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"PROMISES is one of the most meaningful, deeply moving documentary films ever made. Anyone who thinks they "know what is going on" between Palestinians and Israelis must see this film. I shared this film with a class of graduate writing students two years ago and to this day, they say it was one of the most powerful viewing experiences they ever had."
—Naomi Shihab Nye, Palestinian-American poet, author of more than 20 volumes, and a Guggenheim Fellow.  She has been a visiting writer in schools & universities for 30 years.


The Promises Film Project has created an Educational Package using the Emmy award-winning documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, PROMISES. The Educational Package is comprised of a 50+ page Study Guide accompanied by a DVD or VHS of the film.   

Recognizing the film’s commitment to presenting the many sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, educators across the country have embraced PROMISES as a valuable educational tool. The Promises Film Project has received hundreds of requests from educators for additional teaching tools to accompany the film. While screening the film alone has significant educational value, the viewing experience would be greatly enhanced by the availability of a study guide to help educators use the film as a launching point for more in-depth classroom learning.

The total budget for this project is $122,015. As of November 1st, 2004 $61,000 has been raised. Funds are urgently needed so that we can continue to print Educational Packages and offer them at cost to the many teachers who otherwise would not be able to order them. Funds are urgently needed so that we may further outreach and awareness of this unique and invaluable resource. 


To date there are no study guide materials that teach the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from a multiple perspective point of view. Since 2002, Promises Film Project has received emails from hundreds of educators requesting study guide materials so that they can more effectively use the film in their classrooms.

Although the United States has been a key player in the Middle East for decades, recent events such as the September 11 tragedies and ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have made it imperative that U.S. citizens gain a deeper understanding of the Arab and Muslim world and the complexities of Middle East issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As a democracy, the United States requires an informed citizenry with sophisticated understanding of these and other national and international issues. Young people are a vital part of this citizenry as they grow into active, voting citizens and society’s new leaders. 

PROMISES is an extraordinary tool. This Educational Package will help students gain a greater understanding of Palestinian-Israeli conflict and teach that there is more than one side to an issue and more than one Israeli and Palestinian perspective.   With children at the forefront of the film, PROMISES provides a unique opportunity for American students to view the complexities of this conflict through the eyes of their peers in the Middle East.

PROMISES brings us back to the feelings we had when peace was within our reach and when we were able to see the humanity in those we were told were our enemies. PROMISES is remarkable for its ability to open minds and hearts and PROMISES inspires us to care again. I highly recommend it.
— Rabbi Laura Geller, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills


The Promises Film Project created a 50+ page study guide designed primarily for middle, high school and college educators. The guide is designed to provide flexibility to accommodate varying amounts of teaching time available.  The study guide writers have consulted with middle and high school educators, rabbis and curriculum writers. This has truly been a community endeavor.


The Promises Film Project has spent a year researching outreach for this Educational Package. This Educational Package will be promoted at such  national conferences as CAJE (Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education) and ACR  (Association for Conflict Resolution). Ads and NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies); reviews have appeared in major library journals such as Booklist and Video Librarian.

Brochures were mailed to a carefully researched mailing list of 63,000 middle, high school and college educators; religious leadership in synagogues, mosques, churches and inter-faith congregations as well as Jewish museums, JCCs, Hillels, conflict resolution organizations, and after-school youth programs.

Educational organizations such as Teaching for Change; Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR); Teaching Tolerance and Re-Thinking Schools will promote the Educational Package on their web sites, catalogs and in newsletters. The Compassionate Listening Project uses PROMISES in its work and has offered to do further outreach of this Educational Package.  The National Foundation for Jewish Culture is also working with us to ensure successful and widespread outreach.

With your help we can widen outreach of this Educational Package.

The sensitivity, humanity and honesty that pervade this film are truly remarkable. This film is a prayer that our children may succeed where we have so miserably failed.
—Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, New York City


Simone Bloom Nathan, study guide writer and Project Director.

