Shnat Nof 27th January 2016

Weekly update by Jayme Garland

The top 8 things that have happened with Shnat Nof this week:

We have almost completed our penultimate week here in the North, and this week has been as busy as ever. Jam-packed full of volunteering, kef and extra special guests!

On Thursday evening, we had a session with the youth involved in magic moments. They are part of the initiative organized by the UJIA, which allows Israeli youth to travel to the UK and spend just over a week living there, integrating into the local Jewish community and taking part in a Jewish school based in London. We discussed in small groups the prospect of going to the UK and how the lifestyle, people and Jewish practices differed from here in Israel.

Later that night we took a mini bus down to Rishron Tzion, near Tel Aviv to enjoy a night of kef. We were partying into the early hours surrounded by Israeli youth at a Hatikvah 6 gig. Despite only knowing one of their songs, we danced the night away with our glow rings. We are grateful to the tzevet for organizing and facilitating this evening of kef.

After a relaxing weekend where everyone took the opportunity to have their own adventures, we came back together for volunteering in the Jewish sector on Sunday morning. “We can tell how worthwhile it is volunteering here, and its obvious we have built up a great relationship with both the children and staff” – Ellie. After a successful morning, we came home to two new faces! Hannah and Helen from LJY who had arrived for Netzer Veidah. For the LJY-Niks it was wonderful to see them again, and for the rest of us it was lovely to meet them!

The following morning we were up early for volunteering in the Arab section as usual. The people at the secondary school were finishing the project they have been working to contribute to the school. At the primary school, we went to our respective classrooms to assist the teachers teaching English. Max and Jayme, who help in grade 2, ended up teaching an entire period. “Spontaneously teaching a class of 15 children who speak very little english about body parts was a great way to improve our Hadracha. Who knew the hokie-pokie could be that useful!” – Max.

Later that day Naomi, one of the MoWos from RSY arrived. It was so lovely to see her and we were all more than grateful for the five large bars of Cadbury’s chocolate she bought for us. It’s safe to say she was thrown straight into witnessing firsthand what we do. The people who volunteer at Youth-at-Risk on a Monday afternoon took her to this week’s session. It was really great to have her with us, not only because she is fluent in Hebrew (a pleasant and welcome surprise) but also because we could show her how beneficial and enjoyable this volunteering placement is to both us and the children.

On Tuesday, one of the talks we had was from the Executive Director of the NGO, Stand with Us. It was an interesting and, at points, engaging discussion, which many of us took as an opportunity to really dig deep into understanding the actions and true stance of the organization. Although people didn’t agree entirely with the points put forward, it was still a beneficial and worthwhile discussion.

After a fun evening Ma’amad, run by Jess and Tom, we packed that night for all of us to travel to Jerusalem for this year’s Netzer Veidah.

On the way to Jerusalem, we stopped off at the Western Galilee Hospital. Whilst there we had several amazing talks and a tour of the place which engaged and inspired many of us. “I found it intriguing to learn how the team of only four professional neuro surgeons could perform such innovative and lifesaving surgeries to casualties with bullets to the head from both near and far, including Syrian refugees and soldiers”. During the tour we learnt about how the hospital had developed certain coping mechanisms for its situation and location. “The tour showed how forward thinking the hospital are, because of setting up underground wards for emergencies and adapting the building to be safer” – Ilana.

We ended the day back in Jerusalem for Netzer Veidah launch. All of us are excited for the rest of our time here, and to go into the upcoming week as our final one in the North.

For more updates and lots more pictures, click here!