BHC Elementary Educators Mifgash – Sunday, May 31, 2015

The following blog was written by Rabbi Amy Bardack, School Rabbi of Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston.  Amy is new to her role of coordinating the BHC School to School partnerships with the Reali Ahuza School.  She is excited to meet her Haifa partners face to face and form strong bonds with them.

Today we spent the day encountering various communities in Tel Aviv.  We began at Bina, a center for social justice Judaism.  We met with Elliot Glassenberg, who shared with us the various programs of Bina to engage young adults from secular backgrounds in Jewish learning and social justice.  Elliot then gave us a tour of the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Neve Shaanan and Florentine and oriented us to the wave of immigrants that area has absorbed over the decades.  We visited the Bialik-Rogosin school in the neighborhood which serves 1000 students K-8 from 51 countries. The students are 37% migrant workers, 48% citizens, 15% refugees.  The school is open from 8-6 to provide the students with a safe place to learn.  Many volunteers support students individually.  The school now has a 96% graduation rate.

Next, we went to Bina's new campus and met with Amit Zohar, a social worker serving African asylum seekers and refugees, and Yikealo Byene, an asylum seeker from Eritrea who has organized an after school program for children.  Yikealo shared with us the challenges of asylum seekers as they seek to avoid detention in Holot and fight to be legal refugees in Israel.  After hearing from two young students doing national service with Bina, we studied the Israeli Declaration of Independence and how it relates to the African asylum issue.

After some free time in Yafo, we visited Na Lagaat Center and learned about this center which seeks to engage blind and deaf people and give them connections and a sense of purpose. We ate at the center's Blackout restaurant where we were served food by blind waiters in total darkness.  After a long, fulfilling day, we journeyed to Haifa and settled into the hotel, ready for a full day on Monday.

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Amy Bardack
SSDS Rabbi