Page 6 - MidWeek Kauai - June 1, 2022
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documentary. Sindyanna of Galilee is staffed by Jewish and Arab women who share a simi- lar vision of working together in peaceful coexistence. Many of these women previously labored in facto- ries in the Holy Land, according to the young filmmaker, but were left unem-
The genesis of the project first took root three summers ago when Steven and his older brother visited the Sin- dyanna farm. Almost immediately, Steven was struck by the willingness of the nonprofit’s cofounders — a Jewish woman named Hadas, and an Arab woman named Hanan — to bridge cultural divides in an attempt to promote “business for peace.”
How serious is 14-year-old Steven Hoffen about growing peace in Israel? So serious that the young filmmaker and hydroponics fan has produced an aIward-winning documentary.
n many ways, Steven Hoffen is ployed after their jobs were moved to a typical teenager who does typ- other parts of the world.
ical things in his free time like Rather than give up on their futures,
peo kin wh lon loo twe a Je an pee wh inte
swim in pools and play board games however, the women organized and
such as Monopoly and backgammon. But he’s also noticeably different from most his age in at least one pas- time. At 14, Steven is not only a film- maker, but an award-winning one. His documentary short Growing Peace in the Middle East has already claimed its share of environmental and human- itarian impact awards at over 70 film festivals around the globe, including the esteemed London Independent and International Human Rights Arts film festivals. Back in February, the documentary was even featured at University of Hawai‘i KIDS FIRST!
launched a slew of projects to keep them active and productive. Among their collaborative efforts has been growing produce in hydroponic gar- dens, a particularly effective system in helping to combat the country’s less- than-ideal climate conditions because it requires no soil and very little water.
“ tary Jew
Film Festival.
Despite all the fanfare he’s been re-
“One of the main reasons they use hydroponics in the homes of these women is because they don’t have a lot of space in the area where they live,” he continues. “In normal farm- ing, you can only really do one layer of planting. But in hydroponics, you can stack these layers and have many hydroponic systems operating on top of each other at the same time.”
A nar
ceiving, the teenager is rather sheep- ish when it comes to others heaping praise on him.
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“As of right now, I’m still a little bit shy talking about this in front of my friends,” admits the New York resident, whose family had a home in Hawai‘i until recently. “A couple of my friends know about (the doc- umentary’s success) ... I’m not sure
“ rea ow wh
how they know.”
While the intense spotlight leaves
Since the documentary came out, more women have joined the Sindyan- na project and begun installing hydro- ponic systems in their homes. Steven is particularly proud of playing a role in the growth of the organization.
him a bit uncomfortable, Steven hasn’t been bashful about shed- ding light on an initiative that’s based in a troubled part of the world: Israel. That ini- tiative concerns the non- profit organization Sin- dyanna of Galilee and forms the basis of his much acclaimed, 17-minute-long
“I’m really happy for that,” he says excitedly. “The women get to grow their own food and it’s something for them to do in their spare time. What- ever is left that they don’t need, they’re actually able to sell that for profit.”
“A lot of experts think that hydro- ponics is kind of a job for the future and a method of farming that’s look- ing toward the future, so this was Sindyanna’s way of catching Arab and Jewish women up in the world of technology and making sure they’ re not left behind,” explains Steven.
wa Sin of ly t a le com act
“What stood out to me was the two

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