Ramah Alternative Break- Day 2
Blogging the Ramah JNF Alternative Break program in Israel
Today was our first full day in Israel. Although there was a lot of jet lag we accomplished a great deal. We spent the majority of the day helping to renovate and cultivate a community garden in Beersheva. The garden is on the grounds of an absorbtion center for new immigrants from Ethiopia.
The garden currently affords over 50 families the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables, including many that are traditional in Ethiopian culture. This allows families to continue to share their food and farming traditions with their children and also helps with the transition into Israeli society. One family gave me a piece of sugar bamboo they had grown, which was very popular among the children as it is particularly sweet to eat.
Our group helped clear a large plot of land, that was basically an abandoned area filled with trash and rubble. The clear plot will now be able to be converted into garden plots for over 50 more families to use. Additionally we also build a series of benches out of mud, tires, and trash (the finished product was much better than the original parts) that will be used in area where families and children can relax together.
It so happens that the person in charge of the community garden, Noga Zohar, worked at Camp in New England in 1999 on the video staff.
This evening we had a vibrant discussion on the value of giving one's time vs. giving one's money. Tomorrow we be begin our morning by davening at the top of one of Israel's craters, and the will continues our volunteer work throughout the day.