Multiculturalism in care

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Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, I pass by many people with a lot of different cultures. Israel is a country of many cultures (multiculturalism); Jews, Arabs and Christians all live together. Problems between people of these different cultures are common. Walking through the door of ALEH Jerusalem, I see a completely different world. A world were cultures come together, a world of caring, and a world where politics are not that important. Welcome to the world of ALEH.

‘A different world’ that is a good explanation for this organization. Different cultures and religions come together in this organization and background is not important. Everyone feels connected in the care for the children. The children are important and they deserve love and good care. This is their home and ALEH is their family. Political issues and visions that are part of the society outside the walls of ALEH are not allowed inside the walls. So it is a different world with a sensible different atmosphere.

I see a Jewish caregiver cuddling with an Arabic Child. I see a flawless cooperation between an Arabic and Jewish nurse. I hear a Jewish nurse asking her Arabic colleague how an Arabic word is pronounced, followed by laughter because she needs a few tries. I see an orthodox family that is visiting their child greeting an Arabic man.

Having different cultures in care is very special and can be very convenient as well. There is always someone that understand the cultural motives of the patient and their family, which is important for a better quality of care. For multicultural care, the relationship between patient, family and caregiver must be based on trust. Without such a relationship, religious and cultural barriers cannot be bridged.

ALEH is based on the Jewish law and religion and decisions are made based on the Thora. In the Thora, equality for all is important. Everyone deserves care and nobody must be refused. When caregivers provide care based on a similar goal, barriers will fade away. With a similar goal I mean: treating each patient the same way regardless of their cultural or religious background. A good cooperation between caregivers of different backgrounds is possible when they have the same goals and focus on their patients. Mutual respect is hereby a crucial aspect.

My working shift is finished and I leave the ALEH building. I look behind me and see two woman talking and laughing, one Jewish and the other Arabic. It is definitely a different world inside these firm walls and I find it difficult to explain the atmosphere. Maybe the right word is ‘peaceful’. ‘A peaceful different world’. Yes, this is my view of this beautiful organization.

Written by Julia Burgers a Dutch intern “Global Nursing” at ALEH in Jerusalem.