BBYO Summer Blog
Impact: DC Shabbat Shalom
Posted on 07/02/2010 @ 10:57 AM
Hi Impact DC JAM Followers-
We are busy wrapping up our first week here in DC. This morning, the students returned to their two service sites: Bright Beginnings and The Creative Center for Non Violence. Following service, we headed over to the National Mall to check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It’s been a great, but busy week. The students have all been working on Committees to plan our community Shabbat. Every student has signed up for one of four committee groups: Tefillah (planning our Friday night prayers), Ruach (spirit and songs), Hiddur (building beautification and Shabbat-o-grams), and Oneg /Limmud(fun organized activity and learning sessions). Tomorrow morning we’ll be visited a couple different synagogues in DC and we’ll likely head over to the Lincoln Memorial for Havdallah.
Shabbat Shalom! Natalie
Impact: DC Goes to the White House
Posted on 07/01/2010 @ 10:59 AM
Oh Parental Units/'rents/Mothers/Fathers/Abbim/Emmot/Guardians,
Ahoy from Impact: DC JAM! Our names are Jake Janofsky and Sarah Seldin. and we are the teen coordinators for this summer's adventures.We are rising college freshmen who are here to enrich your child's time at JAM by bridging the gap between the incredible participants and the fabulous staff.
Today at DC JAM, we explored the extremes of American society. Our day began with a quick jaunt down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the White House, looking sharp in our suit jackets and skirts. The tour through the House's show rooms felt rather short, but we snaked our way through the stately grandeur of the East Wing, meticulously inspecting our surroundings. We learned that President Obama was, in fact, inside the building at the same time as our tour! Although we didn't see the 44th President, all of us loved the opportunity to see the Obama family's residence.
After some free time to explore the Smithsonian museums, we smplit into several groups. Some of us walked through the Capitol building, and others went to museums, but we all came back together to address the opposite extreme of America: the homeless. The National Coalition for Homeless facilitated a panel of two speakers, both of whom graciously shared their experience of having been homeless in the DC area. What surprised many participants, and even staff, was that both speakers, named Alan and Sheila, sounded remarkably like us. They were people who had families, who went to private schools, attended college, and worked well-paying jobs, but for their own reasons, ended up in debt and unfortunately, on the streets. Later, Alan and Sheila acted as our guides as we left the isolation of the Hillel building and took the Metro to McPherson Square. Our task was the study of Street Torah... which you should ask your child about when they get home!
We will be sure to keep updating you on our activities, and maybe your son or daughter will be sending out a blog as well, so keep in touch!
Sarah and Jake
PS Peace out Cub Scouts!
Judaism and Justice Beit Midrash
Posted on 06/29/2010 @ 12:30 PM
My name is Adam Greenwald, and I serve as Director of Education for Impact: DC JAM. This is my fourth year spending my summer as an educator on PANIM programs, and I always learn much more from the amazingly diverse group of participants than I could ever hope to teach them.
Yesterday we began our two-week “Beit Midrash” style learning program, which challenges the teens to use both classical and modern texts as springboards for discussion, debate, and reflection on our special role as Jewish activists in the ongoing struggle to build a more just and compassionate society. It was a pleasure to sit back and just listen as the participants thoughtfully dissected our first text and generated a list of insightful questions about the nature of our obligations to the vulnerable, which will serve as the backbone for the rest of their learning.
In particular, I love teaching in settings like BBYO and PANIM, because we consciously draw together teens from all different Jewish backgrounds. The participants who had never studied a Jewish text before brought fresh eyes and great questions, and the participants who have spent many years in religious day schools brought a wealth of experience and comfort in the world of Jewish ideas. Each one of these teens has their own unique Torah to share, and it is a wonderful privilege to have the role of helping them to find their own inner wisdom, to develop it, and to share it with each other.
Kicking Off Impact: DC Jam
Posted on 06/29/2010 @ 10:59 AM
Session 1 of Impact: DC JAM began today. All of the students arrived safely and energized - regardless of how far and long they traveled.
After a welcome program, all of the students moved into their rooms. For many, it was their first experience unpacking in a college dorm. After a little down time, Adam Greenwald, our Director of Education led our first Beit Midrash session called “The Beginnings of Justice.” Students tackled what the definition of social justice is and started to ask questions as to what and who they should “serve.” Everyone actively participated and it was exciting.
After Beit Midrash, we had a great first dinner: Schwarma and Falafel!
We closed the evening with a fun program lead by our teen coordinators. It produced lots of laughter and set the tone for a wonderful two weeks.
We’re ready for day 2!
Natalie Sukienik Program Director