After a relaxing Shabbat together as a new group (with much time spent on the beach), we began our orientation. We began by learning the history of the Ethiopian aliyot and discussed the issues facing the Ethiopian community in Israel. Laura, from United Israel Appeal and Leah, from the Jewish Agency, described the work that is being done in Bat Yam with the Ethiopian community.
As a group, we explored the concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing our world, and began to consider guiding questions for our experience. We then had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the various social services in Bat Yam. Because of the many talents of our group, the staff were arguing over which volunteers would go to which organizations. It was nice to feel so wanted! We finished off our orientation with an inspiring and thought-provoking session on what it means to be a volunteer and had the chance to explore our motivations for participating in this programme.
We also had our first session at the Kadima Centre, the youth centre at which we will be spending our afternoons. We started tutoring in English, and played a rousing game of “Twister” to teach colours, left and right. In true Israeli fashion, things were very energetic (and hectic), but we’re very excited to get to know the kids and plan fun and exciting programmes.
We’ve also been working on our Hebrew and started a house dictionary. New entries in our milon (dictionary) include:
Ezeh kef! = That’s fun!
Me’anyan = interesting
Metzuyan = excellent
Our apartment is amazing, we’re only a short walk from the beach and we’re just a bus ride away from Tel Aviv. Navigating the bus system may be difficult, but getting lost is the best way to bond with each other.