We are here in Bat Yam, and after getting settled and fixing some blog related glitches, we are up and running. Welcome to our blog and we are so excited to share our adventures and experiences with you.
My name is Jaime Reich and I am the Hillel of Greater Toronto staff in Bat Yam this summer. We will be updating our blog often, each time through the perspective of a different participant/group of participants. We cant wait to hear what you think or answer any questions you have so please follow, comment, and wait eagerly for our posts 🙂
And now for our first post from the brave student who volunteered to write first, David Cross.
The Bat Yam-ers (Bat Yamites? Bat Yamos? Bat Yamians?) arrived at their apartment on a sunny Thursday. Deftly taking a tour of the apartment, we found it had an extra shower situated in the kitchen, which we couldn’t begin to explain but figured “it was awesome”.
The group bonded through cleaning, making shabbas dinner, eating, sleeping, asking Cross to kill roaches, and reading girly magazines. For shabbat lunch, we were hosted by two Ethiopian families. We learned a lot about their culture and their time immigrating to Israel. We also tried ethnic food such as Injarrah, which was like a sour dough crepe.
On Sunday, we met the children we would be volunteering with. One way of describing our feelings about the groups we were put with was “interesting”, the other is “terrifying”. We were a little shocked at how much the kids fought, screamed, and disregarded any semblance of what we believed was behaviour. As well, the Israeli counselors didn’t bother breaking up any of the fights among the children.
There were bright moments, however. Jenna, who speaks about 4 words of hebrew managed to communicate with her kids, understanding what they wanted her to draw. Brian sang hebrew songs with his kids at karaoke, and Cross was much amused when one of his kids asked him excitedly “Do you know Justin Bieber?”
The Hillelians are looking forward to the coming weeks where they will volunteer with the ethiopian community teaching english. Until then, L’hitraot!