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High-Fives are a Universal Language

In the past couple of days we have been up to a lot. We have been to a variety of fascinating and educational places including Yad Vashem and the Knesset. Even though we have all spent a lot of time learning about the Holocaust, we all came away with a new and real understanding of the events and how the effects are still reverberating across the world today. We also met a diverse group of individuals. While at the Knesset, we spoke with a Member of the Knesset (MK) who provided us with a different perspective from what we’ve encountered thus far. She called our activities as a group, “beyond the pale”. This came as a shock and disappointment to us at first but we soon came to view it as another example of the wide spectrum of views held in this country, and are now glad to have experienced it.

Yesterday we volunteered at a community garden in a neighborhood in Jerusalem. Even though we were happily surprised to see that they had enough volunteers, we couldn’t help but compare this to the experience that we had in Al Araqib, both in terms of the area as well as the personal histories of those involved.

We also started volunteering at Madrassa Al-Nour on Sunday. Al-Nour is a school for children with special needs located in East Jerusalem just next to the separation barrier. During the year the school has around 220 pupils, but during the summer, the attendance rate is far more sporadic. It is an Arab school, which has posed a slight language barrier for us, but play and high-fives are a universal language and everyone has been very accommodating. The activities we have helped out with have included musical chairs, arts and crafts and cooking katayif, a desert similar to stuffed pancakes which is traditional to have during Ramadan.

Operation Groundswell at the Al-Nour school in Jerusalem
Operation Groundswell at the Al-Nour school in Jerusalem

We spent this evening preparing for our time at the school tomorrow, perfecting the art of making medals out of card, tinfoil and ribbon. Fifty one medals later, we are now set for tomorrow and are excited to have the opportunity to run activities in such an amazing place.

Until next time,
Lucy, Becca, Kati and Jill
OG Middle East

P.S. Happy (Belated) Birthday Daniel!

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