I want to start this week’s letter with the AMAZING news that every student & Aardvark Israel staff member in Jerusalem has received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine!
This week, a group of Aardvark students began their EMS training with Magen David Adom, Israel’s Ambulance Service. Through this experience, the students will gain many skills in the medical field, while being immersed in one of the most unique Israeli experiences. They will be dedicating time during their semester to helping people and even saving lives. We are so proud & look forward to seeing the amazing things they accomplish!
Natalie O’Brien & Oliver Saadia with the boxes of artifacts at their Archaeological Dig internship.
Darby Shaw and her peers learning to perform CPR in the Magen David Adom course.
I participated in a family feud activity where we were tasked to team up and answer compelling questions on day-to-day Israeli life. One of the questions was: “What is a classic Israeli breakfast?” I jumped at the opportunity to answer this, as the Israeli breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day. My favorite answer was “cottage cheese,” as this is a classic Israeli breakfast and my favorite food to eat in Israel growing up. Although the activity was on Zoom, it was my favorite so far due to the counselors making the activity an engaging and fun experience.
Two days ago, we spent the day in the park doing a reflection activity. We sat in a circle with our counselor, Noga, and caught up from the week while snacking on tea and cookies from Marzipan. We then split up to sit by ourselves and answer some personal reflection questions. Some of the questions asked about our goals in life, what kind of person we want to become, and who our role models are. It was so nice to take some time to slow down and think about things that we don’t usually have time to think about in day-to-day life. It was so nice outside that my roommates and I decided to just stay in the park and enjoy the warm weather. We have now made a habit of going to Sacher Park to read, tan, do yoga, or just hang out.
After two exciting weeks of “freedom” in Jerusalem, I am, unfortunately, back in quarantine. The Israeli government requires anyone who comes in contact with a person who tests positive to quarantine, so here I am! Although it has not been the most exciting, I have filled my time by working out, calling friends, and people-watching from my window. I am really looking forward to getting out of quarantine and reuniting with my roommates and friends after this “stay-cation!”
Having the opportunity to intern at a jewelry studio this past month has been an amazing experience. I’ve had the chance to get out every day and learn new skills. From taking stock, reorganizing, and finding the perfect angle to photograph the jewelry from, my boss teaches us everything we need to know with precision. It took a couple weeks for us to gain her trust when it came to styling displays and taking photographs, but now that we have, our boss is happy to delegate work to us. And although the three of us are busy inside, we have yet to welcome any customers. My coworker and I have seen what it means to be a small business during a pandemic, with passersby wanting to enter but not being allowed in. In a tough time, my coworker, boss, and I make the most out of our time together!
This week in (th)INK! it was great to reconnect in person (although we had one join remotely since she was still in quarantine!) with snacks to begin to explore some of the deep and hidden secrets of Purim. We discovered that much of what we thought about Purim as a sweet children’s holiday is really hiding the true meaning of Purim. We also began to learn about what is unique about celebrating Purim in Jerusalem in general, and in particular this year as it is what is called “purim meshulash” (Threefold Purim) since the festivities begin on Friday and finish on Sunday. We will go deeper into Purim next week!
This Week in Academics
The Zionism 101 class is off to a great start. We had an in-depth conversation about “What are the Jews?” and how that feeds into defining Zionism. We took turns looking for memes and other social media posts that both promoted and attacked Zionist claims, and then we discussed them as a class.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict class is diving into the Zionist narrative. We are currently discussing the significance of the Jewish people as being indigenous to the land of Israel and how the connection between Jews and their historic homeland has been maintained even during long periods spent in the Diaspora.
In our Jewish Medical Ethics class we have begun to explore ethics and how ethical norms are set. We looked at the statement of ethics published by the American Medical Association and we are now investigating what defines a medical ethic as being Jewish. We discussed how defining a medical ethic as being Jewish has to take into account the tradition of machloket (disagreement).
Our counselor on call this weekend is Elina.