Last week was a great week on the Aardvark Jerusalem Program. Starting Monday we had our first day of internships/volunteering. Every year our students choose from a wide variety of places, everything from award winning bakeries to a preschool for children with special needs and this year was no different. Every student chose an internship according to their interests. The first day was a big success, the students had a great time. Julia Heiman “My internship in Neeman Bakery really allows me to be immersed in Israeli culture”. Internships/volunteering will take place on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. That evening every apartment had their first apartment meeting with their madrich/madricha. We talked about the past week and each student’s highlights of the week. We also created a “time capsule” where each of us wrote where we want to be at the end of the semester and what we want to achieve throughout the semester.
On Monday we started our week of intensive Ulpan where the students learn Hebrew for 4 hours a day in Ulpan “Milah” in the center of town of Jerusalem. The goal of this week is to take students up a level and make them even more confident in their skills. Starting next week we will have Hebrew twice a week for an hour and a half. On Monday night we went bowling all together in the nearby mall and everyone had a great time.
For the Tuesday trip we went to the Old City of Jerusalem. To get to know the area we went on a Scavenger hunt, looking for the famous landmarks of the old city including the cardo street, the Hurvah synagogue and the western wall. The winning team was compiled of Ellis, Talya, Abbie, Micha and Coby. The winning team won dinner in a restaurant. Ethan Ratnowsky said about the scavenger hunt “it incorporated the past, present and future all in one adventures hunt” That night for the mandatory activity we had an acting session with a professional actor, that consists of improve and skit games. Everyone got a really good laugh out of it and it was a great way to end a very busy day.
Every week at Parsha and Pizza Rabbi Marc welcomes students for some food and a conversation about the weekly Torah portion. This week the group began discussing the great story of the Exodus. Rabbi Marc pointed out that the first time Jews are referred to as a people (עם ישראל) is in the portion of Shemot that we read this week when Pharoah began his campaign of enslavement and genocide. The group was asked to try and define what makes us a people and whether we are able to define ourselves positively as a nation or whether we can only feel united when our enemies attack us. From there we went on to look at the early life of Moshe, our greatest prophet and leader. We learnt about his passion for justice and how already at an early age he stuck up for the oppressed. Finally we talked about the powerful message of the burning bush – how the fire of our passion and purpose in this world will never go away until we act upon it.
Thursday was the last day of the Ulpan seminar, it was intensive and hard but the students showed a lot progress. To sweeten their time in Ulpan we gave them a nice little treat every day.