Discussing social issues

When I heard about The Women’s Courtyard, which helps to empower young women from ages 13-25,I got terribly excited. ESRA was asked to become part of this project and I am involved in the 18-25 year old group that meets for 2.5-3 hours on Sunday evenings. The people who take part in the project try to answer the requests of the women in the center, andthey have asked ESRA to help the women with English.

I felt very happy breaking a promise to myself that I would never teach again after retiring early, and I’m on a real HIGH!

I discovered a dynamic bunch of young women. So far I have met seven of them. We talked about their work, their families, their dreams…

When talking about what they dreamt of doing, there was almost a consensus about wanting a good permanent job with a good salary and conditions; about wanting to meet the guy of their dreams and have a family. They all want to go to Ethiopia and meet family and visit graves of family members buried there. 

One young woman showed how much she cares about others. Her dream was to earn enough money as quickly as she couldto get her parents passports and then tickets to fly back to their land of birth. How beautiful to hear this!

On the subjects of favorite colors or vegetables or different dishes, unanimous was injera (the traditional Ethiopian flatbread) .This brought back to me the taste of mealie pap and gravy as it is a food I love.

There is a mixture of religious affiliations among this group. A 23-year old shared with us that she went to the army for only one month.  She is now completing all her requirements for a bagrut at Levinsky College. Duringthis period she has become more and more observant and modest and simply loves it.

Yet another spoke of the fact that she comes from an observant family but didn’t take an interestit. However, when in the Border Police Unit for her army service she started feelingadeep connection to Jewish tradition and how important it really was to her. Today she is in the preparatory course for studying at the Netanya College. She shared with us that as she matured she finds that she wantsthis religious connection and tradition more and more.

Brenda Brett joined me for the second meeting.  The participants were very excited to hear that she is a drama teacher, something that might lead to their having some creative activitytogether in the future.

Their enthusiasm and desire to learn these concepts and talk in English is very inspiring to me and to the coordinators of this exciting project.

I feel confident that as our group learnsfrom one another we’ll discover we have more and more in common.

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About the author

Joan Weisman

Joan (Stein) Weisman came to Israel in August 1972 and two weeks later started teaching. She lived in Jerusalem but traveled to Kiryat Malachi to work in two elementary schools. After four years of...
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