Dear Arad/Tamar Partnership 2000 Federations,
As our time here in Arad is quickly coming to an end and we move on to the next part of Otzma we would like to sincerely thank you for making this opportunity possible for us. For the last three months we have been living and volunteering in Arad. We have volunteered in many different locations that the partnership helps fund. Some of the locations include Na’amat which is a city day care with a lot of children from the welfare department, Tzelti, the Ethiopian youth center, Beit Gilad the senior day center, Youth Futures, the public high school and Ye’elim-Ofrarim, one of the public elementary schools. We are enjoying our volunteering and the community so much and it is going to be incredibly hard for us to leave. We would like take this opportunity to share with you some of our personal experiences from being in Arad.
Aliza has been volunteering with the young children of Arad in both Na’amat and Ye’elim-Ofarim and has enjoyed very much being able to work with the children especially teaching the Kindergarteners at Ye’elim-Ofarim English. It gave Aliza great joy to see the Kindergarteners at Ye’elim-Ofarim learn English songs, letters and colors. The big project Aliza did with the Kindergarteners was teaching them how to write their names in English and that was a very big accomplishment for both her and the students. She feels very proud being able to leave Arad knowing that she really made a difference in the lives of these children. At Na’amat it has been wonderful for her to be able to help with these children who so desperately need the attention and love of another adult. She will truly miss both of these places and all the people she has met as a result of her volunteering.
During Ilene’s time in Arad she has volunteered across generation lines, spending time with teens at Tzelti, the Ethiopian Youth center while volunteering at Beit Gilad, Arad’s senior day center. Volunteering at Tzelti has been a meaningful experience for Ilene, learning more about the Ethiopian culture and partaking in an organization that invests in Arad’s youth for a better future. Ilene has especially enjoyed the bonds she has created with the teens through English activities, conversations, and partaking in the Tzelti band project. Beit Gilad is another volunteering experience that has really made Ilene’s time in Arad significant. There she has conducted English classes for eager seniors wanting to learn English, in order to talk to their grandchildren in the United States or to English speaking tourists in Arad. A highlight for Ilene was when everyone in the class was able to have a small conversation in English. In addition Ilene has taught Hannah, a resident, how to use the internet so she can contact her family around the world. Ilene’s life has truly been enriched by the people and experiences she has had volunteering in Arad, and she will greatly miss her home away from home.
We would also like to share with you the support and help that we have received from the Arad side of the partnership. They have helped us to make Arad more than just another part of the Otzma program but an extension of our home community. We each received adoptive families which have taken us in and helped us to make the adjustment easier. Ofra Nathan Bezalel, the living bridge coordinator, has become like a second mother to us helping us in times of need and giving us guidance throughout our Otzma experience. Our time in Arad is one that we will remember for our entire lives and we are very grateful to you for giving us the chance to have this life altering experience. We hope that others are able to have this same opportunity in the future.
Aliza Gases- Middlesex County/Monmouth County
Ilene Bloom- Delaware