Welcome to my blog! In it’s previous incarnation, this was “my Israel blog”. Now that I am living in Nepal, I decided I needed to keep blogging here in order to keep a record of my journey. Even though I am on the other side of the world, living for the first time in a developing country, I think the issues that will arise for me here will still be connected to many of the things I struggles with in Israel. Hebrew and Judaism will continue to play a central role in my thoughts, as I am living with mostly Israelis and am volunteering as part of an Israeli, Jewish, social justice based program.
A little background– I graduated from college in 2011 and worked for a non-profit in Washington, DC as part of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. At work, I helped detained immigrants who were facing deportation from the United States; at home I lived in a co-op with 13 other Jewish social justice activists. It was fascinating and fulfilling work and I learned so much from my housemates and colleagues, but after a year, I was ready for a change and a new adventure.
I moved in August 2012 to Jerusalem, Israel as part of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC, or as it’s called in Israel, “The Joint”) Global Jewish Service Corps. According to the Joint, the Jewish Service Corps offers young Jews the opportunity to directly engage with JDC’s global mission and actively fulfill the value of Jewish responsibility through a year-long, paid, service opportunity connected to the JDC’s overseas programs fellows are catalysts for change, creating innovative programs that respond to pressing Jewish and humanitarian challenges around the world while exploring Jewish values underlying their service. As a JSC Fellow, I worked at JDC-Israel’s Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI) which facilitates effective migration management through knowledge exchange, capacity-building and technical assistance to government and non-governmental agencies. I also spent some time teaching English to refugees in Jerusalem, working with at-risk and troubled youth in Bat Yam, and traveling in the Palestinian territories to learn about the situation on the ground.
Now, I am in Kathmandu, Nepal as a volunteer with the Israeli non-profit Tevel B’Tzedek (in English, Earth in Justice; in Nepali, Nyayik Sansar). I spend the first month in Kathmandu living in a house with the other 20 volunteers (woo, AVODAH flashbacks!), learning Nepali, visiting areas in which TbT works, and learning about contemporary issues in Jewish approaches to social justice, development and globalization. After the month-long orientation, I will spend three months working with TbT’s youth movement, Hami Yuva. I will be helping develop a curriculum for the youth movement and train the “guide” and “leaders” of the movement so that they will be able to independently continue their activities.
After the volunteering period ends, I plan to backpack around Asia. No specific plans yet– we’ll see where the wind blows me…