ORGANIZATION HELPS FOSTER PEACE THROUGH SPORTS EDUCATION
The crisis in the Middle East has affected children of all ages and all ethnicities. One organization, called Playing for Peace, is helping to create inclusive, constructive environments for children by bringing them together to play basketball in historically divided regions like Israel and the Palestinian territories. Playing for Peace is doing inspiring work that I hope will improve understanding and build a peaceful dialogue among the next generation of this divided region
Playing for Peace was founded in 2001 on the premise that "children who play together can learn to live together." The current program in Israel was created by one of our own South Jerseyans, Matt Minoff of Cherry Hill, in August of 2005. Mr. Minoff helped to launch a 1-week overnight basketball camp for 100 Jewish and Arab teenagers in 2005, and followed this up with a year-round program that brought them together on a consistent basis. Based on the success of the program, this year they plan to expand operations to more towns, and to run programs for girls.
I applaud Mr. Minoff, and the Playing for Peace organization for their efforts to build peaceful understanding through sports. By teaching children who would otherwise only know hatred that people of different religions and ethnicities can live and play together in peace, Playing for Peace is helping to make our world a better place.