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Weekly Updates


Weekly Updates – Jerusalem February 16, 2020

Shalom Aardvark Jerusalem Families, 

We had so much fun this week and it was packed with an incredible number of learning opportunities, so naturally, I have a great deal to tell you! So let’s get started!

On Sunday evening, at the apartment meetings, all of the apartments met with Madrichim Tomer and Rafi in the Moadon to have an activity about being environmentally conscious. They started by watching a video about humankind’s effect on the planet before splitting up into two lines facing each other. The Madrichim read out different statements about being environmentally conscious, and if the students agreed with them or if they applied to them, they had to take a step forward. The statements included lines such as: “It’s important to save energy / I make sure to turn off the light when I leave the room”, “Everyone should only buy things that they are actually going to use / I have worn all the clothes I have in my closet (this year).” This showed them that even if they are aware of the problem and agree that action should be taken, they don’t necessarily take it upon themselves to be more “green”.

After an interesting conversation with everyone in which we discussed the statements that were read out in the first section, the students were split into different groups and each was assigned a different environmental problem. Each group had to think of a few simple actions that they as individuals could take in order to be more environmentally friendly.

We finished the program by giving each student a reusable cup that they could design and personalize, with the goal for us to use less single-use plastic cups in Aardvark activities.

On Monday night, we decided to be brave and to go with the students to the Crazy Mary Horror Maze. Personally I am very afraid of these things. However, our students showed great courage and most of them made it to the higher levels of the maze. The lowest level is 1 and the highest is 9. Most of us made it to level 6. It was a good experience for our students. Despite the concerns of some, they were there as one group and had to help each other overcome their fears. Jonah Katsenelson said, “I wasn’t scared because my eyes were closed the whole time.”

Also on Monday night, our students arrived home from Ethiopia! We are so happy to have them back safe and sound. We have been hearing their stories and about their experiences, and it sounds like it was a memorable and life changing trip!

On Tuesday, to celebrate Tu B’Shvat, the birthday of the trees, both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv got together and went to The Salad Trail! The Salad Trail is an unforgettable experience in the greenhouses of the Habsor region in the northern Negev. The agronomist Uri Alon (a specialist in international agriculture) guided us. We observed the most up to date agricultural technologies – the “hi-tech” of agriculture. At each stop on the tour, we heard an explanation before picking and eating our fruit right away! We encountered a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables: The Tomato Greenhouse, The Greenhouse of Flying Strawberries, The Orchard of Chinese Oranges, Racing of Homing Pigeons, The Herbal Greenhouse of Fresh Medical Herbs, and The Field of Carrots.

After eating more than enough strawberries, carrots and tomatoes, we continued on to a forest filled with Israel’s national flower – the kalanit, otherwise known as the anemone coronaria. We frolicked, meditated, took lots of photos and just enjoyed the beautiful flowers and the incredible weather.

Gaby Sugarman said, “This really was a once in a lifetime kind of day! Best Tiyul ever!”

On Tuesday evening, we gathered for an activity about the different sectors within Israeli society. We split into 7 groups and each group was assigned one sector such as Hassidic Jews, Druze, Muslims, Ethiopians, and Soviet Union Olim. Each group was asked to plan and perform a skit showing the daily life of their people in Israel. Unsurprisingly, most of us had some prejudices about the daily life of these minorities in Israel. However, the society in Israel is very mixed and most of the people here aren’t very different from one another. There are many systems designed to help and give equal opportunities so that everyone has the same chance of succeeding in life here.

We even had a quiz to try to guess people’s occupation based on their appearances and names but we found out that looks can be deceiving and saw some examples like a Bedouin Colonel in the IDF.

This week in Parsha & Pizza: Our students discussed a plethora of topics with Rabbi Josh. From living vs existing, pre-determinism, the big bang theory, and atheists vs agnostics. This really is the students’ favorite time of the week where they really feel they can ask the Rabbi the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but never did!

Internship in the Spotlight: Hi, my name is Michelle Danino and ever since I started interning at Muffin Boutique, I have learned how to make brownies, muffins and apple pies from scratch. I also have learned how to manage my time and be patient while following recipes or else I would mess up if I were in a rush. I have made great relationships with the employees and even my boss, they are all amazing! Overall, my internship is the best because I love baking and have a great time making so many recipes. Everyday, I look forward to working at Muffin Boutique!

Next week, we will be hiking the longest stream in Israel’s Negev desert, going to a pottery painting class, and our Habonim Dror UK students have taken the initiative and planned an activity for the whole group! We can’t wait!

Shabbat Shalom!

Natali Basel




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39 Levinsky Street, 2nd Floor
Tel Aviv 6610910
Aardvark Israel Jerusalem:
3 Ezrat Yisrael Street
Jerusalem 9462503

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