Thursday, March 28, 2013

Volunteering in Tikkun Olam

Current Coexistence Track participant Yael Kurganoff from Chicago, recently blogged about her volunteering placements in Tikkun Olam.  To have an experience like Yael's starting this September, get started on your application now on our website.

A few weeks ago, we finished the orientation period and started our regular schedule. We volunteer three days a week ( Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday), have two study days (Monday and Thursday) and then we have the weekend off (Which here is Friday and Saturday).  I am happy to report that I got all the placements I wanted :)

Sunday was my first day volunteering. One of them is still in the works, so I only went to the Elderly Center, which was a lot of fun. Everyone was speaking to me only in Hebrew, which was good but I was a little lost sometimes :) 

On Monday we had our first full day of classes, which included three hours of Hebrew, a Coexistence Track meeting, lunch and two classes- Jewish Peoplehood, and Social Justice in the Jewish Texts (with everyone). It was a long day, but I found both classes to be quite interesting.

Yesterday was my first day at the Shachaf Center (which I am going to be at twice a week). This is the center where kindergarten classes come once a month to learn about the environment and being green. Yesterday was a prep day, so we just got ready for the new month of activities. The women are so wonderful that work there! That evening, I finally got to walk the Tayelet (the boardwalk) from the Jaffa port to the Tel Aviv port. It was a long walk (like 2 hours) but it was great, minus the wind and we got to see a beautiful sunset along the way. We topped it off with going to Max Brenner (a fantastic chocolate place).

Sunset over the Tel Aviv Marina

Today was absolutely AMAZING! I am so happy at the Shachaf Center! Each day there are two sessions (two different classes) with a break in the middle, where the four women and I sat and ate and talked. The morning class was a special needs Jewish school. After a little presentation, they had all these different stations outside (looking at the tadpoles, looking for bugs, painting water colors with feathers etc). The kids were SOOOO adorable. The second group was from an Arab School. That was interesting, because I was not really able to interact with the kids as much as I was with the first group, since I do not speak Arabic. I know I will learn some words eventually :) The last thing I have today is tutoring at an Arab school (which I am headed to soon).

Besides these three volunteer sites, I will be doing the Jaffa Lacrosse once a week as well as Mesilla, which is a unrecognized preschool for migrant worker's kids.

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