Here are some highlights from the past week:
On Sunday the Mind and Body elective kicked off the week with a workshop on cupping glasses used for massages. Later in the day, all the students met with their counselors for their weekly apartment meeting where counselors worked on dynamics, life-problem-solving, and other ideas with their students.
On Monday evening the students competed in an optional game show and demonstrated their trivia knowledge on movies, Israel, and history. It was a lot of fun and the students demonstrated good knowledge and good teamwork.
On Tuesday we walked to the Taglit Innovation Center, a huge center dedicated to Israeli startups, and we met with the communication manager of Zeekit, an app that helps virtual shoppers try on clothes at stores without leaving the comfort of their homes. It was very inspiring to see and hear about the progress Israel is making in the startup industry.
Parsha and Pizza this week was highly topical. The Torah portion of Mishpatim contains many laws about a wide range of topics and Rabbi Marc gave us an overview. For the last month there has been a small but growing anti-corruption protest taking place on Saturday nights on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. Many of the current Knesset members are under investigation for fraud, trust, money laundering, abuse of power and more and more people are voicing their frustration. We connected the Jewish laws against bribery that appear in the Torah portion to current affairs in Israel, the US and other countries around the world. We also learnt the Jewish laws about slavery. We found it surprising that one of the first laws that the Jews received after emerging from hundreds of years of slavery was about having slaves. However, Rabbi Marc taught us the radical difference between classic slavery (denying people freedom and abusing them), modern-day slavery (sweat shops, child labor, sex workers, etc.) and the Jewish idea in the Torah which essentially is a call to help vulnerable people who are in poverty, find a way to achieve economic security.
On Wednesday we had a crazy competition in the streets of Tel Aviv Called “Herzel Says” where students had to complete tasks such as riding a stranger’s bike, creating a street performance in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood and more. The students had to dress up crazy to get in the mood and the energy level was amazing! The winners will soon be announced!
On Thursday the students had their regular routine of Selah, internships and academic classes. We have just finished the day and the students went back to their apartments to prepare for the weekend and rest a little bit.
This week on Selah, we went to Rabin Square, the scene of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. We met Nicky, a facilitator, who ran a Communication Workshop based on the principles of NVC (non-violent communication). We moved from the idea of conflict and violence in Israel in the mid-1990s to look at the violence we sometimes use in our language. It was an interesting hands-on experience that made us examine our language and our filters, and learn how to better express ourselves. We ended with a study session based around a Talmudic text that highlighted the harm we can cause with our words. Thursday’s Learning Space continued our weekly discussions and classes and Rabbi Marc took time to meet with everybody for an informal schmooze about Jewish life in Tel Aviv and how the semester is going.
This week we also started our committee meetings. A large number of students chose to join a committee, and it is great to see that they are willing to give back and initiate all kind of activities and projects for their welfare. This semester we are having a culture committee for events planning, promoters for advertisement of external events, a new paper committee to write about the students’ experience here and a logistics committee for educational projects.
So until next week, I wish you all, Shabbat shalom!