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A Day of Service in Washington, DC

Posted on 03/29/2011 @ 10:35 AM

Today at Panim el Panim we learned about political activism by actually going out and doing service projects in our community. My group went to the Common Good City Farm, which grows produce in an area where residents have difficulty getting fresh fruits and vegetables. One great opportunity they provide is the chance for low income residents to come work in the farm and take home what they harvest. Urban farms are very beneficial and should be implemented all over.

When we returned to the Marriott, we gathered our extra socks and toiletries and gave them to homeless people. Although I didn't find anyone in need of my toothbrushes, this was a great way to make connections and brighten someone's day. I was surprised to hear what many of them had to say about politics and suggestions to better our country.

Next, we heard from Jackie Rottman about her experience at Panim el Panim and how it led to her founding Everybody Dance Now, a nonprofit that provides free hip hop classes for low income teens. After Jackie, we heard about issues on Israel and the importance of a USA-Israel connection. This was all to help give us ideas for when we are lobbying to our representatives on Wednesday.

Then a lovely meal was served and we watched the documentary "Waiting for Superman," which discusses merit system and tenure for public school teachers as well as the reforms made by former DC superintendent Michelle Rhee. This film provoked interesting debate among my fellow Panim el Panim-ers and made me look forward to discussing this issue with my California representatives."

Sarah Chase, Congregation B'nai Brith from Santa Barbara, California

A sea of Jewish teens, the experience to watch the next generation emerge in front my own two eyes, this is Panim el Panim. Yesterday, I worked with 7 intelligent young Jewish leaders and created a hypothetical community service project. This exercise sparked many new ideas for service projects that are both beneficial and fun. I can help my own community by bringing these back to Sarasota. Panim el Panim has opened my mind to a new way of thinking. I now will greet every less fortunate person I see on the street, and let him or her know someone is praying for them.

Sara Tedesco, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

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