Busy Schedule for DC Jammers
Posted on 07/21/2010 @ 03:49 PM
Hello Friends, Parents, Comrades!
We have had a busy couple of days here at DC JAM. Yesterday was T'sha B'Av, a Jewish day of mourning that many of our participants and staff members commemorated through a traditional 24-hour fast. In the spirit of the holiday, which marks the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, our Jammers toured the United States Holocaust Museum. Everyone handled this particularly difficult experience with maturity and supported each other throughout.
The rest of the day was fairly low-key, out of respect for the Washingtonian heat and the needs of those fasting. A few of us watched the classic movie Casablanca in the library of the George Washington Hillel. Others went to explore Georgetown or to hear prominent speakers at the Brookings Institute in downtown DC.
Our evening concluded with a gorging dinner to break the fast and a remarkable Q&A with Holocaust survivor and Civil Rights activist Marione Ingram.
Today's activities began with community service at either Bright Beginnings or the Center for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV). This afternoon we will be focusing on our preparations for lobbying on Capitol Hill tomorrow.
Settling In at Impact: Southwest
Posted on 07/21/2010 @ 10:52 AM
Our first day volunteering on the reservation has been good. Our group cleaned out the area where the Kachina dancers will be performing and resting on Saturday. We pulled weeds, cleaned up trash, shoveled dirt, and set up benches for the dancers. Feeling accomplished and sweaty, the group now knows how rewarding this experience will be and how much further we have to go. - Hannah Yacknin-Dawson
The participants are doing great! They set up camp and have cooked their own meals with ease. The group is becoming more comfortable with each other and with the outdoor nature of the program. We have met and had meaningful discussion with our host Kenny and some of his family members. It has been neat to discover the similarities between Judaism and the Hopi. Each day we will have a lesson built around this idea. Last night at circle, we discussed our own Jewish identities and what it means to each of us to be Jews. We shared stories about the times we felt most connect to Judaism and the moments when we were most proud to be Jewish. Needless to say, the exchange of ideas and experiences has really helped to bring the group together.
Over the next few days we will be visiting the springs, and the Hopi cultural museum. As well, we will continue to help the Hopi prepare for the Homedance. Each day will bring a different service project as the cultural exchange continues.
Celebrating Tisha b'Av in the Judean Desert and Yad Vashem
Posted on 07/20/2010 @ 07:10 PM
by Anita Blustein, Lonestar Region Program Director
There are not many times in your life when you are able to be in complete silence but still feel completely connected to everyone around you. Today I got to have that experience as we headed to the Judean desert on Tisha b'Av to learn more about the Dead Sea Scrolls. We were able to hike up the mountainous desert that Israel is so well known for while taking a few minutes to individually sit and decipher what it meant to be surrounded by so much history. We took texts that discussed different views about the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in the past century and are thought of as the oldest physical documents we have that reference the destruction of the second temple. There is some debate about their authenticity and background, and I encourage you to continue researching on your own. It was definitely my favorite part of the day as I was able to see the Dead Sea on one side, rows of mountains on the horizons and friends all around.
We then continued on to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum and Memorial. Everything about the museum is intentional from the architecture of the building, to the sounds that you hear to the layout of the artifacts. The personal accounts in the museum are more powerful than anything you could find in a textbook. Our group didn't just tour the museum but took it one step further to analyze its purpose. Does Yad Vashem exist in Israel solely as educational remembrance of the Holocaust or does it exist to justify Israel's existence as a State? What is the role of Holocaust in modern Israel? Does Israel want the memory of the Holocaust to always be a part of its identity.
Overall, it was a meaningful way to observe Tisha b'Av by exploring the Jewish timeline from ancient to modern history.
Looking forward to tomorrow when we will study social Justice in Israel -- is Israel obligated to provide rights and citizenships to any who wish? What does it mean to be a Jewish state with thousands of refugees and foreign workers?
Students Arrive at Impact: Southwest
Posted on 07/19/2010 @ 12:37 PM
Dear Impact Parents,
We are happy to tell you that all participants have arrived safely. We have an incredible bunch from what we can tell so far. Teens from up and down both coasts, the Midwest and Canada, make up our group.
After arrival at the Deer Hill Basecamp, we got to know each other a little better over dinner. The group then prepared and packed for our time on Hopi and in the Mountains. Attached is a pic of our group trying out their new headlamps and flashlights. To close the night we had our first "circle" around the campfire. Circle is how we will end each day while on our journey. It is a safe space to share and discuss feelings and topics relevant to our experience. It was impressive to hear that so many of the participants are stepping out of their comfort zones and trying new things. The potential for personal growth is great.
In the morning after breakfast we will depart for Hopi. It will take between 4 to 5 hours of driving through scenic country to get there. After we arrive we will meet our hosts, set up camp and prepare for the days to come. Performing service, interacting and exchanging with the Hopi, and the chance to help prepare and attend the Homedance is exciting. We are all eager to get started. This is going to be memorable.
Keep an eye out for future updates on our blog and for more pictures on SmugMug.
Week 2 of Impact: DC Jam 2
Posted on 07/19/2010 @ 12:15 PM
Week 2 of Impact: DC JAM is off to a great start.
This morning the students went to the United States Institute of Peace for a simulation on Arab/Israeli conflict. Each student was assigned a role to understand issues happening in Israel on a whole new level.
In the afternoon, we visited the Israeli embassy for a tour and a speaker on Israeli politics.
This evening, we will begin observing Tisha B’av. Our whole group will be attending a service lead by the DC Minyan at the DC JCC and will then have time to reflect on the experience.