FeelBeit: when everything else breaks down, art breaks through
The Robert Weil Family Foundation has provided a crisis support to FeelBeit, an Israeli-Palestinian arts center on Jerusalem’s East-West border. But FeelBeit is actually much more than that. At its core, FeelBeit is a sacred partnership between Israeli and Palestinian creatives who are determined to prototype a better future for their land. Since 2020, these creatives have been building a shared home where the arts, community and social entrepreneurship is modeling an alternative to division, hatred and deadlock.
FeelBeit’s beautiful, 7,000-sq.-ft. facility features a performance venue, gallery, café and co-working space. It stands atop the Sherover Promenade, a stunning public park between Israeli and Palestinian neighborhoods that has long been underutilized due to inter-communal tensions, but which FeelBeit has been renewing as a shared space for all through cultural programming.
Since its founding in 2020, FeelBeit welcomed more than 40,000 Israelis and Palestinians in approximately equal numbers to its arts events and cultural activities. Several hundred leaders and influentials from around the world visited to learn about FeelBeit’s model for bridge-building in a conflict zone. As a guest of FeelBeit in early 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, “This place is a sanctuary. It gives me strength.”
The horrors of October 7 called into question the fundamental viability of an organization based on Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and tested the bridges built with great effort over many years. Yet FeelBeit’s community has proven remarkably resilient, continuing to meet, talk and co-create gatherings and artistic events for more than 1,000 Israelis and Palestinians.
It is now clear that there are still Israelis and Palestinians who are committed to preserving bridges and imagining the day after the war. FeelBeit has emerged as their refuge; there is almost no other physical space that can take on such a role in this moment of crisis. In 2024, FeelBeit’s team will assume the responsibility that reality has placed at its doorstep, welcoming all who are ready to reach out across the abyss. The Robert Weil Family foundation is fully supporting the struggle for dialogue and bridgebuilding and is a proud supporter of FeelBeit.