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September 3, 2015 | 19th Elul 5775

A Day in the Life III

March 3, 2002
Marc Rosenstein

6:30 Attempt to fix the idle level in the pickup truck so it won’t keep dying on my way to my meeting in Upper Nazareth; failing, I take our family car and leave Tami to find an alternative way to get to work. Unfortunately, our car has a working radio which I cannot resist turning on, so I am drawn into the current national mood of depression and despair before I have driven 10 kilometers.

8:15 Meet with the principal and two sixth grade teachers of the Yodfat School in Upper Nazareth, who have invited me to get an update on their work on their Zippori project (a Partnership 2000 project we are facilitating for a dozen elementary schools in the central Galilee). What began as a research assignment for small groups became an elaborate project of building scale models of various parts of the site, and a plan to hold sixth grade graduation at the excavations, with the kids presenting the results of their learning to their parents. Their excitement is contagious, and it is moving to see such a textbook case of true curricular integration - and a principal who supports and empowers her teachers - who in turn support and empower their students.

10:00 Our staff meets with the staff of the program we are operating for Habonim kids from Australia, to get feedback and plan the schedule of “extracurricular” programming - which is challenging in view of the parents’ fear of letting the kids leave Karmiel. The discussion comes around to the now typical problem caused by the ease of instant intercontinental communications. When we came on teen programs in the 60s and 70s, we wrote home once or twice a week, and called maybe a few times in a summer. Little problems like minor illnesses, a bad day, a fight with a friend, a scary moment, got communicated, if at all, when they were no longer fresh, when they had been processed and reflected upon - and the communication was received only a week later. Now, with daily or twice daily conversations, every little complaint is communicated in real time, and magnified by the needs of boths sides, until it becomes a crisis demanding immediate and major intervention. The Israel experience as an experience of independence, of coping on your own, of learning to sort out what is important and what is not, is something less now, and there is nothing we can do about it.

12:00 Planning meeting for a two-day private seminar for a youth educator from a Reform synagogue in the US, who is coming next week to learn about Jewish-Arab relations and peace education.

1:00 For the Australian kids, as an introduction to meeting with Arab teens, I conduct our “Utopia Now” simulation on creating a new community: struggling with the value conflicts that beset Israeli society: equality vs. fairness, freedom vs. tradition, democracy vs. ethnic identity, environment vs. development, etc. Some of them get it. Some are too tired, or too busy with each other.

2:30 The kids from Shaab arrive, and the two groups engage in a couple of hours of icebreakers, informal conversation, eating together. There are moments of contact - but when allowed to, each group recedes to the comfort of talking only to “their own kind.” But the meeting ends with small mixed group discussions that we have to cut off when the bus arrives. Both sides express interest in scheduling further meetings.

4:30 A couple of hours in the office to catch up on paper work, return phone calls, deal with inquiries about our Galilee Fellows internship in informal education.

6:30 Dinner at home. Ilana is home for semester break; we are anxiously awaiting a call from Lev, who is in a guard post between Gilo and Beit Jalla and whose birthday celebration keeps getting postponed as free weekends keep getting cancelled... finally it comes - he will be off for Shabbat (unless leaves are cancelled again tomorrow).

8:30 Depart for Kibbutz Tuval for a meeting of our “Common Future” planning group. We are working on trying to get a new, expensive project up and running: a “magic bus,” a mobile multi-cultural resource center with a staff of Jews and Arabs that would drive from community to community (like a Lubavitcher Mitzvah Tank) offering art, drama, dialogue, leadership training, etc.

12:00 Listen to the news before lights out. Big mistake.


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