This past week on Etgar has been another eventful one. We were tasked with being anthropologists for a session by our wonderful madrich Rodrigo. Our mission was to uncover the purpose of people’s visits to the old city, and then dig deeper into the history of Jerusalem. Not all responses were positive, many people brushed past us. However, there was one couple that we couldn’t be rid of. The couple was composed of a Korean missionary and a Jew who were out to preach the gospel of Jesus. This led to a fascinating history discussion where the narrative that the old city had only ever belonged to Jews was deconstructed.
While the Southerner’s were simulating the experience of being in a coffee shop during their Hebrew lessons, the Northerners were the stars of the next episode of ‘Shnatties in the Wild’. The northerners were taken to an actual coffee shop to hunt for hot beverages and to sharpen their spoken Hebrew skills.
Peer led sessions this week challenged our creativity and our coordination. Bets were taken on future shnattie actions with fun forfeits for the loser. Our eyes were tested when the wonderful authors of this update gave the group the task of ripping each other’s heads off their necks(pictures of heads were attached to string around their necks, unfortunately no murders took place). The next morning our creative juices were flowing as we had to use music to influence our artwork, and then singing and dancing on the roof of beit shmuel tested our resolve as we had to maintain our dance moves as people walked past us.
Although every week of Etgar challenges our ideology, this week was especially interesting. A film was shown to us that explored inequality in the United States, and the discussion afterward provoked heated debate about the extent to which it should be challenged. We all turned into model members of the Kinesset after arguing over solutions to issues in Israeli politics such as transport on Shabbat, social protests and settlement. We discovered that the recipe to pass a proposal in Israeli politics required a healthy dose of corruption. Deals had to constantly be made, broken and then ignored.
A highly memorable part of the week was the wheelchair basketball workshop. Our preconceived notions about people with physical disabilities was challenged as we took part in a wheelchair basketball match which we found was highly aggressive and physically tough. This workshop included 16 shnatties being between by two highly skilled athletes.