Community Connections and Volunteer Projects
We’ll be staying at an apartment or hostel in Jerusalem for the large part of our program where we can look forward to really living like the locals do – grocery shopping in the Mahane Yehuda open air market, sipping coffee in the eclectic, hipster-vibed neighborhood of Nachlaot, spending weekends camping under the stars in the Negev desert, and always being a quick walk away from the Old City, home to some of the holiest sites in the world. We will have front row seats to Jerusalem’s amazing display of contradictions; ancient and modern, religious and secular, division, and unity.
In the midst of all this, we will get deep into our learning and work with one of our main project partners: the Roots Project. A centre in the West Bank run by Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, the project’s goal is to bring the two often divided peoples together. Their farm, where we will be both living and working, is the hub of their outreach program in the West Bank, which includes monthly meetings between Israeli and Palestinian families, a women’s group, a summer camp, language learning, and cultural exchanges. In past years, we’ve worked with locals to plant trees, dig a cistern, and even build a playground in preparation for Roots’ inaugural summer camp.
Throughout our volunteer project, we will explore cities in both Israel and Palestine. In Palestine, we will tour the intense, divided city of Hebron with Breaking the Silence (an Israeli organization of former soldiers speaking out about their service in the Occupied Territories), hang out in the modern and largely secular Ramallah, as well as visit some of the small villages that dot the countryside. In Israel, we will bike along the boardwalk in the liberal, metropolitan city of Tel Aviv, experience the communal lifestyle of the Israeli kibbutz, and hike in the lush mountains of the north. Moving through these very different communities, we will have the opportunity to speak with locals and get a diverse perspective on the region’s tense political situation.