Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our First Day in Arad

Today was our first non-jet lagged day in Israel and it was another incredible adventure. This time we met up with our guides for Yahel, the Jewish service learning organization who will be working with us for the next 9 days in Arad. Moshik and Maayan are the two Yahel staff members who we are working with. They are both very open and kind and today we went through some introductions with them and got some background information on the African asylum seekers in Israel. We also made our way to the Avi Cohen House in Arad, which is located right by the Dead Sea.

To give you some quick facts about Arad: It is a city in the South District of Israel. It is located on the border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, 25 kilometers west of the Dead Sea and 45 km east of Be'er Sheva. Arad was founded in November 1962 as an Israeli development town, the first planned city in Israel. 

Upon getting to Arad, we had a yummy Israeli lunch and then went over to a nearby school that was having a health fair for some of the African asylum seekers living in Arad. The event was put on by a student group in Arad that advocates for refugee and asylum seeker rights and Physicians for Human Rights. While some of the men waited to get seen by the Physician, there was also live entertainment going on. The women and children who were there also got to enjoy a show by a local children's performer. The event was wonderful and allowed us our first opportunity to talk with some individuals from Darfur who are living in Israel and looking for a better life. It was a wonderful event and afterwards we went home and cooked our first meal in our new apartment (and by cook I mean heating up some delicious pizzas).

Tomorrow we are ready for another full day of events and activities with the refugee community in Israel. Keep checking our Facebook page for more updates and pictures:

Lila tov!

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