Please view our Living Together Highlights.pdf
Living Together is:
- An innovative new leadership program that brings together young Jewish and Arab teens.
- The first of its kind in Canada. With an advisory board of Jewish and Arab community leaders who guide all aspects of Living Together.
- In its pilot year it directly impacted: 16 families, five schools, 17 advisory board members and countless other relatives, friends and community members
- Creating a safe and structured space in which stereotypes can be deconstructed
- Using visual arts to help bridge and expand our understanding of each other
The Montreal Consortium of Human Rights Advocacy and Training(MCHRAT), in collaboration with the YMCA of St Laurent, the Centre de Culture et Loisirs de St Laurent and an advisory board of leaders from the Arab and Jewish communities of St Laurent – provide their expertise, guidance and support to all aspects of the Living Together program.
Pilot Year Program
In its pilot year Living Together exceeded projected expectations for the outcome of the program. It had 16 youth enrolled from five different schools.
Eight youth from the Jewish community and eight youth from the Arab community.
The group met every Tuesday evening, despite fierce weather and exam times, to get to know each other and discover what they have in common.
For these 16 youth, Living Together provided them their first
opportunity to meet anyone from the ‘other’ community. Each arrived with many opinions about the ‘other’. After 7 months all participants dramatically changed the preconceived ideas they held about each other.
The impact of the program was not only felt by the kids - their parents, the advisory board, the schools and organizations involved - all found a new common ground through this program.
These young leaders became ‘Living Together’ ambassadors. They model the great possibilities that can arise when we live together and respect each other.
To get an up close view on the week to week progress the group made visit:
Why Saint Laurent?
Saint Laurent, is a multi-cultural community where 166 listed nationalities reside. One out of every two residents is an immigrant, the highest number in Montreal’s 27 boroughs. Both recently immigrated Canadians, as well as families who immigrated several generations ago call the neighborhood home.
In Saint Laurent , living together is unavoidable for most, and families naturally share the same spaces. However, some communities in Saint Laurent, specifically Arabs and Jews, still remain completely isolated from one another. Saint Laurent, contains 50% of Montreal’s Lebanese community(Christian and Muslim), a very significant Jewish community(both Sephardic and Ashkenazi), and a growing community of individuals from the Arab world.
It is within this multicultural yet divided context that many youth are growing up. While there is no visible tension or conflict, there is also no communication and little interaction between cultural communities.
After completing extended research the Living Together team found that yes there was a need for a program of this nature and the community at large wanted and supported its development.
The first Living Together group conceived of and created a two part ‘Living Together’ campaign: a short video, as well as an illustrated children’s book.
The group wanted to communicate that “Anything is Possible—Jewish and Arab people can live and work together” through their projects.
They then wished to present these works in elementary schools to talk to young people about what they had learned.
See their projects here:
Get your copy of "The Story of Potato and Sweet Potato" here.
Amanda Tetrault – Project coordinator
Amanda has coordinated Living Together from it’s initial concept and research stages, to the organization of the advisory board of community members and overseeing the successful completion of the first year of Living Together. Additionally she was the photography professional who guided the youth through their photography component and curated their exhibition of Self Portraits. Amanda directed and produced the Living Together short film.
Amanda Tetrault, is a photographer based in Montreal. Canada. She is the author of the photographic book ‘Phil and Me’ (Trolley Books 2005). Amanda has received numerous grants in support of her work from the Canada Council of the Arts, The Quebec Council of the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center- Provincetown MA. Her work has appeared in The Observer Magazine U.K, Saturday Night Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, Newsweek, The Walrus Magazine, The Boston Globe and Photo8 Magazine among others.
Amanda is also an active public speaker and advocate for awareness in regards to mental health issues and their impact to families, and to children living with mentally ill parents.
Nesrine Saci – Youth Worker
Holds a BA in both communication and politics. Nesrine has long been interested in the complexities and challenges of intercommunity relations for new immigrants in their host country.
She herself was born in Algeria, and was only a year old when her family moved to Saudi Arabia. There she spent her childhood and the majority of her teen years among a diverse community of expatriates. That experience, without a doubt, has contributed to her interest in intercommunity relations.
On her arrival to Canada, Nesrine completed her university studies and has accumulated numerous experiences in the field of integration of newly arrived Canadians.
Anna Goren - Youth Worker
Anna Goren graduated from McGill in 2009 with a degree in International Development, with minors in Psychology and English. Anna served as a volunteer at the MMEP during her studies. She currently works on various MMEP projects part-time, in addition to her work on the Community Capability and Development in Nunavik Project at the McGill School of Social Work. Anna studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem 2008, and has a keen interest in regional peace building, and refugee and immigration issues in Israel and North America.
- Robert Abitbol – Directeur Général Communauté Sépharade Unifiée du Québec
- Daniel Amar - Directeur Général -Congrès Juif Québécois
- David Azerad – Assistant Educational Director, Judaic Studies, Herzeliah High School
- Michel Boudreau– Arrondissement de Saint-Laurent, Chef de division, culture, loisirs et développement social
- Maurice Casaubon – Conseiller en concertation civil - SPVM PDQ 07 Saint-Laurent
- Maurice Chalom – Consultant Ville de Montréal
- Maurice Cohen - Conseiller de Saint-Laurent, (Cote de Liesse)
- Mitzi Dobrin – DBRN Holdings
- Nabiha El Wafai – Directrice du primaire, École des Jeunes Musulmans
- Nabil Fawaz - President of The Lebanese Canadian Heritage Association
- Eric Lagace – Director, YMCA Saint-Laurent
- David Leduc - Associate Director, MMEP
- Leonie Richler – Bialik High School Guidance Counselor
- Warren Rohr - Executive Director Beth Ora
- Layla Sawaf - Fondatrice et Directeur Générale de l’École des Jeunes Musulmans
- Virginie Simard-Tozzi – Animatrice sports et loisirs - Arrondissement de Saint-Laurent
- Jim Torczyner - Professor of Social Work, McGill University, MCHRAT Founder and Director
Living Together received significant attention during its first year.
See some of what the media had to say here:
To get an up-close view on the week to week progress the group made visit:
Living Together needs your help to continue this amzing program into a second year.
Tax receipts are provided for all contributions.
Please make your contribution here.
CBC Radio - All in a Weekend November 12, 2011
We would be happy to answer all questions regarding ‘Living Together’.
Please contact us bvia email at: amanda [at] amandatetrault.com
or by phone at: 514-991-4947