Any conversation about or in reference to Jerusalem, must include East Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Season of Culture (JSOC) firmly believes in the importance of the other, equality and equal chances for all. We do not believe that Jerusalem belongs to any specific group or population, but rather that it is larger than the sum of the flags and/or logos that attempt to divide it into small, fissured groups. This belief underpins all of our year-round work and reaches a peak in our annual Mekudeshet festival.
The first step taken by the East Jerusalem Department, which was established to ensure that these goals are reached and integral to an overarching strategy, was the commissioning of an in-depth research project that mapped out the needs and challenges of the Palestinian artistic community in general, and in East Jerusalem in particular. This was an important step as this community is critical to the current and future development of East Jerusalem society as a whole.
In addition, the department organizes gatherings and meetings throughout the year, which provide opportunities for artists and creatives from a variety of artistic disciplines to meet, dissolve boundaries that stand between them, exchange ideas about alternative art and creativity and in some cases, even break artistic taboos that exist within Palestinian society. We believe that art helps people to imagine, create a more open reality, and effect positive change in the Holy City by opening it up to new and alternative artistic forces on both sides, or even internationally, while reinforcing and protecting the identity of Palestinian Jerusalemites.
The East Jerusalem department works closely with Palestinian artists and creatives in order to provide them with opportunities to widen their professional horizons, interact with one another, and exhibit their work in a way that respects the sensitivities of the Palestinian community, while maintaining the highest professional standards, cultural competency and addressing the needs and challenges they face when pursuing a career in art and culture. Integral to this, is the maintenance of a clear Palestinian identity that contributes to, without being consumed by, the general art and culture scene in Jerusalem.
It is a privilege to reside in the holiest city in the world and to share our story, in our own words, with anyone who crosses our path. Even though this is sometimes a heavy burden, we know how to live with and in Jerusalem. We accept the good and the bad in the city and try to set an example of goodness and inclusivity among Jerusalemites, while remembering that it is Jerusalem that shapes, liberates, and unites us.
Want to know more about us?
Feel free to speak to Riman, she is a genuine Jerusalemite with a deep, multi-generational connection to the city.