Old City, new experience

Old City, new experience

It is a common occurrence for staff at Shavei Israel to deliver speeches and presentations at communities, schools and programs around the world. Of late, with the coronavirus pandemic, these programs have largely migrated to the virtual world via Zoom and other online webinar delivery services.

Likewise, many gap-year programs in Israel ended their programs early, around Passover, rather than trying to ride out the coronavirus. However some southern hemisphere programs, which had only recently begun when the lock-downs were instated, did what they could so as not to ruin the entire year for their students.

MTA (Midreshet Tora v’Avodah), a Bnei Akiva program, is one such institute. Housed in the Old City of Jerusalem, they were determined to keep their program as normal as possible. Using wood-framed, clear plexiglas partitions, they devised a way to separate their students – and the teachers – into separate pods; allowing restriction-free presenting, and the personal communication, that has been so lacking these past few months.

This was how our own Laura Ben-David found herself in the Old City of Jerusalem for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Though it wasn’t certain if the program would be in person until almost the last minute, Laura agreed to go, and she gave a photographic presentation on Lost and Hidden Jews, specifically Bnei Menashe, as part of MTA’s series on Zionism and Aliyah. The students were engaged, asked many relevant and intelligent questions, and seemed to really enjoy and benefit.

God-willing there will be an aliyah of Bnei Menashe in the coming months and we look forward to having the spirit and excitement of the MTA students at the airport to greet them!

To arrange for a Shavei Israel program at your community – virtual or in real life – contact office@shavei.org.

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Laura Ben-David
laura@shavei.org