The Rhythm of Hebraica

Kate Belza is serving as an Entwine JDC-BBYO Global JSC Fellow in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Read more from Kate on her blog, Un Año en Buenos Aires.

After being here over a month, I've settled into a rhythm. Three mornings a week I go to the JDC office, four afternoons I go to Hebraica (one of the largest JCC's in Buenos Aires), and Saturdays I travel outside the city to Hebraica's country property. Hebraica has over 7,000 members, 500 staff, a thirteen-story building and a country club outside the city. At any moment activities abound including lighting Shabbat candles, elderly ladies learning how to use a computer, Rikkudim classes, basketball games, youth directors and madrichim planning upcoming activities, aerobics, informal Jewish education activities, and then some.

I work in the youth department, with 1,300+ kids 2-17 years old, and 100+ madrichim (counselors) who lead the programs (18-21 years old). Madrichim plan programs for the kids aged 3-14 and then teens aged 15-17 go to a madrichim school! When you graduate from the madrichim school, you become a madricha. There are directors for each of the age groups and then a director for the entire youth department, Jessi.

I work most closely with three groups: the madrichim school, a program called Mitnadev, an ongoing volunteer project, and on Hebraica's relationship with BBYO, the world´s leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement.  I plan programs and help teens in the madrichim school connect with Jewish teens around the world. In February I will accompany teens from Hebraica to BBYO´s International Convention in Dallas.

My typical day at Hebraica:

Monday: Teens interested in learning more about BBYO and connecting with teens from around the world meet for fun activities such as Google Hangouts with teens in America.

Tuesday: I attend meetings with the "anala" which includes all of the directors of the different programs in the youth department. 

Wednesday: The madrichim school meets for about two hours at night, so I go to help where I can and participate in the activities.

Friday: I help out with Mitnadev´s ongoing volunteer project, where they plan activities for a group of children who do not have the opportunity to have afterschool activities. For example, they had a scavenger hunt which included getting my signature.

Saturday: I drive an hour outside the city to Pilar, Hebraica´s camp-like country club to see all the youth programs in action.

Each Saturday at Pilar, hundreds if not thousands of people take part in activities and enjoying time with friends and family. Many of the young adults I have met at Hebraica told me although they had friends at school and in other activities, all their best friends today are still from Hebraica.


You too can serve & adventure abroad: Applications for 2014-15 JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps are now open!



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October 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM




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