Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Hello From Airport
Hello from Ben Gurion airport!
It is currently 4:15 am and the Boston half of Diller is once again alone as a group. It's been an emotional past few hours, with our closing ceremony and saying goodbye to the Israelis. Today concluded not only the entire Israel seminar but also the Americans' volunteer week. Over the course of three days, we volunteered at a elementary school with mostly Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, an elderly daycare where we danced to live Jewish music and played bingo, a dog shelter where we cuddled with cute dogs and took them for walks, or rather runs, the Karmel forest where we helped repair the forest after the big fire last year, and a factory with special needs workers where we volunteered as workers. While the Israelis went to school, we were exposed to a different perspective of Haifa, one in which we could give back to our Jewish community even as we explored the city from an American tourist perspective. In the afternoons, the Israelis joined us (many of the Americans were astonished at the flexibility of the Israeli teens' schedules) and we visited more areas of Haifa together. Our visit to a Druze home was informative and also tasty! Another day was our Ethopian cultural day, when we listened to a speaker who talked about the experience of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel and then paid a visit to Yemin Orde. Most of us had a great time at Yemin Orde, where we had the pleasure of learning Ethopian dances (embarrassing Facebook videos to follow), ate yet more delicious food in the traditional Ethopian manner (scooping up sauces with injara, a spongy type of bread), and heard the story of an Ethopian woman who shared her immigration experience. That night, many of the Ethopians in our group shared their own stories of immigration. It was amazing for us to hear the experiences of our Diller peers and it really helped us to understand the complexity of the impact of immigration on Israeli culture.
Well, our plane is boarding.... to be continued, possibly in Amsterdam!