strengthen a
feeling of community in the city.

The
evaluation included an Internet-based questionnaire that was distributed with
the assistance of the community centers. Most of the respondents were secular.
Of these, 75% said that they took part in any type of activities on the
weekends, from organized community or cultural activities to patronizing
restaurants or coffee houses. An example of Yeru-Shalem’s activities attended
included a huge event for young secular families in the Nayot Park,
which attracted more than 1,000 people.

Indicators
used in this evaluation will be used to check future progress. These include:

· 
Numbers of spiritual and Jewish-themed events

· 
Numbers of community events

· 
Numbers of cultural events

· 
Open-air events

In
addition to numbers of events held, numbers of participants in each of the
events will also be tracked. Qualitative and quantitative surveys will be
distributed to both participants as well as organizations who produced events,
to provide feedback on activities.

In
terms of progress in lobbying, the official recognition of the needs of the
pluralist communities by the municipality and the mayor and the fact that his
strategic advisors are now in dialogue with Yeru-Shalem has been a great
indicator of success. We hope to see results on the ground in terms of budget
allocations, recognition of needs and Shabbat activity in Community Centers and
additional Cultural Institutions as indicators of success.


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