I think the lateness of this post alludes to how tired I was feeling by the start and end of Mid-Year Seminar, which finished one month ago. After two weeks of supervising thousands of teens in Dallas, I had 20 hours in Helsinki to turn over my bags and continue the journey to Israel for JDC’s Mid-Year Seminar, where all of us in the cohort met up in Israel for one week.
That journey consisted of a 7 hour layover in Kiev. Not ideal, but I passed the time by indulging in a fancy (and cheap) meal at the airport’s Italian restaurant and catching up on SNL. Finally in Israel, I stayed with my college roommate in Tel Aviv for the weekend and caught up on something else much needed–sunlight.
On Sunday we traveled to Jerusalem for our opening meal and a day of BBYO programming. Throughout the week, we had various seminars and activities to facilitate community and skills building. The week also served as a space for us to recharge and work through problems in the field with our peers. Each fellow gave an 8 minute presentation about their work, but I found that some of the most meaningful conversations happened during down time, when I realized that even placements like Rwanda and Mumbai shared many of the same struggles as placements like my own.
Back in Helsinki, the next weekend was Purim. I had made plans for a party for young adults, but we had minor issues reserving the club room, because the caretaker would
only respond to conversations held in Finnish, and certainly not my Finnish, which wasn’t at an acceptable level. Meanwhile, I spent much of the week crafting for the kids’ Wild West carnival, which would be held three hours before the students party.
The day of the parties found me knocking on the caretaker’s door once an hour with no success. Eventually, I had to leave for the kids’ carnival and we had to make a last minute switch to move the students party to the Community. For many reasons this wasn’t ideal–the kids from the carnival were still running around the building, and some students lived far away–but the real issue was that the guards had to leave an hour after the party started, so we moved to a bar and that was that. Ultimately, over 20 students showed up, which signified increased interest, and I consider that a success.
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