In May 2021, as tensions between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel roiled, two neighboring cities, Ramleh and Lod, exploded into violence seen around the world.
A pregnant Arab woman was attacked and suffered serious head injuries. A Jewish man was stabbed on his way to synagogue. Some warned of an impending civil war.
While riots overtook the streets, a group of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel met to forge a new path to peace: a bilingual, trauma-informed kindergarten for all parents to raise their children together. In peace.
They named their kindergarten Snobar, which means pinecone in both Arabic and Hebrew. Despite all odds, Snobar soon after opened to serve Jewish, Muslim, and Christian families in Ramleh/Lod.
Ramleh and Lod are mixed cities, meaning that Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel live together. 70% of its population is Jewish, and 30% are Muslims and Christians. The residents of Ramleh and Lod have suffered for many years from heartbreaking violence, most of which is directed at the Muslim and Christian communities.
In Ramleh and Lod, there are few places for Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel to interact and get to know each other. People from different backgrounds typically meet at their children’s schools in other countries. But in Israel, the education system is segregated based on religion and language. For example, kindergartens in Ramleh and Lod are either Hebrew-speaking or Arabic-speaking, and it is impossible to find a bilingual kindergarten. This sets people apart from each other, calcifying misunderstanding, hatred, and fear.
There is a need for a systemic solution to reduce racism, prejudice, and alienation between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, and it can be best delivered in our school system.
This segregation in the Israeli education system has prompted community members to launch programs designed to reduce racism, prejudice, and alienation between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel and to strengthen the values of democracy and pluralism. However, these endeavors have yet to produce widespread, systematic changes.
The parents of Snobar decided to establish a multicultural and human-to-human school based on Waldorf education to create an atmosphere of acceptance, warmth, and guidance that promotes joy, wonder, and reverence. They want education for their children that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as strategies for communal wellness. They also firmly believe that their kindergarten will help their children develop health and resilience
At Snobar, the teachers and parents believe that peace is a daily process. Education should be an example, allowing children of different religions and backgrounds to be together as equals, respected for who they are, and respecting all others.