Tuesday, January 18, 2011

JSU South Florida Goes Israel To See Young Judaea’s Year Course – Day 3

Young Judaea students working at an urban farm
After returning to Jerusalem we went to dinner with dinner with the Director of Young Judea Israel, Dan Krakow at the home one of the two mothers who acts as a liaison and ombudsman between the students and the staff. In addition she and another mother, Kami, contact parents with regular program updates and let parents know what their children are up to in the various cities. It was a great opportunity to let the staff know what we had heard from the students that we had met with and also let them know what we had observed. This morning I davened at the shul next to the Great Synagogue and had a great breakfast at the hotel. Right now I’m in the car with my colleagues and we are on the way to Tel Aviv and I continue to learn more about Jewish history from Ido, our personal guide on the trip.
Today we traveled to Bat Yam and met with students who are working on an urban farm, in fact one of the students was a former WYHS student who is currently on their Shalem program. We also spent time visiting the new culinary program in Jaffa and had lunch with one of the program’s coordinators. Finally, we met with a two girls who are volunteering in a school for teenagers that have discipline issues. Most of the students have already been thrown out of a number of schools and have had issues with the police. This is a last attempt to try and prepare them for life in Israel and hopefully get them into the army. They work with the teenagers (who are almost their age) as mentors and help them with their English language development. We just arrived at the hotel in Tel Aviv and we are getting ready for tonight’s main event.

We just returned from a very unique experience, something that I have never ever done before. We went to a restaurant called “Blackout” where the room that you eat in is pitch black. You can’t see your food or drinks, you can’t see the person sitting next to you, and you can’t even see your hand that you are holding right in front of your face. But that’s not even it. The waiters that serve you are blind, that’s right they can’t see anything at all! So you sit in a room that you struggle in, realizing that the person who is serving you lives like this all of the time. You are given a few choices for the meal and dessert or you can order a surprise, which you have no idea what it is that you are eating. We decided to wash before we entered, because how would we know what brocho to make if we couldn’t see the food. To say that I was a little nervous is an understatement, but I must say that after we all finished we were all amazed at the experience. After the dinner we saw a show put on by a cast was both deaf and blind, all I can say is that we were all amazed by the show. I can’t event figure out how they were able to perform in a show that lasted an hour and a half. We just got back to the hotel and it’s almost 11:00 pm.

I am really beginning to understand that JSU South Florida has access to a number of students who would really enjoy Young Judaea’s Year Course.
Stay tuned for Day 4!!!

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