Over the past fifteen years, Simone has created and implemented innovative national outreach campaigns. She has developed educational materials for more than 36 FRONTLINE programs, and was responsible for the highly successful diversity-focused outreach for the PBS children’s series, The Puzzle Place. She created the PBS Kids Ready to Learn about Conflict project for parents of young children. She has created outreach materials and activities for programs including Inside the Teenage Brain, American High, and Digital Divide. Her client list includes PBS, Discovery KIDS, WGBH, KCET Hollywood, Twin Cities Public Television, MacGillivray Freeman Films and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Prior to founding Media Education Consultants in 1994, Ms. Bloom Nathan spent six years at WGBH Boston as Assistant Director for Children's Programming and as Outreach Manager for the station. She worked as an Associate Producer at Boston's ABC Affiliate station, WCVB-TV. She holds a Masters Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ellen Greenblatt, study guide writer.

Ellen has taught English for over twenty five years. She has also trained teachers and been invited to give presentations at numerous conferences and Institutes. She has been a consultant to the Educational Testing Service and the College Board. She served as Chair of the Test Development Committee for SAT II Literature and as the writer of a multicultural literature bibliography for the Bay Area Writing Project. She has received numerous awards, including a National Fellowship for Independent Study in the Humanities from the National Endowment for the Humanities and grants for reflective study in Vietnam. She has been an on-stage interviewer for City Arts and Lectures, San Francisco, conducting interviews before a live audience with authors including Joseph Heller, Jamaica Kincaid, and Barbara Kingsolver. She is also a freelance book reviewer and has authored many journal articles. She holds a Bachelors degree cum laude in English from Cornell University and a MAT in English from Yale University.

Bill Bigelow, consultant.

Bill has taught high school social studies for over twenty years. He is an editor of the national education reform journal Rethinking Schools and has authored or co-edited numerous books including Strangers in Their Own Country: A Curriculum on South Africa (Africa World Press), The Power in Our Hands: A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States (Monthly Review Press), Rethinking Columbus, Rethinking our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice and Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World.

Ground breaking. Personalizes political conflict more powerfully than any film I have ever screened for my students.
—Professor K. Samuelson, Stanford University

PROMISES has served as an indispensable resource in the conflict resolution work we do with middle and high school students. It captures the possibilities and the challenges of building bridges among enemies, while bringing us into the personal narratives of the children...and all this with humor, honesty, compassion and love.
—Leah Green, Director, The Compassionate Listening Project


Dr. Semya Hakim is Associate Professor and Chair Human Relations & Multicultural Ed. at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She wrote the Teacher Guide for the FRONTLINE Muslims program and a feature article about Islam for Rethinking Schools.

Barbara Petzen, outreach coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies is a Title VI National Resource Center charged with disseminating information on the Middle East and Islam to the K-12 community, media organizations, and the public.   

Justine Shapiro, co-producer/co-director of PROMISES.

Justine was born in South Africa and grew up in Berkeley, CA. Prior to her work in documentary film Justine worked for 2 years as an ESL teacher in Los Angeles and acted for 10 years in theater and film. She has hosted the PBS series Globe Trekker since 1994. Globe Trekker has taken Justine to over 30 countries around the world. Justine is currently producing 2 new documentary film projects: "Lunch" follows five middle school kids and explores their relationship to America’s food culture. "Global Moms" looks at how kids are raised differently around the world.

B.Z. Goldberg, co-producer/co-director of PROMISES.

B.Z. was born in Boston and grew up in Israel just outside of Jerusalem. He attended New York University where he studied filmmaking with Brian Winston, media pioneer George Stoney, and Boris Fruman. In 1987 when the Palestinian uprising known as the Intifada broke out, B.Z. returned to Jerusalem to produce television news for Reuters TV, the BBC, NBC, CNN and NHK (Japanese TV).  Starting in 1992, B.Z. worked for a number of U.S-based consulting firms as a specialist in the field of conflict resolution. He is currently directing a documentary about people who live in extreme climate conditions along the longitude of 8 degrees and 34 minutes.



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