If you’ve been working to raise awareness on an issue close to your heart, feeling tired and alone in the struggle (anyone who has ever gone around town putting up flyers at 4am knows what I’m talking about) – the Activism Festival at Yaarot Menashe is a chance to meet your fellow activists to share experiences and information while hanging out and having fun. The Activism Festival will take place in the woods of Hazorea at Yaarot Menashe from May 19 – 21, 2011, with three days of workshops, performances, exhibits, films and more.
It’s a different kind of festival in more ways than one – the participants take an active role in determining content and managing the festival, preparing food (a central kitchen will make three vegetarian meals a day, prepared by volunteers supervised by professional cooks), maintaining the grounds, and a morning meeting circle to discuss issues. The festival will include workshops on sustainability, ecology, and empowerment; artistic performances; creative space; information booths from a variety of organizations; exhibits; a space for healing therapies and more… Access Israel and Pay It Forward In Signs are working together to ensure that the festival will be accessible to all, volunteers will receive a special briefing on the subject and the program will include workshops on accessibility.
Festival producers are organizing transportation and encouraging people to share rides to reduce the number of vehicles (saving on gas & CO2 emissions). Buses will leave Alonim Intersection, Haifa – Lev Hamifratz, Tel Aviv – Arlozorov; and Jerusalem – ICC Binyanei Hauma. Buses will leave from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem daily at the following hours: Thursday at 12:00 and 17:00, Friday at 09:00, 14:00 and 17:00, Saturday at 09:00. Return buses from the festival on Thursday and Friday leave at 22:00, Saturday at 19:00.
If you would like to come to the festival – PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE! Registration is crucial as it gives the organizers a better idea of how many people to plan for in terms of transportation and other accommodations at the festival.
Entrance is free, however donations to help cover the costs will be welcomed. Stands with detailed information on costs will be set up on the festival grounds. The recommended donation is 180 NIS.
The festival will include different areas of interest:
Enterpreneurs: a special project of the festival to encourage entrepreneurial ventures relating to social issues.
Travelling tent: A project first launched at the 2010 festival that continues throughout the year. A tent where conversation is the main focus to create different way of talking, where the emphasis is on listening. Where will the conversation go? Wherever you choose…
Human Rights, Peace and Justice: an exhibit on human rights, workshops and discussions on the state of human rights in Israel, in collaboration with Breaking the Silence.
Organization Fair: participating organizations will set up stands with information.
Permaculture: a way of life, a world view, Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that are modeled on the relationships found in natural ecologies.
Renew the environment – Judaism and the environment – Green Now: Religious and secular Jews are invited to look into the Jewish bookshelf and discover content relevant to contemporary issues and be inspired. This area will be conducted in a way which enables Shomrei Shabbat, who observe the Sabbath, to participate in the festival.
Eco-Yoga: the connection between a healthy body and mind, health and social justice, and healing therapies (massage, etc) will be provided in exchange for hugs. Organized in collaboration with EcoYoga, Amma – Embracing the World and Hare Krishna.
Good Food: presenting healthful approach to nutrition that benefits the environment providing useful tools for people who want to base their nutrition on food that is good for them and for the environment. In collaboration with Mazon Tov (Hebrew: good food)
Film: Screening of films relating to society and the environment with discussion sessions
Shomrei Hagan: the organization Shomrei Hagan teaches hunter-gatherer skills as a way of understanding the world and experiencing connectedness to the earth.
Children’s area: in the alternative space created at the festival, we do not regard our children as the future generation but rather the present generation, our equal and active partners in work and celebration. The children’s space gives them the place to act, think and discuss with workshops and activities suited to their needs and interests.
AA (Artists Anonymous): a small stage for music, conversations with artists, workshops on the connection between art and activism.
Special Festival Projects:
Solar Garden: A special installation on solar energy and green technology that was created for the festival.
Prayer for Peace: On Friday, May 20, as the Sabbath enters, there will be a march through the festival grounds leading toward the main stage where there will be a group prayer for peace with songs and blessings. Usher in
Festival Store: Items and services offered for sale by members of the festival community, these can also be purchased throughout the year on the festival site.
Workshops on Sign Language and the experience of living in Israel with a disability will be conducted by Pay It Forward in Signs and Access Israel.
Tribal Bonfire: On Sunday, May 21, there will be a talk around the bonfire in collaboration with the Sulcha organization (a nice explanation from their site: Sulcha is the Arabic word, used also in the Hebrew language, for a peacemaking process in the community that is used for restoring harmony after serious wrongdoing has occurred. Mediation [gishur in Hebrew] is the English word used to describe a method of resolving conflict based on understanding the needs and perceptions of the disputing parties and achieving a mutually agreed upon solution) with the aim of creating a neutral space where Jewish-Israelis and Arab-Palestinians can have an open, honest and meaningful discussion.
Exhibits: Imagine 2018, photographs from an organization that connects Palestinians and Jews; Edna Friedman, a solo exhibit of photographs; Bustan Chiyat, an installation made of recycled materials by Eyal Friedland; Musrara and the Ktovet group will disseminate poetry throughout the festival grounds.
Music: Mainstage – TREE, Shmemel – merging rock and comedy, Assi Rose, Reggaestan, Rakefet Amsallem, Ukuleles for Peace, Naj Hamdi, Judy Cohen “Singing on the Planet”, Giant Lizards – psychedelic space rock with visuals, Batya Argov and Marina Tushitz, Eran Reiss. Small Stage – Ohad Aviv, The Family, Naama Cohen, The Messengers, the Grutaot, The Expedition, Rimoch and the Unconnected, Avishai Haviv, the Cliches, Ronen Yarkon Hears Voices.
Dance & Theatre: Shabazi Circus, Vertigo Dance Workshop, Play studio, Artness Studio, Hamarkid – The Dance Instructor, an award winning performance by Yoav Bartel & Avigail Rubin.
A prize for Activism was inaugurated in the 2010 Activism Festival and will be awarded annually to recognize those who work to create a better and more just society. In 2010 the prize was awarded to Shaanan Street from Hadag Nahash. There will be a film competition of activist films with the intention of giving a platform for local filmmakers dealing with relevant issues and encouraging action. The theme for this year’s competition is “Two Points and Everything in Between” – films that relate to the connection and tension between two points – world views, organizations, people. The films will be screened throughout the festival.