Weekly Updates – Jerusalem December 6, 2019
Shalom Aardvark Jerusalem Families,
December arrived this week, and with the beginning of December came the bittersweet feeling that the semester in Jerusalem is soon coming to an end! As sad as we are that the semester is ending, this week was still full of many memorable moments!
On Sunday evening, we had our second Boys & Girls Night!
The boys met with Madrichim Rafi and Tomer at the classrooms for an activity about Masculinity and Men in 2019.
They started out with a little friendly competition – the boys were split into 2 groups and each had to do a relay race to a whiteboard and write down the qualities of a “Real Man” or “Good Man”. Once we discussed the difference between the two terms, the boys had some time to walk around the classroom, where we had multiple projectors set up with videos and quotes on the walls all relating to the topic of Masculinity/Toxic Masculinity/Being “Man Enough”/Teaching our Boys/Male Identity.
After about 20 minutes, the boys gathered back in the large classroom where there were 7 lines marked out on the floor, ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Somewhat Disagree”, all the way to “Strongly Agree”. As we read out different statements talking about masculinity and things related to the topic, the boys had to place themselves on the spectrum that was laid out in front of them. Some of the statements included “I feel comfortable showing my emotions”, “I feel the need to be a role model for others”, “Toxic masculinity is overblown”, and “I think the macho stereotype is hurting men”. After each statement was read and they moved around, they explained to the rest of the group why they stood where they did and had a very mature conversation about it.
The girls had an intimate activity with the Jerusalem Madricha Tamar. Their activity was about dreams. The girls began by watching an inspiring video about dreaming, they then wrote 3 of their dreams on little notes and shared them with the group. We connected to our artistic side and made beautiful dream catchers together and had a great time bonding as we worked. We then talked about the importance of remembering and daring to dream, especially in our busy day to day lives. Finally, we walked together to the shuk and had ice cream together. It was a great evening of girl-bonding and creativity.
On Monday evening, we had a Hebrew Coffee activity, we went to a real Israeli coffee house and spent the entire evening speaking in Hebrew.
We ordered in Hebrew, had conversations in Hebrew and even laughed about it, all in Hebrew. It was a fun activity to try out what we learned in Ulpan in a real-life environment and gain confidence in speaking Hebrew. After we all enjoyed our café (coffee) and uga (cake), we all left more confident in our ability to speak Hebrew during our day-to-day life in Israel.
Ella Newell said, “For our weekly activity we had Cafe Ivrit. I am very grateful for the opportunity to practice my Hebrew. Ever since then I have been much more confident with practicing my Hebrew. I also learned a lot from my fellow peers and Aba Tomer. Overall it was a very fun night with delicious food and drinks, and fun way to practice our Hebrew with minimal pressure.”
For Tuesday’s Tiyul, we visited the city of Hebron – the only city in the West Bank where Jews and Arabs live alongside each other. There, the students went to the Avraham Avinu Shul that was originally built in the 16th century and destroyed during the Hebron massacre in 1929 and has since been rebuilt. There, we learned all about the history of the city and the Jews that have lived there over the years. A woman from the community spoke to them and told them how she ended up in Hebron with her family. The woman invited everyone into her home and all the students really enjoyed listening to her tell her life story and her connection to Hebron. We really connected with her, which was very nice to watch. We stopped at the Hebron museum and were able to see the history of place, how complicated it is and how the Jews have been fighting to keep the land for so many years. As we were finishing up there, we went to an elevated lookout point where everyone could see all of the city. The students got an overview of the different aspects of the daily life in Hebron. Everyone finished off the day by visiting Mearat Hamachpela (the Cave of Patriarchs) where the mothers and fathers of the nation are buried. It was a very spiritual experience to be able to visit and pray at such a holy place.
Yitzi Zolty reflected saying, “Going on the Chevron trip was not just inspiring but it has shown me what I have and what I’ve been taking for granted. Seeing the way people live and the conflict going on in Israel makes me understand how blessed I am to have what I have and to be where I am. It’s made me appreciate the life I live and the way I grew up as well as understand how different my perspective on life would be if I grew up the way people there have.”
On Tuesday Evening, the moment we were all waiting for finally arrived! Over the last few weeks, several students began their preparation for our TED talks that they delivered this evening. Thirteen students went outside of their comfort zones to prepare thrilling and interesting lectures and workshops, and then dealt with one of life’s biggest challenges – speaking in front of an audience.
It was very emotional to see our students stand in front of their friends and talk about issues close to their hearts. The students spoke about topics very close to home, and the talks were all very emotional and inspiring. The subjects ranged from Meaning in Judaism, Black holes, Gratitude Happiness & Success, Negative Interest Rates, Stop Saying Sorry, Finding Your Happiness, Real Friendship, and so much more!
One of the most uplifting things was seeing the amount of love and support the students gave to those who were giving the lectures. The activity was such a success that some of the students who were previously worried about talking in this activity, were inspired by their friends and then came to ask us to organise another TED evening so that they can speak too. We are so proud of our students!
On Wednesday evening, we held an optional resume building workshop for the students. We had a boss from one of the internships come in and teach the students how to build a proper resume that will help them in their future careers and internships.
Rachel Egenberg said, “Writing a resume for the first time truly made me realise that I am adulting and becoming a person who is now able to be appointed to a job. Having the opportunity to write one and having help from staff members who care about my future made me feel confident in myself and made me realise that I am lucky to have help while I am still learning how to be an adult.”
This week on Selah: This week in Selah we focused on the topic of “Jews in Hollywood”.
On Monday we read some articles and watched a documentary on the subject. Some central topics brought up in the class discussion were Jewish education and success, Anti-Semitism, and the responsibility that powerful Jews have towards other Jews.
On Thursday we had the privilege of meeting and having a workshop with Jerusalem’s well known English speaking comedian, David Kilimnick http://www.davidkilimnick.com
He helped us explore our Israel experience and taught us how to translate it into a comedy sketch.
Internship in the Spotlight: Hi My name is Raya Holz and I intern at Ground Up Ventures. Every day that I am at my internship with Ground Up Ventures, I am exposed to at least one up and coming start-up. Ground Up Ventures is a pre-seed, seed round VC firm based in Israel and New York. I spend most of my time working on finding where a start-up is from, how much money they are raising, and what their business, service, or product is meant to do. On multiple occasions, my internship has taken me to Tel Aviv to meet with start-ups and hear their pitch to investors. I have learned a lot about what a good start-up looks like, what companies need to have to attract investors, and how to market a company.
Next week, some of our students will be flying to China, we will have a sushi making workshop, visiting the Begin Museum and the Herzl Museum, and hearing from a StandWithUs Representative about how to combat BDS on our college campuses.