My Yahel Moment – 50 Days of Summer

This summer, 50 volunteers will be participating in Yahel Insight programs. Each one will share their “Yahel Moment” on Yahel’s Facebook Page. To follow their moments, please Like us on Facebook.

50 Days of Summer Volunteering in Israel with Yahel

The following moment was shared by Jordana Gilman, a participant on the Repair the World Onward Israel Service-learning Initiative in Be’er Sheva. Jordana is volunteering at a women’s shelter this summer.

My Yahel moment is not accurately described by this picture, but I work in a women’s shelter, so I’m not allowed to take photographs there.


Jordana Gilman Volunteer in Israel 50 days of summer
Jordana braves the bus stop!

This picture shows just how dedicated I am to this volunteer placement, however, because it illustrates my misery during our 30 minute wait at the bus stop this morning. The entire block reeked of fish, bleach, and rotting garbage. My five fellow volunteers and I really thought we might asphyxiate, but our commitment to the Yachdav Women’s Shelter inspired us to wait it out… and we finally caught our bus.

I have been charged with the task of entertaining and mentoring two Arab tweens at the shelter, a boy and a girl. Today we spent the better part of an hour sitting on the playground, pointing at different objects and body parts, and trying to say their names in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The children insisted that I attempt the Arabic accent when I used Arabic. I learned how to say ground, sky, tree, eyes, ears, mouth, shoes, sandals, helicopter, how are you (after much hand shaking and confusion), very good, and hello.

This was the source of much delight for my tween friends. Every time I butchered a word, rolled my r’s for too long, nearly choked on a guttural “ch” sound, or just got completely and utterly confused, they would burst into unrestrained laughter, and so would I! I made a fool of myself, and then it was their turn to try English. The “th” sound was a challenge and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” became an instant hit.

Just yesterday when we visited, the young girl I’m working with would watch us from different hiding places and run off when we tried to say hello to her. Today, we were rolling on the floor laughing together.
So much can change in a day!


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