Helping through Hebrew

Volunteer & Study participant, Jackie Klein, reflects on a week of volunteering at the Gan (Preschool) at Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem. The Gan is run by the Reform Movement.

The first week of volunteering has been one of the most interesting experiences in Israel thus far- and I am extremely thankful to have had some interesting ones throughout my trips.

I love to study and learn but I felt that I would not get as much out of my time in Israel this summer if I gave up an opportunity to volunteer within Israel society. When I found out that I was being placed at the preschool for the Reform movement in Israel I was even more pleased. working with young children in Israel as well as supporting an Israeli Progressive school. This opportunity, my friends, is the ultimate volunteer job.

Before entering the gan (preschool) I thought my hebrew was pretty decent. People had even stopped switching to English in stores when I opened my mouth. My spoken Hebrew knowledge seemed to decrease dramatically as soon as I entered the Gan. The five year olds had better Hebrew than I did. I noticed that these Israeli children spoke in longer and faster sentences than their counterparts do in America when speaking English.

Having worked with kids before, I knew that even the smallest amount of administrative help would be appreciated by the teachers. And so I set out to help with those tasks. The kids may think my hebrew sounds funny but knowing that I’m able to help an organization I strongly care about brings a purpose to even the smallest task I perform. My Hebrew is of course improving as well.

Shabbat Shalom until next week!

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