Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting Ready for Garin Tzedek on YC 2010-2011!

Yes, the time is coming for me - four months from now, I'll be enjoying my third day of Year Course in Israel. Meanwhile, back in East Brunswick New Jersey and Portland Oregon, Alexis Wojtowicz and I have started working on some of the primary plans for picking up where this year's Garin will be leaving off. We've drafted a vision statement, the fundamentals of which are very similar to the current vision upon which Garin Tzedek is currently acting. Alexis and I are still bouncing ideas off of eachother in terms of the vision, and waiting for input of those who would like to be involved. With about nine people who have expressed interest thus far, the Garin, by its nature, is starting off small in numbers for next year. Recognizing that it will most likely grow quite a bit, we're working on ways to create a community within the Garin members while in our different sections. Ideas such as monthly Shabbat dinners and fund raising projects within all sections have come up. As we progress and work with some of the year course staff, the logistics for this will continue to develop.

One of our big focuses is on how to utilize the time that each section spends in Jerusalem, where there is no Sudanese community (I believe, but someone correct me if I'm wrong). Political action has been discussed, though that could potentially become messy with the mix of two very valid sides to a complex political and moral conflict. A political stance will be something to discuss with the Garin as a whole. Some other ideas for Jerusalem include educational seminars. I've spent months researching the conflict in Sudan/Darfur, talking to experts, and have been doing my best to do hands on work, and STILL, I find it very dificult to put all of the pieces together. I think that the whole Garin will benefit greatly from a deeper understanding of the big picture. Fund raising can also be a focus in Jerusalem.

As for Arad and Bat Yam, we'll be continuing the great work being done now. We plan to tutor English and Hebrew and have community events for the Sudanese community. We're both really looking forward on spending the summer building these plans and working with Noah and other members of the current Garin in doing so, as Alexis, myself, Noah, and other Garin members will be staff at Young Judaea's leadership summer camp, Tel Yehudah.

Keep your eye open for posts on this blog regarding next year, and rest assured that all of the incredible work being done this year will not be coming to an end as the month of May does. Alexis and I both feel an extremely deep connection to this particular matter and can't wait to devote our year to it. While they still have about a month left, Alexis and I congratulate the current Garin on the amazing Dugmah (example) which they've set SO FAR (it's, of course, not over yet!), and we can't wait to get it going on Year Course 2010-2011!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garin Tzedek Videos

Here are a few video clips of Section 2 volunteering in Arad: working in the Ganim, teaching English and running Sports Night.

This is a photo montage of Garin Tzedek volunteering in Bat Yam and Arad (Section 2).

These can also be found on Youtube if you search for "Garin Tzedek". Send these videos to family and friends to let them know what Garin Tzedek is all about!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Portland Dinner Photos and Article

Here are some pictures from the Portland Young Judaea Dinner for Garin Tzedek as well as an article about the event.

Here is the first bit, the full article can be found at

Young Judaea gets busy locally


article created on: 2010-04-04T00:00:00

A year after virtually all its local leaders graduated, a reinvigorated Young Judaea is going full tilt with social and social action programming including a major fund-raising dinner April 16.

The Portland chapter of Hadassah’s peer-led Zionist youth group has planned an educational, fund-raising dinner (see box) for Garin Tzedek, which aids refugees from Darfur and other parts of Sudan who live in Israel. Garin Tzedek, a vision of last year’s Young Judaea national president and some other high school-aged leaders in the movement, now has 52 participants in the Young Judaea Year Course who spend six of their nine-month gap year program volunteering with those refugees.

The local resurgence has been led by Portland Young Judaea President Tova Cohen, who plans to devote her volunteer commitment to Garin Tzedek when she participates in Year Course beginning in the fall.

Fundraising Dinner

Tova Cohen, a high school senior who is signed up for Year Course 2010-2011 and has already taken a leading role in Garin Tzedek for next year, headed the planning for a Garin Tzedek fundraising dinner a couple weeks ago. She sent the following message about the dinner:

Dear Young Judaea,

It is my honor to inform you all that as a result of all of your hard work (Portland maz) that over 100 people attended the benefit dinner for Garin Tzedek, and that between the donations, pledges, and profit from dinner tuition, we have raised an estimated $2000 for Garin Tzedek. Not only did we do an incredible Mitzvah by simply raising the money for this cause, but through the speaker, preformance, and programs at the dinner, we've successfully educated the Portland Jewish community on a matter which they probably wouldn't have otherwise thought about. I'd like to wish you all Mazal Tov on not only this, but also the Jewish Review article that was written about us, and how successful this club has come off the ground this year and how much work went into everything without any real staff or help. Congrats Arielle Berne, Aviv Bresler, Hannah Westerman, Jori Halpern and Romi Goldner. Can't wait for our next meeting,

Tova Cohen
Portland Young Judaea

Thank you soooooooooo much. You are awesome and have helped Garin Tzedek in a great way, we can't wait to see what you continue to do next year and into the future.
-GT '09-'10

(Pictures forthcoming)