Today wasn't as much of a volunteering day as it was a day of learning about JNF. The first place that we went to was a small kibbutz with only 50 families where we learned about kibbutz life. They are the only kibbutz that has both religious and secular Jews working together and we learned about how they make that work. Right outside of the kibbutz, JNF built a beautiful lookout. The next place that we went was the Sderot playground that JNF built. Thousands of rockets have been shot into Sderot and the kids always have to stay in bomb shelters. JNF built this safe indoor playground where children could play and have easy access to a nearby bomb shelter so they could let out all of their stress and energy. It is a beautiful playground with toys for kids of all ages. It has a rock climbing wall, a soccer field, computers, video games, and much more. The last thing we did was a classic JNF project. JNF was first founded to plant trees all over Israel to claim the land so today we went to a field near Jerusalem and we each planted a tree to build up Israel making it a greener and more beautiful planet. We then went to Jerusalem where we were staying for the rest of the program.
Today we did our last volunteer project. Right outside of Jerusalem was a historical house and our job was to help fix up the garden in the back of the house. There were a couple of different groups of people doing different things. A bunch of people worked on making and mounting benches, we worked on building a rock wall, and the rest did other odd jobs around the garden. For our job, what we mainly had to do was take rocks from one side of the garden and put them in a wall formation no the other side. I think that it was pretty impressive, the amount of rocks we moved in two hours. It was a short project because it was Friday and we still had a full schedule. Next, we went to the 9/11 memorial. It was really meaningful to see how much Israel cared about all of the Americans who had lost their lives on that day. At the memorial, a fireman came to speak to us about his service. That was the last part of the programming.
The rest of the weekend was full of group bonding time and just hanging out with the new friends that we made on this trip.
Sara Jacobovitch, Alternative Break Participant, Binghamton University