Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Illini Take on Miami - Day 3 :)

When we were seven years old, we were taught to give Tzedakah, the Jewish value of giving charity. At the time, we may not have fully understood it, maybe even taken it for granted, but every Sunday we would show up at our various religious schools with our change.

As the years went on we learned more and more about ways we can help the world through "tikkun olam" and always connected it to our Jewish roots.

As we find ourselves in a community of fewer resources than many of us are used to, we feel pride in being surrounded by so many amazing people who grew up with the same Jewish values.

Today, as well as the last few days, have been filled with numerous moments, both touching and enlightening. In the mornings, we've been working at the Northwest Boys and Girls Club. We've talked about how it takes a community to raise a child and here we see first-hand a community coming together to makes things better for hundreds of children.

Our group continued a project that a different group had started yesterday. We traced inspirational quotes as well as motivational signs on about 20 canvases. the quotes included, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress" by Frederick Douglass and "Reach for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land amongst the stars."

These quotes will be something that children can look at everyday for years to come and hopefully, can encourage them to continue their love of learning and always keep a positive attitude when it comes to school.

Before dinner, we were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to listen to Rabbi Feldman, a Rabbi from Palm Springs, come to speak to us about how our week relates to Judaism. Among the amazing concepts he spoke to us about, one that stood out to us was the fact that word Hebrew translates to mean the word alternative (as in alternative spring break).

This connected us back to our Jewish values that we learned when we were little and really helped us connect the work we're doing and relive the lesson we've been learning all along -- Tzedakah!

Ashley Abramowicz and Rachel Segal

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