Meeting Place: Encounters in Zion Square
On July 30th, 2015, 6 people were stabbed in the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride March. Three days later, 16-year-old Shira Banki died of her wounds.
Immediately following the news of Shira’s passing, the Yerushalmit Movement organized a public Shiva and vigil in Zion Square. Professionally facilitated dialogue circles allowed thousands of people from across the social, political and religious spectrum to meet face to face. These encounters proved healing and transformative for many, enabling participants to see beyond sectoral barriers to their shared humanity. Throughout the seven days of Shiva, Zion Square was transformed from a place of violence and racism to one of reconciliation and hope. And when the Shiva ended, there was a yearning for more. Ever since, every Thursday night, the Yerushalmit Movement has filled Zion Square with music, art and dialogue. Each week, Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, LGBT and straight, locals and passers-by join together in peaceful dialogue around various controversial issues affecting Israeli society. Even as recent events have deepened fears in Jerusalem, people have continued to come to Zion Square to meet one another face to face and hold on to hope. Recently, the initiative celebrated a huge success when we convinced Mayor Nir Barkat to dedicate the upcoming architectural redesign of Zion Square to the memory of Shira Banki ז”ל and the values of pluralism and tolerance. The dedication will engrave the memory of Shira and the story of the LGBT community in the heart of Jerusalem for years to come.
The Meeting Place initiative is on the frontlines of LGBTQ activism in Jerusalem, engaging some of the worst homophobia head on through radical empathy and compassion. Our dedicated activists are committed to opening hearts and minds, one person at a time, through face to face encounters and dialogue.
Strengthen the LGBTQ community of Jerusalem and pluralistic community in general
Transform Zion Square into a pluralistic arts and cultural center
Revitalize the City Center of Jerusalem
Unify diverse Jerusalem communities and nurture intersectional collaboration
Re-brand Jerusalem not as a center of conflict, but as a center of dialogue and peace
Project Fact: From August 2015 to April 2016, we held 32 events in Zion Square serving nearly 10,000 people in collaboration with tens of local organizations, groups and professionals.
Join Us in developing our growing movement for change by supporting these projects:
- Face to Face encounter training program for developing new activists
- Expansion to other city squares in Jerusalem, and other cities in Israel
- Outreach and community building
- Special high-profile events
Become a Partner
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