PDI cohort 2 Israel Seminar
Posted on 07/25/2011 @ 01:21 PM
The Arab Israeli conflict is certainly a contentious issue. Today we had the opportunity to expand our own understanding of this conflict through conversation with two Israeli Arabs and one Jewish Israeli living beside an Arab community.
Iman Kadach is an English teacher living in Majd El Krum, an Arab village in the North. Iman discussed how life as a teacher earns her the same Israeli rights as any other teacher although Arab schools seem to receive less state funding and perhaps subsequently students score lower on their state scores. From a political standpoint Iman appreciates the opportunities she has as a woman in Israel but utilizes freely the discounts abroad from being from Palestine. Iman hopes for a day when everyone can live as they wish in a democratic society.
In Dir El-Assad we were treated to a delectable meal from Camla, a caterer and business woman. Camla spoke to us about how as an Arab woman she must cater her food out and that many of her customers are Jewish because in her culture men should be the dominant business owners. Camla is learning the laws of Kashrut in hopes of expanding her business in Israel and in the meantime serving her customers healthy and delicious parve and basari meals.
Our last stop of the day was to Yaad, a Jewish settlement in the Galilee. There Chasiah told us of her surprise to learn that her community was strategically mapped out by the Jewish Agency to surround Arab villages in an effort to halt their growth and serve as a lookout point over their villages. Chasiah and her husband also learned on a walk around their new town that the land had previously been Arab farmland and there was an Arab graveyard on site. Chasiah told us about her morale struggle with this new information but how she galvanized her community to halt their own growth that would have taken them on top of the graveyard. To do this Chasiah worked in conjunction with the Arabs and together they decided not only to halt the Jewish building but to build a fence around the Arab cemetery.
When speaking with these three woman it was evident to me that most important in this conflict, is the ability and willingness to gain new insight and prospective from others. On this sensitive topic we can only move forward if we’re open to the assumption that more than one view point holds validity and that as a whole no one community is innocent or guilty. I appreciated learning from these three women and their openness in sharing their views on the country they call home.
Week 2 Comes to a Close
Posted on 07/24/2011 @ 11:00 PM
We started our weekend off with a truly incredible Shabbat experience, including a service by the lake, a traditional Carlebach style experience, and a meditation service that received tremendous reviews. All of our participants were set to have a restful, meaningful Shabbat.
We relaxed through the day on Saturday and closed out our Shabbat with an amazing panel discussion, first with our educators and then our specialist staff and Madrichim. The questions teens were asking were thoughtful and thought-provoking. I was asked about my belief in the world to come, in piercings (turns out my choices come from a fear of needles more than anything else), and what I feel is the most important part of Judaism to pass on to future generations, among other things. Our teens also asked our other staff about Jewish life on campus and about their encounters with Anti-Semitism.
After the panel, we transitioned into a new week with a beautiful Havdallah ceremony out on the field. Participants sat down for a program about mysticism and magic, which looked at some crazy texts from our sages about witches, spells and more. After participants started sharing their views, our coordinators ran into the room shouting things like "expelliarmus" and "imperio" - turns out that we had rented out a whole theater to take participants to a late-night screening of Harry Potter! Surprise! Needless to say, they were pretty excited about it. We're hoping to upload the video of the reaction soon, because it was pretty overwhelming.
After a late start on Sunday (we only got back to camp at 1:15am!), we had a great day of learning and moved in to our evening program, the second exchange with the teens from Camp Morasha and Camp Mesora. We had singing and dancing - of which there are some incredible photos, participants cheered and sang songs together, played some frisbee and basketball and we ended the evening with a lot of promises to keep in touch post-camp. Many participants said this was one of the most meaningful Jewish experiences they've had, and I am just so grateful that we got to be a part of it.
Overall, our weekend was pretty exceptional and we've got a whole week of amazing opportunities lined up as we move into our final days (already?!) of Kallah. We look forward to telling you all about them soon!
Message from Orli Berman (NRE-DC) - CLTC 6
Posted on 07/24/2011 @ 04:40 PM
CLTC 6, 2011 has been even more incredible than I ever thought. The 91 participants are absolutely amazing. In just a short 6 days, we’ve already formed such a strong community, with people from Florida, California, Seattle, Toronto, and everywhere in between. Together, we have had an incredible Shabbat and Havdalah, each pledged to make a difference in a cause we believe in, spent our free time swimming, learned the birkat, grown as leaders, made great friends, and above all – had an amazing time. Dan and I are so fortunate to have such a great group of participants and staff, and we can’t wait for the remaining days of CLTC!
Our Journey in Israel as a Cohort
Posted on 07/24/2011 @ 11:12 AM
With Shabbat in Tel Aviv behind us, BBYO PDI Cohort 2 began our first full week in Israel with some Hebrew and a lesson in Zionist thought. We read a piece by Martin Buber, the 19th Century Jewish German philosopher, who outlined the difference between Nationalism and Zionism.
At mid-day, we split up into three groups to visit three different organizations doing social justice work in Israel. One group met with an organization that supports foreign workers. Another group met with an organization that works with gay and lesbian youth. The third group, which was the group that I was a part of, met with HUB Tel Aviv, a network of social entrepreneurs working together in one space, collaborating and creating a community of social entrepreneurs within Tel Aviv. It was fascinating to hear from professionals at HUB as well as members – individuals working at the HUB space to further their causes ranging from environmental efficiency to community service projects in India. The hours spent with HUB gave me a new glimpse into everyday life for an Israeli and allowed me to draw comparisons between myself and Israelis in a new way.
As we continue along our journey in Israel as a Cohort, we continue to be amazed at the vibrancy of life in Israel and the strides Israeli society is making to compete in a modern economic and cultural world.
CLTC 5 Presents One Day Song
Posted on 07/23/2011 @ 11:28 PM
One Day - Matisyahu When we got off the Beber bus We were so excited We looked around the dining hall I thought this is our family Getting to CLTC we knew That all the things we heard was true We started off as caterpillars But now we spread our wings and sing All our lives we've been waiting for To be come more For the people to say BBGs always lead the way And we're here to stay Thanks CLTC BBGs AZAs, BBYO x2 Scream thank you CLTC