AWB 2017 Branching Out

By Sharon Schoenfeld
Adina (l) makes her point

As an active member in Young Judaea, I’m incredibly passionate about our programming. We write, lead, and participate in great peulot and educational activities. Today we participated in an educational activity lead by the Transformative Teaching Collective. This cooperative promotes social justice based education in South Carolina. Naturally, I was skeptical at the idea that another group from outside of YJ would come and lead programming for us. But to my surprise, something about these new activities felt innovative and special. The structure of the programming was similar to how we write our peulot. I had even personally discussed many of these topics before. So, what was different? Why was I so captivated by these lessons?

It wasn’t until the latter part of the activity that I began to understand the root of my appreciation. We were able to confront hard conversations with people who were different than us, people outside of our movement. I often find myself discussing complex topics with my close communities. In these communities, these places where I feel a deep sense of belonging, I feel comfortable speaking because I know my opinions are welcomed. But, here when we branched out we didn’t have to draw lines between our differences, we built bridges. This created a safe space where many individuals felt comfortable sharing their opinions.

I love witnessing educational programming, especially programming this engaging. I hope to be able to emulate what I saw today in our activities for other peulot. If we increase the diversity of the opinions we hear in Young Judaea, we can continue to push the limits of our knowledge. I’m excited for what will come of this challenging, stimulating, ongoing discussion.

~ Adina Ornstein-Luks; 12th grade – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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