The programme consists of folklore themes or aspects of home-culture which are taught in each school separately by CCECH staff, together with the class teachers, as part of the schools’ curriculum. The children examine the way in which the world they often think of as ‘ready made’ has come into being, understanding that history is a process in which their parents and grandparents have taken active roles.

Traditional Games

The children learn how traditional games evolve in different cultural contexts and are influenced by the specific play-spaces or terrain as well as the availability of materials, whether from nature (sticks, nuts, stones…), or discarded objects (rags, socks, gloves, wire…). They are introduced to the infinite variations of traditional play by comparing their own games to those found throughout history in paintings, photographs and their parents’ and grandparents’ accounts of their childhoods.

In the Joint Activities between Jewish and Arab schools, the schoolyard is divided into play-stations. Parents and grandparents teach the games of their childhoods such as, marbles, gogoim (adjoim), Hopscotch, Gummi (elastics), French skipping (U.K.), Chinese Jump Rope (U.S.A.). In Alambulic (Doodes), Taka Wijri or Tippycat (left), played like rounders or baseball in the Middle East and cricket in Britain, we can see the extraordinary skill and dexterity required to send a 2-3 inch hand-crafted wooden stick spinning across the air, having been hit by a hand-crafted wooden ‘bat’ or cut-down broom stick.

Traditional Dolls and Toys

Traditional toys have a unique relationship to the imaginative life of their creators and each child who played with them. Before the era of Barbie dolls and the commercialisation of play, toys ranged from hand-made, personal creations to those crafted by artisans according to the traditional patterns of their communities. After telling each other about the hand-made toys their parents and grandparents played with, they will make such toys as stick dolls, sock puppets, rag dolls, stuffed toys and wooden games.

Children showing pickles they've made
Vegetables on table
Pickle Jars on Table

Traditional Foodways

We examine the history of foodways, discussing the movement from hunter-gatherer groups to societies with agriculture and animal husbandry. Children are amazed at the huge variety of traditional foods which are derived from the complex history and multicultural makeup of the region. Through foodways, they become aware of the cultural ties that the Jews of Israel have to the diaspora which spreads across all five continents. Similarly they learn that the Moslem, Bedouin, Druze and Christian Palestinian communities in Israel have religious and cultural ties to the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt as well as to other countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Since many families in the Middle East make their own pickled vegetables, olives and preserved fruit, as well as different traditional breads, we invite parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to come to Joint Activities in which they will teach mixed groups of Arab and Jewish children to make a variety of pickles and breads.

Showing carpets in Mosque

Religious Traditions

Participants have the opportunity of visiting each other's places of worship. Imams, Rabbis and Priests explain the guiding principles of their religions and the structure and symbolism of Mosques, Synagogues and Churches.

In an atmosphere of respectful fascination, participants talk about their own experiences of religious practice, showing some of the traditional religious artefacts they bring from home.