June 17, 2021
On Monday evening, we had an interesting session of Faces of Israel with Jonathan Elkhoury, a gay Christian Lebanese refugee who now lives in Israel. He and his family were forced to leave Lebanon and go to Israel after the Lebanese Civil War for their own protection. Jonathan’s father was a member of the South Lebanon Army (SLA), which was supported by the Israel Defense Forces.
We learned a little bit about the history of the dynamics between Israel and Lebanon and discussed questions of identity, and what it feels like to grow up in Israel as a foreigner, to embrace the Israeli rituals, education, and much more.
In the workshop “Dealing With Confusion: The Online Israel Conversation,” we learned how to contextualize the online Israel conversation, and how Israel is both understood and misunderstood outside of Israel.
In “This Isn’t What I Signed Up For: Coping as a Jew With the New Reality on Campus,” we discussed what it means to be a Jew on college campuses in an era of rising anti-semitism.
In “Pay it Forward – Innovation and Entrepreneurship as an Engine for Impact in the Community,” we learned how to use the innovation and entrepreneurship skills we gained during our experience in Israel to create impact back in our home communities.
Niv Sparkes wrote about his experience:
“Our Tiyul this week was to Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a Masa Design Your Next Step event. Though we had to wake up early and we were all tired, once we arrived to Hebrew University campus, we fully woke up when we saw the size of the Masa community. Sometimes living in the bustling city that is Tel Aviv, we can feel little fish in a big pond, so having a group of fellow gap year students was refreshing. Meeting other students from all around the world was a wonderful experience, with Panamanians, Argentinians, South Africans, and many more nationalities reminding us just how diverse the Jewish diaspora is. With interesting speakers, a delicious lunch, and a beautiful view of Jerusalem from an observation deck at Hebrew University, we thoroughly enjoyed our Tiyul Tuesday.”
On Wednesday, the students had the opportunity to enjoy a movie in the cinema, after more than a year in which the cinemas were closed! Around 20 students chose to watch the new movie “Cruella” and had a fun evening together enjoying a movie in the cinema for the first time in a really long time.
This week was the first week we had chugim and courses. The students chose one chug and one course that they will take part in until the end of the semester. Among the courses offered were: Jewish Humor, Tel Aviv and the Arts, and Zoom-in: Conflict and Midrash & Fantasy. Among the Chugim offered were: Spoken Arabic, Hebrew, Chess, and Yoga.
After a great week of learning and discussing interesting topics, we are looking forward to next week.
The Madricha on call for this weekend is Stav.
Have a great weekend,