My World Meets Yours The city of Jerusalem invites partners from Germany to digital exchange project

Cover My world meets yours

Cancelled flights, closed borders, exceptional circumstances. Without warning, the Corona pandemic turned physical encounters across national borders into a distant reality for an undefined period of time. Also in Jerusalem - a city that thrives from exchange and constant movement - the municipality soon came up with the question of how encounters between young people could also be brought to life in new, digital spaces.

Innovation rather than stagnation. With a team of educators, technology experts and graphic designers, the municipality of Jerusalem developed a digital program that invites young people from Germany and Israel to listen, discuss and reflect. Over the course of six meetings, participants will have the opportunity to explore Jerusalem from different perspectives and have the chance to get to a better understanding not only of the group, but also of themselves. In order to make the meetings as interesting and entertaining as possible, a variety of interactive tools and methods will be used, ranging from a city tour with VR glasses and a digital escape game to a virtual tour of a Holocaust memorial museum.  A total of 30 participants can take part in the program, which is aimed at young people aged 15 to 16.

Introduction, main part, conclusion. Each session is structured identically in its outline: The first fifteen minutes of the meeting provide time for a brief warm-up and introduction to the day's topic. In the main part, the young people have between 60 to 90 minutes in order to engage creatively and interactively with the specific theme. Finally, another fifteen minutes are left to come together for a final round and reflect on the experience together. After each session, the participants have the opportunity to share their thoughts and impulses with each other on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In addition to the six meetings with the entire group, the young people are also invited to creatively process their impressions in bilateral partner work and present the result in the group at the end of the exchange project. 

Me, My identity, My community. The first part of the meeting begins with a closer look at the participants' personal identity and is designed to help them get to know each other. What makes me who I am? Where do I come from and what do I want to tell the others about myself? Next to a selfie that the young people can upload, they have the opportunity to write a few lines about who they are and share them with the others. A first step towards getting into conversation with each other.

The holy city. The second encounter takes the young people on a digital journey to Jerusalem. In a virtual city tour, they learn about different perspectives on the city that is so rich in history and have the opportunity to discover many new places. Is there anything that already connects them to the city? A glance at the different sights and the history invites them to reflect on their own relationship with Jerusalem.

The past and our responsibility to remember. The third part is dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and the resulting responsibility for today's generations. During a digital visit to a memorial museum, numbers turn into people with names, faces and stories.

My country and yours. What connects Germany and Israel? How can relations be strengthened and what role do young people play in this? After a brief introduction to the historical, cultural and social relations between the countries, there will be time at the fourth meeting to discuss these questions with each other.

Religions and communities. The fifth session focuses on Israel's cultural and religious diversity. In a virtual Escape Game, the young people learn about the country's different religious movements and communities. Is there a place on the religious map where the young people would place themselves?  Again, there is room for reflection on one's own imprint and history.

Eine diverse Gruppe junger Menschen im Comicstil, darüber steht der Schriftzug "Final project - my journey"

Last but not least: The final project. In the course of the project, the young people repeatedly come together in groups of two in order to exchange ideas and express their thoughts and impressions in a creative project. Before the participants say goodbye to each other after an eventful time, they have the opportunity to mutually present the results of the partner work in the last session.

The purpose: Understanding and tolerance. The perspectives and themes of the digital encounters are diverse. They aim to help promote a better understanding between the different countries and cultures. The organizers hope that the contacts and ties between the young people from Germany and Israel will last and be strengthened even after the end of the project. Despite the thousands of kilometers that separate the young people from each other, the project aims to create a space for creative ideas that will produce fruitful results.

And after the pandemic? Also for the future after Corona, it is planned to continue and even expand the digital project. Merav David, the organizer from the Jerusalem Municipality, is convinced that the program is a great and enriching addition that can be combined with coming physical events.

Already 12 partner organizations from Germany have signed up for the program. For them, the new digital paths offer a good opportunity to rethink the partnerships that have already existed for over thirty years and to discover further ways of networking.

Share Your Experience With Us!

Have you also made a good experience in bringing your German-Israeli youth encounter into the digital space? "Exchange Online" is the place to share it with us and others! If you want your encounter to be presented, please fill out our questionnaire. Alternatively, you can contact Niclas Cares or Rinat Avigur.