Sorry for the late blogging! We didn't have wifi at the youth camp!
What an incredible experience. We joined a group of Jewish Indians that were the same age as us and spent the three days at an adventure resort. The theme of the camp was Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). We were split up into four teams and did a ton of team building exercises and activities (rock climbing, ziplining, archery, etc) as well as text study that related to the theme of camp. The Americans and Indians become so close despite the vast differences in lifestyle and culture. We learned so much about their Jewish community in India just by interacting and observing their customs. The best part was when those customs matched up with ours! Spending Shabbat with them was especially unique because many of the prayers were sung in the same melodies that we are used to in America. It allowed us to truly feel the global impact that Judaism has. Here is a compilation of pictures from some of the activities we did:
These pictures do not give the experience justice. We also couldn't take pictures on Shabbat unfortunely.
On Sunday, we traveled to Alibag to visit the synagogue there, as well as an oil press and a Jewish cemetery:
The three handprints are a substitute for a mezuzah:
On Monday, before we left for the airport, we joined our Indian peers again for an emotional goodbye at the JCC. We ate delicious mango, danced a little, and got hennas, which will serve as a reminder of our trip for the next few weeks!
Another crazy day! We started off with a little more touring of Mumbai.
As we made our way to Ban Ganga Tank, we walked down through a neighborhood filled with beautiful temples. We were able to witness Hindu rituals being performed as well.
We saw a cow in the middle of the street!
Our tour guide, Joshua, showed us a famous place to get chai tea:
Then we saw the temples:
The swastika in India is actually a symbol of the four stages in life and stands for non-violence according to Jainism:
At the tank:
This is a Jain temple that was celebrating a festival at the time:
We then went to the Kamala Nehru Park, which showcases a beautiful view of the city of Mumbai:
And we found a shoe statue there:
Two of our beautiful staff members, Erica and Rachel:
We then visited the Hanging Gardens, which actually didn't have anything hanging, but is known to be the highest point in Mumbai:
We then saw this interesting system called the Lunch Box Distribution. Women make lunches for their husbands and put them in lunch boxes. This system then delivers the lunch boxes to the husbands at work so that they do not have to carry their lunch boxes around all day:
We visited the Om Creation Trust, which houses mentally disabled people and teaches them to become productive in society. They make many arts and crafts and several healthy foods! We were able to buy some of their goods and donate to this amazing foundation:
We then split up into two groups and visited a home of a person who is receiving financial assistance through JDC. They had amazing stories to tell and songs to sing:
Our next stop was the Thane Synagogue. We interacted with the Jewish community in this Mumbai suburb by praying with them, chatting with them, and at the end of the night, singing with them:
Everyone fell asleep on the hour bus ride home, but we are all so excited to be leaving tomorrow for Youth Camp! For the next three days we will be bonding with 25 Jewish Indian youths through outdoor and teambuilding activities. Stay tuned!
We spent the morning touring the city of Mumbai while traveling in our (air-conditioned) tour bus. Our first stop was the Gateway of India:
Then, we visited the Magen David Synagogue:
Hundred-year-old chair that they perform the bris on:
Next stop was Tifereth Israel Synagogue:
A cool lamp that we enjoyed:
We stopped at Mani Bhavan, the Mumbai house of Mahatma Gandhi from 1917-1934:
We saw this beautiful train station, but were unfortunately not allowed to take pictures inside:
Here's a funny selfie:
We stopped at Dhobi Ghat, which is an open air laundromat in Mumbai:
As we were driving through the city, our tour guide Joshua pointed out this massive skyscraper. It is the most expensive house in the world with 27 floors (6 of which are just for parking), 600 workers, and only 5 people who live within it:
Then we stopped for lunch at this great vegetarian restaurant:
We then visited the JCC where the Director for AJDC India (Elijah Jacob) talked to us about the work JDC does for the Jewish community in India. Here is a poster that was put up before our arrival:
We traveled to the Jewish old age home known as Bayiti, which houses 6 residents. We learned about their lives and painted a mural for them:
After a long day, we had dinner at the Bayiti. It was such a rewarding and inspiring day, but the jetlag definitely hit us hard:
We are all getting really excited for the amazing experience and journey we are about to embark upon! In this blog, you will find photos from our trip and descriptions of our various adventures as we travel through India. You can join us virtually as we explore and connect and learn our way through the next 10 days!
Here is a brief introduction of each traveler:
1. Nathan Gelman is a sophomore at Stern (also CAS, as he is doublemajoring in Art History). His hidden talent is that he is a good writer. Nathan's favorite summer song is "Lover's Spit" by Broken Social Scene.
2. Jackson Montana Krule is from Teaneck, NJ. He is a senior. Jackson's favorite summer song is "Somebody Sweet to Talk To" by She & Him.
3. Rachel Bashein is from Sharon, MA. She is a sophomore. Rachel's favorire summer song would have to be "American Girl" by Tom Petty or "Raised on the Radio" by The Ravyns. She claims that they aren't really about the summertime, but for some reason, they are just great songs that she associates with this season.
4. Tori Grant is a sophomore from Westchester, NY. Her hidden talent is so well hidden that she can't find it.
5. Shoshana Gindi is a sophomore from Los Angeles, CA. Her favorite summer song (at least right now) is "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line.
6. Natalie McCauley is a junior in CAS. She is from Austin, Texas. Her hidden talent is that she can tap dance.
7. Jackie Retig is a senior from Philedphia. Her favorite summer song is "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry.
8. Laurena Patarkatsi is from Rockland County, NY. She is a senior. Laurena's favorite summer song is "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran.
9. Johanna Bitton is from Fort Lee, NJ. She is a junior. Johanna does not have one favorite summer song, but she likes "If I Lose Myself" by OneRepublic and Alesso.
10. Camille Cohen is a junior at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study with concentrations in art history and marketing. She is from a town in Florida called Jupiter. Camille's hidden talent is... reading tarot cards!
11. Arielle Braude is a junir in the School for Social Work. She is from Cherry Hill, NJ. Arielle's favorite summer song is "Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
12. Jaimee Goldschmidt is a sophomore studying nursing. She is from Westchester. Jaimee's favorite summer song is "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey.
13. Beckie Hamroff is a sophomore in NYU's Global Liberal Studies program. She is from Westchester, NY. Beckie's favorite summer band is Guster.
14. Charlene Yomtobian is a recent graduate of New York University's College of Arts and Science and will be entering NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service in the Fall of 2014. She hails from Great Neck, New York. Charlene's hidden talent is her double jointed-ness in her fingers and toes.
15. Mady Maio is from San Diego, CA. She is a sophomore. Mady's favorite summer song would have to be either "We Don't Care" by Kanye West, "Time to Pretend" by MGMT, or "Second Hand News" by Fleetwood Mac.
16. Sol Adler is a junior. He is from Great Neck, NY on Long Island. Sol's favorite summer song is "Treasure" by Bruno Mars.
Next time we blog we will be in India! Stay tuned!
Pictured below is Sol Adler, Arielle Braude, and Beckie Hamroff holding up our "Group Norms" chart that we completed in the India orientation session!
This past Sunday, a group of 16 NYU students (and one from London via skype) met for an orientation session to prepare for their Entwine Insider Service Trip to India, May 26-June 4.
In addition to learning more about JDC and what they'll be doing in India, the group bonded through a "Cross Cultural Communication" activity in which they were asked to talk to each other while maintaining rigid (and sometimes hilarious) communication styles.
Even with the close-talking, mumbling, hand-holding, and excessively polite greetings, the group managed to learn a bit about each other as well as to start to think about the cultural differences they may face in India.