Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : February 06, 2013
By Orrie Appell, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows - Ma'ase Olam
 
When applying to become part of the Israel Teaching Fellows programme, way back when, I initially had a very tough decision to make, but Ma’ase Olam made it very easy.
 
Of all the cities offering a place to house me over the next ten months to assist in teaching English and other volunteering projects, Ma’ase Olam took Rehovot and added the charming and powerful addition of the Israeli peers whom would aid all of us in interacting and integrating with the ins and outs of the city. This was, and still is, the single biggest selling point for me.
 
On my programme, based in Rehovot, I am the single UK participant in a crowd of 26 from the US and Canada. That initial feeling of being so similar and yet so different still remains. I was living as a minority in England, and now in Israel, little has changed. But the addition of the Israeli peers and the participant pairings at the schools has made me feel very much at home.
 
Another aspect of this programme is the field trips around Israel, which aim to broaden our understanding of geography and history of both the land and the people whom have lived here over hundreds of years. Ma’ase Olam, still a very new organisation with this particular programme only in its second year, has been vigilant and active in taking our feedback and acting on it for the better. While it's a challenge to meet the demands of over fifty unique participants from Israel Teaching Fellows, Israel Service Fellows, and the Gap Year program, the many field trips have continued to improve over time.
 
Though I did not have very much experience in this sort of working environment, I was amazed at how quickly I adjusted and found my rhythm in teaching kids at school. All of the teachers at my school have made every effort to accommodate and facilitate the needs of the children and myself. They adjust their teaching to different learning abilities, provide me with teaching materials, transport me to and from school, and even keep the teachers’ room stocked with cake on a regular basis. After the very first week of teaching, my hopes and ambitions were already coming to fruition, as the self-rewarding nature of the children’s excitement over learning with me became apparent.
 
We're nearing the halfway point, and I am struggling to acknowledge just how rapidly these final five months will go, which they will. I am very thankful for this experience and the opportunity which has allowed me to picture many entirely new educational and career paths, both in Israel and back home. I know the year will become even busier with even more volunteering and community projects thrown in over the coming weeks, but it will not be something I dread or feel I am being worked too hard over. This is why I am here. With all earnestness, this is something very different from where I imagined myself a year ago, and now that I am here and a part of this programme, I am going to make the most of it.
Published : February 05, 2013

By Benson Ansell, Yahel Social Change

 

Direction

 

So Yahel has traveled North,

Guided on our journey forth,

Inspecting, reflecting upon our worth,

Our common unity, of course,

We say community for short,

Our time in Gedera was cut short,

By rockets fired like a torch,

I saw them flying from the porch,

Our unit spread out like a fork,

Then came together in the North,

 

A sigh of relief, now everything’s fine,

Inhale, exhale, now it’s time to dine,

Dancing and singing with no drop of wine,

We’re singing to Sade, in tune with her line,

‘Smooth Operator’, we forget the Operation,

Climb on the bus, we rise to our destination,

There’s water, there’s mountains, pure elevation,

The beauty surrounds me and captures my concentration,

We begin to explore, the diversity of this nation,

I chase him, then pass him, Dave from the basement,

“I’m free, I can be!”, I exclaim in amazement,

We’re physical and loud, some may call us the cavemen,

They just couldn’t feel, the nature of our placement,

But I feel it in the air, a Phil Collins transformation,

This life isn’t static, it takes dynamic creation,

Much love for humanity, and pride in your nation,

Everything that I knew, was a deep under-estimation,

The new people I met, helped spark this realization,

 

Like brother Ali, from the Druze community,

Living in a Jewish state, with a Muslim minority,

But the Druze you see, don’t believe in conformity,

They choose to uphold, their strong religious identity,

Infused with the love, of being Israeli,

Infused with the love, of one GOD above,

If you feel this love, then no one will judge,

Your religious practice, because they know what the fact is,

Our soul is eternal, our life’s essence is spiritual,

Our body is earthly, a transporter, a vehicle,

That moves us on Earth, our mother, our miracle,

But life isn’t easy, there’s hard work to be done,

Let’s start with the basics, let’s go to square one,

The Great Spirit, GOD, the love that binds us together,

That’s present, and guides us, in all our endeavors,

This love that abounds, can in no way be measured,

A woman, a man, create a child, their treasure,

Their love is a unit, and creates unity,

Shared love is the essence, of true community,

To rise in the morning, each day pave the way,

To aspire to live, in the most positive way,

 

Like our tour-guide and orator, by the name of Jeremy,

Whose stories and knowledge, brought us great clarity,

To the founding of Israel, our shared Jewish memory,

The land’s Jewish pioneers, came to live collectively,

Their socialistic principles, were realized on the Kibbutz,

Jewish hands, working Jewish land, is all that it took,

But things weren’t as easy, as from afar they had looked,

And today, many say, that kibbutz is kaput,

But there’s a new generation, that is far from complacent,

Who see the founding vision, and keep it adjacent,

To their hearts, to their souls, embody cooperation,

The urban kibbutz, is now in operation,

And they see there’s a nation, that is full of abrasion,

Animosity and intense segregation,

Between Arabs and Jews, there’s little communication,

Let us increase our compassion, and start healing this nation,

 

So let’s let it be known, that us Yahelnikim,

Are not sitting complacent, we have started to dream,

We have started a team, that likes it straight with no cream,

When you’re hiding the truth, we turn on the high beams,

And since we’re all in the struggle, we help one another,

Never look down upon your sister or brother,

And since we share the same mother, we’re all sisters and brothers,

We all become better, when we learn from each other,

 

Are you under the covers? Do you judge behind shutters?

We all become better when we learn from each other.

 

Originally posted on the Yahel Blog.

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