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The power of words Israel today

2023-01-26T14:09:19.243Z


Commercial companies, banks, celebrities and especially tens of thousands of students from the Ort network will take part in the "Good Word Day" again this year, for the sixth time. The project, which continues throughout the year with the aim of encouraging respectful discourse - on social networks and beyond - includes meetings with communities, support for service providers and, of course, a good word for anyone who needs it. The President's wife, Michal Herzog: "This is an initiative that fills the heart with great hope"


In collaboration with Ort

The possibility to express an opinion in the era of social networks in a public, easy and fast way, attracted audiences from all strata of the population and age into the topical discussions and offered a platform for a variety of opinions.

The other and less pleasant side of the expansion of public discourse is the spread of violent discourse - on the street and in cyberspace.

The Pargonim bus, photo: Dovrot Ort

Precisely from among the younger generation, who felt that too many red lines had been crossed in regards to defamation and difficult content on social networks, an initiative arose that tries to change the picture.

This is the "The Good Word" project, behind which stands the "Ortov" organization of students of the Ort network.

Since 2018, Ort students have been encouraging respectful, positive and sympathetic dialogue between all shades of Israeli society, and what began as a program initiated by Ort and Google's "screensavers" has turned into a nationwide project culminating in an annual event, which will be held this year on January 31.

The "Screensavers" program aims to empower network users and give them tools for growth, personal fulfillment and enjoyment in the Internet environment.

Many teenagers from the Ort network are mobilizing for students in order to help, guide, support, accompany, raise awareness and promote correct and safe surfing on the net.

The program was launched in Israel by Google and the Ort network in five schools, and today thousands of students volunteer as part of it.

The "Day of the Good Word" events are held every year in more than 250 ORT institutions.

In addition, video and song competitions are held throughout the year between the schools on the topic of the good word, meetings with the community in public spaces (distribution of "reports" of good words), an appreciation activity and a "hug" for service providers (nurses, cleaning workers, guards, traffic inspectors, security forces and more), and performances by students majoring in music or school bands on mobile stages and in community gardens.

The wife of the country's president, Michal Herzog, sent a video greeting in honor of Good Word Day, which will be held next Tuesday, and strengthened the network's staff and students: "Your project is like cool water for a tired soul, your choice to spread light and give extra attention to the purity and pleasantness of speech and one good, moving word To itself and fills the heart with great hope."

A good word from north to south

It is difficult to think of other public events in which about a hundred thousand youth from all sectors of the population participate like the Good Word Day.

One of them, Noya Belzer (18) from Ort Psagot in Karmiel, volunteers with the "Screen Savers" organization, and excitedly tells what is expected on Tuesday: "Our students will distribute candy to the teaching staff with cards with a kind word on them. A class that deals with computers will receive articles from the Internet with negative reactions And the students will suggest something to answer in a positive way in order to neutralize disrespectful discourse online. In previous years, we organized transportation throughout the city - at supermarkets, health insurance companies, etc. - and distributed kind words with chocolates, all to make the atmosphere positive and thus influence the discourse."

Noya Belzer, photo: Dovrot Ort

Noya joined the "Screen Guards" in the 8th grade, started her career as a volunteer in the project and about two years ago was qualified as a coordinator.

"I am very connected to this whole topic and the values ​​it represents. Throughout the year, we give the students lesson plans for the lower grades on cyberbullying, convey the important messages to them also through games or videos, and hold activity breaks with them to convey the importance of respectful discourse.

"Since we are only slightly older than them and know the way of thinking of students at these ages, we know that it is not enough to explain, it is also important to demonstrate to them what it is about, so we choose creative ways - role-playing games or a memory game in which questions and answers show ways of acting in situations related to the topic, Let them explain why they think this or that way is the right one."

In Noya's opinion, in the perspective of four years since she joined the project, the level of discourse has improved among the students, among other things thanks to the lessons of the "Mila Tova" instructors.

"The teachers also said that their feeling is that the students understand and apply the messages we convey to them. I hope it continues that way. People my age, as young people who are aware of politics and current affairs in general, see what is happening on social networks and are influenced by the discourse and the way in which the debates are conducted. That is why it is important to have information."

"Instill tolerance values"

For the first time as part of the annual day, this time the Ortov team decided to award the "Oscar of the good word".

As part of the initiative, all the high schools and frameworks in the network were asked to propose a company or organization in the environment that deserves a signal for their activities for the values ​​of social cohesion, helping others and solidarity, with an emphasis on organizations that work to reduce violence in light of the current reality.

Director of the Ortov department, Dafna Alon: "Throughout the year, we inculcate in the schools of the Ort network, through Ortov's diverse programs, the values ​​of tolerance, respectful discourse, acceptance of the other, and contribution to the community. The Day of the Good Word, which the Ortov team leads for the sixth time, is A record day where we want to highlight the respectful discourse and spread its importance to all the audiences we work with.

"All over the country the students will hold gestures and actions that show the power and influence of encouraging and empowering words. We invite organizations, companies and any person who is interested in this, to join us and take part in this day."

MK Edelstein: "Contributing to change"

Even before the current situation, in which the polarizing discourse seems to be breaking records, even the most powerful players in the economy understood how critical a good word is to the fabric of life in Israeli society.

Many companies and organizations joined the project and supported it, including various banks, the Electric Company, Solel Bona, KKL-Junk, Dan Hotels, Ness Technologies, the National Council for Volunteering, Netafim, the IDF (Land Technology Division), Pango, Beit Ha'Galits, and more.

Many celebrities also contributed and participated in videos that convey the important message.

Many of the entities took an active part in the project, so for example the BSH company prepared a special recipe in collaboration with Mickey's confectionery for heart-shaped cookies, and invited the bakers to bless others with a cookie and a good word.

At the solar energy company "Enrpoint" they invited the surfers to generate positive energy and praise them with kind words, and the PassportCard company invited its policyholders to tag their perfect partner for a trip abroad and throw him a kind word.

The Good Word project also reached the legislature, when in 2019 Ort's student leadership signed the Knesset Speaker at the time, Yuli Edelstein, on the charter for respectful discourse. "I read the charter and see that you not only preach to others, you take responsibility and ask for Late to take her.

This initiative of yours can contribute to a lot of change," said Edelstein in a meeting with student representatives.

In 2019, as I recall, the Corona epidemic broke out and completely disrupted the routine of life, but the Good Word project continued even during that period to support, assist and encourage wherever possible.

Among other things, the classes of the Ort school in Afula went on a slightly different annual trip - the students got on the "paragon bus", which went on a long journey in which the students stopped at different locations and initiated a discourse of paragon and a journey of kind words.

The students were equipped in advance with tasks, written kind words and congratulatory stickers and at every point where the bus stopped, they got off and distributed kind words to the surprised passers-by.

In collaboration with Ort

Source: israelhayom

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