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Green Discoveries and Wonder in Jerusalem

Just arrived home from an awesome program in Israel. The program was a pilot project jointly run by Canadian Friends for Hebrew University and Skilled Volunteers for Israel-age 55 and over.

How do I praise thee, let me count the ways.

The attention that was given to place volunteers in their individual areas of expertise, was second to none.

While I have skill sets in education and visual arts, I chose to volunteer as the master gardener that I am. Team Marla (Marla Gamoran is the executive director for Skilled Volunteers for Israel) did research on horticulture\ gardens and other green spaces. To be noted, this was a first time placement challenge for Skilled Volunteers for Israel.

And, what a success!

Shout out to team Marla for the exceptional and diversified schedule of green site visits arranged. Albeit  a initiative program, we agreed to embark on a discovery based schema with an eye to the future.

And, what a success !

Over the course of seven days I visited and talked with the following: a gardener in his youth village, a community council-government co-ordination team, the head of cvs farm for youth at risk, an environmental activist, the Jerusalem city community gardens co-ordinator and at Hebrew University:  the Urban Clinic social planning program, Department of Geography and Urban Studies.

Miriam and Elaine at the start of a 7 km walk and talk down train-track park in Jerusalem

With each visit the conversation always included an inquiry about a potential of short term volunteers.

Moreover, Team Marla is generous of spirit. They went beyond the call of duty to open doors for a personal meeting that was outside of the program.

Would I do it again?

The combination of spending mornings on a green dream-so to speak; afternoons listening to talks by top professors of Hebrew University and meals with a delicious group of participants, was   perfect.

I vote to change the word ‘pilot’ to ‘repeat’ program.

I joined this trip on a bit of a whim and without many expectations; other than to surprise someone and celebrate their achievement at Canadian Friends of Hebrew University.

  1. knowledge gained

  2. sense of fulfillment

  3. eleven wonderful new friends from other Canadian cities

  4. an insight into Jerusalem and its ‘green social spaces’.

With love, Elaine

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