The first week of your stay will be devoted to orientation, getting to know your group mates from Israel and all over the world, and learning a bit about your new TEN home.
We know that it's not easy, traveling to a new country with a new language, smells and culture, and you will be able to take the first week slowly and get adjusted. The emotional process called "culture shock", which you will experience even if you are a seasoned world traveler, includes a feeling of elation when you get to the new country, an emotional lag (you might even ask yourself "wow, where am I?") and then you will feel a resurgence of strength and good spirits that will sustain you in your work for the remainder of your time at TEN. This first week will include getting acquainted with our local partners and learning about the volunteer projects that you will participate in – in some Centers you will be asked to prioritize the projects that you want to volunteer in, other Centers will ask you to work in more than one project.
Once you start your volunteer service, you'll go to perform your work each weekday after breakfast; volunteers will go together in small groups so that you will usually not be the only volunteer at your place of service. Much of the work you will perform is intense, both physically and emotionally. You will be constantly supported by the center's staff, and they will be there for you. Make sure to contact them for any questions, suggestions, requests and ideas, and make good use of the reflection sessions that they offer you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to share your experiences and knowledge with your other group mates.
You will work between 4-5 days a week, depending on the Center you are at, and will usually spend 2-3 weekends at the Center – celebrating Shabbat as a group in a pluralistic fashion, processing your weekly experiences, dilemmas and the lessons you have learned, and using this knowledge to make your work in the upcoming week more significant and meaningful to you and your beneficiaries. You will have 1-2 weekends off to travel together individually or as a group, or just spend some free time at the Center during Shabbat. We welcome initiatives and ideas for group activities from our participants, and you can ask the staff for help in putting together your own group learning session if you wish.
Most Centers have local staff to help in cleaning the public areas and cooking main meals, but you will be asked to keep your personal space clean, and might have a group cleaning and cooking rota or schedule. You will always be welcome to jump in and bake some cookies or a cake, or offer your friends your version of a homemade, vegetarian meal. Our participants in two of the Center have built mud ovens for baking breads and pizzas, for which all of the following cohorts have been grateful.
For additional information, contact our alumni on their Facebook page at Project TEN Alumni.
Project TEN – What is Jewish Service-Learning?
"Rabbi Tarfon and the elders were gathered in the upper chamber of Nit'zah's house in Lod. This question was asked in their presence: Is Talmud (i.e. learning) greater or is Maaseh (i.e. action)? Rabbi Tarfon replied, 'Maaseh is greater.' Rabbi Akiva replied, 'Talmud is greater.' Everyone replied, 'Talmud is greater, because Talmud leads to Maaseh...'" (Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 40b)
According to Jewish tradition, learning and action are deeply intertwined and cannot be easily separated. The modern field of Jewish service-learning brings this ancient understanding to life.
Project TEN is a Jewish service-learning program. "Service-learning" is a methodology that incorporates instruction and reflection with meaningful volunteer work. "Jewish service-learning" is contextualized within Jewish values and infused with Jewish texts and traditions.
Project TEN – What is the relationship between learning and action?
Project TEN participants will spend the majority of their time engaged in service in the field. In addition, they will come together 3-4 times a week for learning and reflection sessions. The sessions integrate classical and contemporary Jewish and Israeli "texts" – poems, songs, literature, historical primary and secondary sources, photos, and movies – with sources from general literature on sustainable development, globalization, poverty, communal responsibility, etc. and are based upon a written curriculum developed by The Jewish Agency's Makom educational team.
We hope that when you go back home, you will be energized with motivation and a will to contribute to your own communities. We would like to see you continue to "do good," and hope that your time with us will expand your horizons and provide you with tools for this purpose.
Makom is The Jewish Agency’s central resource for Israel and Jewish education, providing programming, content and workshops for Diaspora communities, institutions and leaders, rabbis, activists and informal educators. In 2011, Makom’s professionals in Israel and abroad trained approximately 1,500 educators in Israel education. Makom’s comprehensive, updated library of pedagogical materials is available through its constantly-updated website.
Project TEN – What major themes will be covered in the learning?
In 1953, psychologists Henry A. Murray and Clyde Kluckhohn concluded that: "All men are like all other men...like some other men...and like no other men."
This statement provides an important conceptual frame for much of the learning on Project TEN.:
More specifically, the Project TEN written curriculum is comprised of 3 parallel tracks:
Social Activities and Trips
In a program that brings together young adults from all over the world, it is important to have a unified group. In the global village of today, our common ground is growing and widening at an enormous pace, and we will build upon that in our social program. Part of the activities will be planned by the staff and others will be planned by the volunteers themselves, as social leaders and innovators. Site visits and trips in and around your target city, as well as in other parts of your target country, will take place during the volunteer period, according to the season and weather conditions.
Shabbat and Jewish Holidays
Project TEN centers encourage pluralistic and engaged Jewish life, and their members will respect each other's diversity of lifestyles, beliefs, and backgrounds. Each group will decide together the ways in which they would like to celebrate Shabbat and holidays, in a manner that enriches each member of the group individually and the group as a whole. Our expectation is that the group will prepare and eat Shabbat meals together, and that those who prefer not to cook or clean will contribute to the meals in some other way, such as presentation of Jewish texts or the leading of a discussion on topics surrounding Jewish customs or values.
Committees and Personal/Group Projects
The volunteers will be required to establish various committees as part of their volunteering track – both in working with the local community and in operating the center and its social activities. You will have a say in the nature and goals of the committees. These committees will develop various projects, such as building a music room or library at the center or in the local community, or planting a vegetable container garden, or developing a project in the volunteers' field of choice. These projects should be based on the principle of sustainable development, and should be developed in such a way that they can be continued by the next group of volunteers.