Friday, December 16, 2016

On to the next adventure!

In case you didn’t notice the change of title, I’m off to Rwanda!  My mom always called me her wandering Jew.  I knew from the moment I found out about ASYV that my blog would have to become the Rwandering Jew.  Unfortunately, Google told me a guy already has a blog with that title.  Turns out that guy was also a Fellow at ASYV and I met him during training.  I have his special permission to also be the Rwandering Jew.  Now that I’ve cleared that up, here’s some information of actual value. 

I am moving to Rwanda to live and work at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) as a member of the Global Jewish Service Corps (JSC), a program run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).  Since I’m sure that made perfect sense, I’ll provide a bit more detail.  Time to call upon those synthesis skills (and the blogs of other JDC and ASYV Fellows - thanks guys) I supposedly honed in college and make sense of it all.

ASYV is a residential community in rural Rwanda.  Based off a model used in Israel after the Holocaust, ASYV provides a home for youth impacted by the genocide.  The Kinyarwanda and Hebrew words of Agahozo-Shalom combine to mean “a peaceful place where tears are dried.”  ASYV focuses on the Hebrew values of Tikkun Halev and Tikkun Olam, repairing the heart and repairing the world. 

Upon arrival at ASYV, students become a part of a family.  Families are comprised of 18 youth, a Rwandan mama, a big brother or sister, and a cousin.  In addition to their formal high school education, students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of extracurricular activities.  At ASYV I will serve as a cousin to a family as well as the International Coordinator for the many foreigners and service groups who come to visit.  I encourage you to check out the ASYV Facebook page to learn more.

The JDC has existed for over 100 years and is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization.  They seek to revitalize Jewish communities and help the neediest Jews, assist Israel’s most disadvantaged citizens, and provide general aid and assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters.  Check out this video for more information:

JSC is a yearlong paid fellowship for young professionals to support the JDC’s work around the world.  My awesome cohort members are currently serving in a variety of countries including Germany, Argentina, India, Estonia, Turkey, Ukraine, and more.  

I look forward to starting this journey and posting updates throughout the year!

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