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Fashion, Identity and History

Beit Berl’s groundbreaking Time Tunnel program teaches Arab and Jewish students to examine their intersecting roots by capturing and analyzing oral histories that focus on various aspects of everyday life.

This year, 30 Jewish and Arab students participated in a dialogue group led by the Time Tunnel team, in collaboration with Beit Berl’s Center for the Advancement of Shared Society, on the theme of the history of clothing and fashion. The students studied the subject and then learned to interview older citizens about their generation’s garments from a cultural and historical perspective. The program concluded with a hugely successful ‘Pajama Party.’ 

“Time Tunnel aims to create a platform for a meaningful and egalitarian dialogue that encourages curiosity, getting to know other types of people, and mutual respect,” explain Beit Berl professors Prof. Kussai Haj-Yehia and Dr. Boaz Lev-Tov, who jointly head the program. 

“It was very interesting,” affirmed Afik Friedman, one of the Jewish students. “We learned how the history of our personal clothing constantly overlapped with questions of identity, status and gender. It’s amazing how much these issues are reflected in our fashion. And it was good to meet Arab students and adults in this context. I would not ordinarily have the opportunity to talk to them, especially in this kind of depth.”

In addition to the students, over 30 faculty members and 70 elders from near-by Jewish and Arab communities also attended the culminating event. The heart of the ‘Pajama Party’ – and the most emotional part – took place during the round table discussions, when the participants divided up into small groups to raise memories and hold discussions. The warm atmosphere provided a safe space to evoke memories, listen to others' memories and analyze the significant differences and similarities between the Arab and Jewish recollections. 

When the time allotted to these discussions ran out, many of the groups were so engrossed that they refused to stop! “This event provided an island of sanity,” attested one participant. “It facilitated respectful and meaningful Jewish-Arab dialogue.”
Nihal Abu Kishek, an Arab student who took part in the program, agreed. “This was my first time participating in the Time Tunnel program. I learned a lot: I met many people, Arabs and Jews, and it was fun. Sharing our memories was empowering and new for me.”

תודה, הבקשה נשלחה.
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