By Melissa Hesse, Bus 10 Staff
Last year, I was a Madrichah for Mitzvah Corps Israel. As a full time teacher during the school year, I wanted to do something meaningful with my summer. Through my home congregation, I learned about NFTY in Israel and of the amazing adventures it provides for teens of the Reform Movement. I knew I had to get involved. Last year Mitzvah Corps chose me, but this year it was I who chose Mitzvah Corps Israel.
It’s all in the name! Mitzvah Corps is a specialty trip that is designed to address social justice issues within Judaism and all throughout Israel. The program is centered around the value of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. On the trip, participants are inspired to learn, discuss, struggle, and question. It is an opportunity to grain a full picture of the amazing, fun, complicated, and beautiful parts of Israel.
Throughout the summer, we visit iconic landmarks like the Western Wall and the Dead Sea. We swim in Eilat and eat delicious food in Tel Aviv. We also have the privilege of hearing the many stories of Israel. The Women of the Wall, Yemen Orde, Kids for Peace, and Q Schools are just some of the many organizations and schools that we visit. We learn about the journey and struggles of many groups in Israel, from Ethiopian Jews to women trying to pray with a Torah at the Western Wall.
As an educator, this trip is a DREAM! I get to help teach reform Jewish youth while also furthering my own quest for social justice. The stories told on this journey are powerful.
I hope this summer the teens leave filled with passion, wonder, questions, hope, and friendships that will last a lifetime!