In April 2013 I traveled to Haifa, Israel to facilitate a community mural project as part of the Boston-Haifa Connection’s new initiative called Horim Bamercaz. Boston and Haifa are sister cities with joint programming opportunities supported by CJP (the Jewish Federation in Boston). Horim Bamercaz is a program offering resources and services to new parents to support them in making healthy choices for their children in an attempt to lower the number of “at-risk” youth in the city.
The mural was designed and painted by the community—including parents, children, local students and women from Boston—over 150 people (young and old) participated in the project that was completed in only two-and-a-half days! Though we experienced some challenges along the way, the community came together and created something beautiful that they will be able to enjoy for many years to come. We were fortunate to welcome participants from the Women’s Philanthropy Mission to represent the Boston connection and paint alongside local Israelis.
About the mural: participants brainstormed the theme of “Connections” and discussed various connections including the connection between Boston and Haifa, the connection between parent and child, the connection between kids, etc. They chose to represent this theme with a mural of Haifa on one side and Boston on the other, being bridged by the handprints of all those who participated in the project from Haifa and from Boston. There is a child singing on either side with the letters of the alphabet and Alef Bet creating one shared musical language. The water celebrates that both are coastal cities and the birds flying overhead say “peace” in the five languages spoken by those in the neighborhood (English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and Amharic). Mother and child share the warmth of their love in the sun on the left and the father and child share their laughter and light in the moon on the right.
Special thanks to Ariel, Ruth, Vered, Stacey, Caryn, Hilla, Shani, Suhair, and Naty for all of their help in making this possible.
The original blog post and more pictures can be found here.