(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The Bone of Contention project launched by KKL-JNF in the schoolyard of Haifa’s Reali High School and funded by a donation from the Elkeles family provides a pastoral venue where disagreements between youngsters can be resolved and a culture of tolerant debate can flourish. The project was inaugurated at a moving ceremony on March 4th 2013, in the presence of the donors and the various organizations involved.
A minor disagreement between two students at Haifa’s Reali High School has grown into a unique educational project that combines tolerance with a love for Israel and its landscapes. Adjacent to the Reali’s schoolyard, at the entrance to the popular Lotem River trail on the western slopes of Mount Carmel, the Bone of Contention site has been established in order to promote tolerance and civilized debate.
The idea for the establishment of the Bone of Contention was born three years ago as the result of two students’ quarrel over an eraser. The teacher reprimanded them and explained the meaning of the Hebrew expression sela hamahloket (literally “the rock of contention,” which is best translated by the English phrase “the bone of contention”). One of the students, after listing patiently, asked innocently, “But where is this rock?” The teacher, unperturbed, took the warring classmates out for a walk in the school’s environs. As they strolled along they talked, and their dispute was resolved.
The rock they chose in the course of their walk has become the cornerstone of the project, and it now stands in the center of the deck, with the benches arranged facing it. The site was established thanks to a donation from the Elkeles family of Germany, in memory of their relatives who perished in the Holocaust, and with the help of Galor, the Israeli Education Center for Tolerance and Compassion. Most of the funding was provided by the estate of Dr. Ludwig Elkeles of Germany. His niece, Hadassah Alon, and her two sons, Roni and Adi, made an additional contribution to fund a decorative stone faucet.
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