SOAR - Jerusalem Chapter
Jerusalem became part of the SOAR family in April 2015. The first recorded Armenian pilgrimage to the Holy Land was an Armenian delegation of priests in the early 4th century. The visit is alluded to in an Armenian translation of a Greek letter written by Patriarch Makarius of Jerusalem to his contemporary, St. Vertanes. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem was founded in 638. It is located in the Armenian Quarter, the smallest quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Many Armenians from Kutayka, a city in Turkey, were known for their hand-painted ceramic wares and tiles. In 1919, several master craftsmen were brought to Jerusalem to renovate the tiles covering the facade of the Dome of the Rock. They remained in Jerusalem and developed the art of Armenian ceramics.
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the establishment of the State of Israel, a number of Armenians residing in what had been the British Mandate of Palestine took up Israeli citizenship, while other Armenian residents of Old City of Jerusalem assumed Jordanian nationality. Two groups of Armenians emerged: Armenians with Israeli citizenship living within the borders of the state and Armenians with Jordanian nationality in Jerusalem’s
Armenian Quarter and the West Bank.
A great majority of Armenians in Israel are Armenian Orthodox, but there are also a small number are Armenian Catholics and Armenian Evangelicals. The Armenian Orthodox remain under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the residing Patriarch under the auspices of the Armenian Apostolic Church (See of Holy Echmiadzin), whereas the Armenian Catholics are under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Catholic Church.
SOAR-Jerusalem participates in the Human Rights Program.
Board of Directors:
Nanor Arakelian, grew up in Ramallah -Palestine, currently living in Jerusalem, and graduated with a B.A. degree in Sociology from Bethlehem University.
Since a young age she has been volunteering with various organizations such as Sabeel Ecumenical Center, OneVoice Movement, the YWCA-Palestine. She attended several workshops and trainings related to leadership, communications, conflict resolution, and nonviolent resistance, and conferences related to interfaith, and the on-going political situation in Palestine/Israel. She did Birthright Armenia in Gyumri and Tsakhkadzor in 2011, volunteered at the summer camps with "Our lady of Armenia" as an English teacher, and as a mentor at "Nor Luyce" in Gyumri, having an empowering young women program through workshops and discussions to teenage girls who come from different orphanages. She also initiated a community campaign "smile" where the local community helped with collecting clothes and gifts that were given out to children with cancer. In addition, with the help of the local churches, she was able to fundraise through their activities and send to "Nor Luyce" where they were able to buy the girls winter clothes.
Nanor currently works as a local Programs coordinator at Sabeel Ecumenical center in East Jerusalem, and believes in social change, interested in politics, religion and social justice.
Arda Aghazarian was born and raised in Jerusalem. She has a B.A. in English Literature and attended several workshops related to media, communications, and filmmaking. She has worked as presenter and producer at Ram FM Radio Station, and as Media and Advocacy Coordinator/Project Supervisor at the YWCA of Palestine. She was the first young woman from the Middle East Region to be represented at the World YWCA Board (elected in Nairobi, Kenya, 2007), and has since had an active role in promoting young women leadership including at the United Nations CSW (NYC, USA, 2010-2012), the YWCA World Council (Zurich, Switzerland, 2011), and the Sthree Mela Conference (Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2011). She assisted the YWCA of Armenia (during a formal visit to Noyemberyan and Gyumri, Armenia, 2014) to become formally affiliated within the World YWCA movement (as of 2015). Arda has delivered various talks on conflict and peacemaking, and has been invited as an international speaker in the United States and Australia. She also has work experience in proposal writing, editing and translating, and is developing her skills in writing, producing and directing.
Christine Najarian obtained her LL.B. degree from The Academic Center of Law and Business in Ramat-Gan and holds LL.M. degree in International Law and Human Rights from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Christine started her legal career by practicing law in the private sector, specializing in contractual law, property law, bankruptcy law and executive law. She continues her private practice in these fields up to this day.
During her university years, Christine has taken an active part in the Student Union of the university by coordinating social involvement events and raising awareness related to international law, women’s rights and children’s education. She participated in various law forum discussions focusing on International Law and Human Rights Law, and represented the university in the International Humanitarian Law Competition organized by The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Her photography, on the occasion of the International Human Rights day, entered and won the university’s photography exhibition, where right to education for children was the main theme. Moreover, Christine has interned at “Bizchut” an NGO for Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities, protecting the rights of disabled people.
Christine is actively involved in the Armenian community of Jerusalem; she is an executive member of the Armenian Relief Society of Jerusalem. And is excited and honored for the opportunity to represent SOAR in Jerusalem, and introduce its miraculous works around the country.
Christine is fluent in Armenian, English, Hebrew and Arabic. She is passionate about traveling, photography, reading, foreign languages and facing new challenges and adventures.