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3rd & 4th week of Machon-Leadership, Hadracha and Conflict Week - Limmud

Updated: Sep 19, 2022


 
Limmud is a Co-ed, experiential, 9-month study and Israel immersion program for the Southern Hemisphere. The program aims to develop 5 circles of “identity” including: Jewish, Zionist, Spiritual, Communal & Personal. Within this framework, participants spend time at Yeshiva/Midrasha, and experience Israel with a wide array of activities and educational modules, as well as a meaningful journey to Poland. Limmud culminates with a 3-month collaborative with our Mechina Olamit, together with Israelis, and participants from the Northern Hemisphere.
 

Shalom!


The past two weeks on Limmud have been exciting to say the least. Thankfully, even with COVID running around we managed to keep programming going.


Last week they had a session with Neil Lazarus, focusing on Israel “hasbara” - advocacy. The session started with a quick recap of the history of Israel. This context was important to understanding the basis of the conflict in Israel which was the latter half of his session. This provided a foundation for Conflict Week (week 4) in Machon.


On Tuesday they had the opportunity to learn about two very influential people who were Prime Ministers of the State of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin. The group visited the Rabin Museum in Tel Aviv and the Begin Museum in Jerusalem, followed by a class on Israeli politics. They also took part in the famous Dugo Operation. Annually, on January 18th tons of people join the holocaust survivor David Leitner (Dugo) in his private custom of eating a falafel.


On Wednesday, they toured around Abu Gosh, an Arab Israeli town. They learned what life is like in the city, living in harmony with both Arabs and Israelis, visited a Beit Midrash run by an Arab organization, and met with a resident of the town.


In the afternoon, Limmud went to "Retorno", an addiction and rehabilitation center. They learned about the incredible organization, got to see the therapy animals used in the clinic, and got to hear from someone who'd rehabilitated there, sharing his life story.


Thursday they started the week with a visit to Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, learning about the charming hillside village famed for its centuries-old holy sites. Then they met with former Knesset member and founder of Yad L’Olim, Dov Lipman. He came to speak with the group sharing stories from being in the Knesset, the ways his organization helps olim make their way through the bureaucracies of aliya and his personal story of how he even ended up in Israel.


On Friday they went on a short tour to see the green line and get an understanding of the conflict they would be discussing in the week to come.


This week was conflict week, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israel.

On Sunday the group explored the four quarters and three religions of the Old City of Jerusalem, using them as a microcosm to understand narratives of the conflict and the difficulty of resolving Jerusalem as a conflict of its own.


On Monday they visited Hebron, learning what it was like to live in a city with both Jews and Palestinians. They also learned about the numerous ideological, military and rights issues. Later they got to hear from a Palestinian as well as a Jew living in Hebron. They then visited Ma'arat HaMachpela - The Cave of The Patriarchs.



On Tuesday they went down south to the Gaza border region including the Kibbutz closest to Gaza and Sderot, Netiv Ha'asara. There Limmud left their mark on the Path to Peace - נתיב לשלום, where they heard about life on the border and met with a local resident to hear his story.


Wednesday they went back into the classroom and heard from a Gazan via zoom, Haviv Gur who is the political correspondent for the Times of Israel, and Jonathan Spyer who is a British/Israeli journalist and expert on Hezbollah and Iran. All of these sessions were eye-opening and allowed the chanichim to understand the conflict from a different point of view. That night snow started to fall and the chanichim had a blast!

On Thursday they woke up to a white winter wonderland and enjoyed a free morning of snowmen and snowballs. Later in the afternoon they traveled to Alfei Menashe for a beautiful lookout of the coastline and then to Ba’arta. They heard from the Mayor of Ba'arta, learning about the interesting city that is half in Israel and half in Palestine and how they support both the state of Israel as well as Palestine. The day concluded with a tour of "town" in Jerusalem.

 

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