Weekly Updates – Tel Aviv March 1, 2020
Shalom Dear Parents,
I hope you all had as great a week as the one we had here in Tel Aviv.
On Sunday, we had a community talk in which we spoke about the psychology of a community. We reflected on our strengths and challenges, but this time not as individuals, rather as a whole. It was very interesting to see the variety of perspectives in our community. We also had a visit from the organization Gift of Life, and they told us about the incredible work they do creating a bigger database in order to find bone marrow matches for Jews and other minorities with cancer.
On Monday night, the students had the chance to put their artist hats on and experience an activity called Paint Date. The Moadon was turned into an art workshop and people created beautiful paintings with special guidance from the Madrichim. Nearly 50 students chose to attend this activity, and the paintings turned out to be pretty impressive.
“I really enjoyed this activity because it gave each person a space to let their creative juices flow. You don’t have to be talented to make some art!” – Leena Deemers
This Tuesday we met up with our dear friends from the Aardvark Jerusalem community and drove up to the holy city of Tsfat. It is always heart-warming to see the students from both communities come together and mix. We walked around the beautiful city of Tsfat; we went into different synagogues of different streams and sects of Judaism, talked about Kabbalah, intention and lots more.
Tzfat is no doubt one of my favourite cities in Israel. I’m not a religious person, or even spiritual in relation to Judaism, but there is something about Tzfat that makes me feel connected to my Judaism. The old streets and preserved synagogues remind me of what being a Jew hundreds of years ago would’ve been like, which is truly special. We were taken through the tiny streets of Tzfat and learnt stories about people who used to live in some of the houses. We got to eat amazing food in the market whilst seeing the incredible art that Tzfat has to offer. It was a super fun day and despite it not being my first time in Tzfat I still feel as though I have learnt new things about my own connection to Judaism. Sarah Sharwood
On Wednesday night, we had a visit from a very interesting guest speaker. Nurit Kaneti is a highly experienced person from the media world. She has worked for some of Israel’s biggest news channels, radio, television and newspapers. Her research focuses on the way that Jews from outside of Israel are portrayed in the Israeli media, and she came here to share her findings with us. It was a unique point of view that was very surprising to most of the students.
On Thursday night, our Entrepreneurship Group started their “creating a project” workshop, and our Sela participants spoke to members of the LGBT community and learned about the relationship they have with their Jewish identity.
Over Shabbat, the Sela group had a Shabbaton in Nitsan, a weekend of deepening their Jewish identity by learning, debating, relaxing and having a Shabbat experience with a community.
Talya Wittenberg said, “What a perfect getaway. We began with the incredibly moving Gush Katif museum, and meeting Debbie our tour guide, one of the members of this proud community. From there we went to Nitzan, home of our beloved Etai. We spent Shabbat there; connecting to the land and enjoying the weather and company. Highlights included having a mom around, laying in the sun, talking, and eating some of the best food. It was truly amazing to partake in this shabbaton, and I feel rejuvenated for the week ahead of me.”
Next week is going to be just as interesting, if not more. We have our third-in-a-row elections here in Israel on Monday, so that will be a unique experience in and of itself.
For photos of the past week click here
Etai Ben Simhon