Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Participant Perspectives: Welcome to South Tel Aviv

One week into Tikkun Olam 2012-13, the group is getting acclimated to their neighborhoods and packing in as many Hebrew classes and volunteering site visits as possible before the holidays.  Here, Dave Siegel, a Social Action Track participant from Boston, tells a bit about his first week:

As part of our orientation to living in South Tel Aviv, we took a tour of our neighborhood, Kiryat Shalom. The unique part of the neighborhood is the presence of Bukharan Jews from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Many of these Jews emigrated to Israel after the USSR was dissolved. The history of the Bukharan Jews is up for debate. Some claim they are one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, while others claim that they traveled to Central Asia after the Babylonian Exile and never returned to Eretz Yisrael. We stopped at a Bukharan bakery that makes sambuscas. Sambuscas are sort of like bourekas, but made with a dough that resembles bread dough. There was spinach and onion, mushroom, and meat and onion. I got the meat and onion. Sambuscas are a great snack to hold over ones appetite before lunch or before dinner.

We then headed to the Central Bus Station to get bus passes. After that, our program coordinator let us have free time. Hearing that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were coming to Tel Aviv, some of my new friends and I went to get tickets. Going to see them tomorrow. I am very excited about seeing one of my favorite bands. We then headed back towards Kiryat Shalom and stopped for lunch at a shwarma/shakshouka/falafel place. It was delicious. I got the mixed lamb and turkey shwarma with all of the fixing in a lafa, which is a larger flatbread that does not have a pocket like pita. After that we strolled through the HaCarmel Market. I am going to love going there for all of my food shopping.

We then went hiking near the location of the battle between David and Goliath. It was extremely hot,but worth it because it was gorgeous. We went through a vineyard and snacked on some raisins from the vine. You could taste the sunshine and the earth in the raisin. We then went into some of the caves that were used during the Bar Kochba Revolt. Very dark and scary, but worth it.

We then headed south to Kibbutz Gal On for program orientation and Shabbat. Gal On is absolutely beautiful. While there I got to find out where I could be volunteering and what level of Ulpan (Hebrew class) I will be in. 

Today we are starting Ulpan and going to the Bina Center. More to come from South Tel Aviv in the coming days. Lehitraot.

Applications are open now for Tikkun Olam Spring 2013, running February 12 - July 7, 2013.  Apply now online to join Dave in South Tel Aviv this spring!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tikkun Olam 2012-13 has begun!

Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa 2012-13 is underway!

Our new group of 32 volunteers from the U.S., Europe and Israel landed last Monday.  They had a day of orientation to the program, an introduction to their neighborhoods, and then a weekend at Kibbutz Gal-On in the northern Negev.  Now the group has begun their orientation month, studying Hebrew and going on tours of potential volunteering placements.

Here are a few snapshots from the first week of Tikkun Olam 2012-13:

 The new Tikkun Olamers on day 1 at Beit Daniel
 Hanging out on the kibbutz
 "Heder Ochel" (cafeteria) at Gal On
 Anaelle shows off Israeli snacks
 Enjoying the kibbutz life
 Getting to enter the caves in Tel Azaka
 Ram and Anaelle enjoying a hike in Tel Azaka
 The group learned about Tel Azaka which, according to the bible, was the site of a major battle between the ancient Israelites and the Philistines, culminating in the legendary fight between David and Goliath.
This week the group is learning Hebrew and touring potential volunteering sites -- here the Coexistence Track group visits the Jaffa Multi-purpose Daycare Center