PluRADlism

Welcome to the launch my of new coexistence project!!! Today’s topic: pluralism (it’s rad). Despite being a Jewish state, Israel is a bastion of religious and ethnic diversity; this week, I was lucky to get to know some of Israel’s minority groups a bit more intimately.

Becca1

Pluralism is familiar to most Americans. The United States is an incredible amalgamation of different races, religions, ethnicities, and identities—call it a melting pot, a mosaic, but either way we can be proud of our diverse nation. And, because of the rights decreed by the 1st amendment, various identities live amongst one another with the freedom to express their differences and share their similarities. Even within certain religions, Americans enjoy a wide variety of pluralistic expression; for example, American Jews can belong to one of several religious camps including Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox, and Reconstructionist. … More PluRADlism

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A Beautiful Metaphor

For those who may not know, I am currently in training to serve for the year as a volunteer community organizer in the developing Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion, Israel. The community is largely comprised of Jewish Ethiopian immigrants, many of whom came to Israel by way of the covert Israeli military evacuations of Ethiopian Jews from both Sudan and Ethiopia (due to famine in Sudan and political instability in Ethiopia). Operation Moses, the mass evacuation from Sudan, occurred in 1984, while Operation Solomon took place in 1991. As a result, much of the millennial and post-millennial generations of Ethiopian Jews in Israel are first-generation Israelis, and in the short time that I have been here, I am already starting to pick up on the subtle cultural identity divide between the native Ethiopian parents and their Israeli-born children. … More A Beautiful Metaphor

“You Too Can Be Strong”

Today during art, Tamra* asked me for the piece of tile that I decorated in nonsense doodles and lines. On the back I wrote, from Naomi to Tamra, remember that you will always be smart, strong, and beautiful.

She smiled at me bashfully when she received it.

Tamra is a wonderful, quiet and kind fourteen year old, who has only begun to come to the Meitar, the youth village, recently. A few weeks ago I started teaching Zumba and fitness lessons to the girls. Rarely do the girls ever go into the weight room, but we’ve been working on changing that. A few days ago, after the herd of boys left the room, I saw one of the girls, Tamra, peak inside. I asked her if she wanted to come in with me and learn a few things. Within minutes we were weight lifting, and the look on this girl’s face was brighter than I had ever seen. She saw the eight-kilogram dumbbells in my hands and was amazed that girls could be that strong, that girls were even able lift weights, to feel the power that comes with moving your muscles. Next time, she wants to do more, and even start learning some boxing moves. … More “You Too Can Be Strong”

A Day in the Life: A Brief Journey Through The Day of a Yahelnik

Today’s participant blog post comes from Larry Gersz, a participant of the Yahel Social Change Program. This group is living, learning and volunteering in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion for 9 months this year. A Day in the Life: A Brief Journey Through The Day of a Yahelnik             Our … More A Day in the Life: A Brief Journey Through The Day of a Yahelnik

Community: A Feeling of Fellowship

Today’s participant blog post comes from Eliza Baskin, a participant of the Yahel Social Change Program. This group is living, learning and volunteering in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion for 9 months this year. Eliza’s post comes after a 5-day seminar in the North of Israel, opening the program’s segment on Community.  This past week, … More Community: A Feeling of Fellowship

Parsha Shemot

This week’s parsha post was written by Laurie Hunt, Yahel alumna and intern, and a student at the University of Maryland.   The Israelites endure major suffering in this week’s parsha, Shemot, as the Pharaoh of Egypt decreed that they must work as slaves and all of the newborn sons should be killed. Because the Israelites were … More Parsha Shemot

Parshat Vayeishev

This week’s parsha post was written by Yahel Intern, Laurie Hunt.  Laurie was a participant on Yahel’s University of Maryland Hillel Insight program last year. She spent 10 days volunteering with the Ethiopian-Israeli community in Rishon LeZion.  In this week’s parsha, Vayeishev, Jacob gives a lavish, technicolored coat to his son, Joseph, who is glorified by his father. … More Parshat Vayeishev