Wednesday, October 17th
Last night we went our separate ways joining family for dinner, exploring the food options in Tel Aviv with new friends from the Schultz Fellows group and attending a Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball game (I will leave it to you to guess who did which activity). This morning we reunited and drove to Ariel Sharon Park, which prior to 1998 was where 24 municipalities dumped their trash. The park is just outside of Tel Aviv and was supported by Sharon when he was Prime Minister of Israel. The park is elevated with breath taking views, and has plans to extend.
After Ariel Sharon Park we traveled to Beit Hatfusot the Museum of the Diaspora, a museum at Tel Aviv University that showcases the history of the Jewish People. As educators we experienced the family area of the museum which showcased not only religious heroes, leaders and icons of Judaism but also, Jewish individuals in science, sports, business, fashion, show business and more. We continued in the museum and explored a section displaying information about synagogues from all over the world during multiple time periods. We saw models of synagogues from Egypt, Turkey, Czech Republic, Morocco and other countries. This was an amazing lens from which to view the history of the religion.
From the history of the religion we moved to more recent times and visited David Ben-Gurion's house in Tel Aviv. Not only did we see his house, but also the gifts he received from world leaders, pictures of him with these leaders and letters of correspondence between him and these leaders. The tour of his house concluded with a visit to his personal library which has four full rooms of 22,000 books from philosophy, to religion, to history, to political science and more. Each book was read by Ben Gurion in its original language.
Thursday, October 18th
In our recap yesterday we spoke about children bringing our focus back to life after reviewing the atrocities of the holocaust. It was then fitting that we spent our first morning in Tel Aviv in the home of world renowned educator Rachel Korazim. There we explored children's literature in Israel and how these authors have spoken to children about the most difficult of topics. The discussion led us to think about how we teach our children both at home and in the school. What values, what lessons can our children learn from difficult subjects and issues facing us today?
In another bookend to our experiences yesterday, while visiting Nachlat Binyamin Art and Craft fair, we happened to stop at a paraphrased quote by Theodor Herzl. Herzl who is known as the father of modern political Zionism and the namesake of the memorial we visited yesterday, Har Herzl. His quote read, "Where there is a dream, there is a way."
We have seen examples of this throughout our journey across Israel including our last workshop of the day at HaGal Shell ("My Wave"). This is a unique program aiming to engage troubled teens by teaching them how to surf and using a balance on the surfboard as a metaphor for finding balance in their lives. Two former students, turned instructors led the Schultz Fellows through trying to find our balance. What we learned was that it did not matter how many times we fell, we succeeded because we made the attempt.