Program Update II: Tawonga Teen Service Learning / by Aaron Mandel, Camp Tawonga

TSL families,

The group is having a great time in Israel!

Since the last update the group has been busy filling their days with an incredible mix of work, fun and learning.  Last week saw the first day of the work project in Yavne get its start.  The group was split between making raised palette beds for planting, breaking wood down for the beds, putting in an irrigation system and weeding the area around the community center.

Over this past weekend the group had a relaxing Shabbat at the Hava v’Adam farm outside of Modi’in.  The teens got a tour of the farm the first day they were there and were “amazed” by what can grow in the harsh summer climate in Israel.  The group celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night and planned their own teen-led service on Saturday morning.  The teens got into teams and cooked all of their own meals over the weekend.

After leaving the farm the group had a day with Rabbi Yonatan Neril of Jewish Eco Seminars.  Rabbi Neril was a former Tawonga staff and camper himself who has made aliyah to Israel and founded this organization. He taught the group about the ecological history of Israel and took them into some caves for hiking and exploring to connect, a few photos of the group’s day with Jewish Eco Seminars are on their Facebook page here.  A fact that the group learned is that Israel is the only country in the world that now has more trees than when it was founded!

The group is now back on the work project all week in Yavne and the weekend clearly revitalized them because they had a “very strong work day” according to all the staff.  They finished the first planting bed for the garden and are learning lots of skills with woodworking and construction tasks.  The group also spent part of the day meeting their host families from Yavne who they will stay with this Friday night and doing a weaving activity with seniors from the community and finished the day off with a pool party with the Yavne teens.

Today the group has a partial work day and then a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum outside of Jerusalem for should be a moving, solemn and informative visit.  The rest of the week is on the worksite and with the community in Yavne before the homestays over Shabbat.

We’ll continue to update you on the group’s progress, they are having a wonderful time and the impact of the trip is really beginning to sink in for all of them.

Follow the group and view more pictures on Yahel’s Facebook Page.

Thanks,
Aaron

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One thought on “Program Update II: Tawonga Teen Service Learning / by Aaron Mandel, Camp Tawonga

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