Green Discoveries and Wonder in Jerusalem

Posted on March 13, 2018

Just arrived home from an awesome program in Israel. The program was a pilot project jointly run by Canadian Friends for Hebrew University and Skilled Volunteers for Israel-age 55 and over.

How do I praise thee, let me count the ways.

The attention that was given to place volunteers in their individual areas of expertise, was second to none.

While I have skill sets in education and visual arts, I chose to volunteer as the master gardener that I am. Team Marla (Marla Gamoran is the executive director for Skilled Volunteers for Israel) did research on horticulture\ gardens and other green spaces. To be noted, this was a first time placement challenge for Skilled Volunteers for Israel.

And, what a success!

Shout out to team Marla for the exceptional and diversified schedule of green site visits arranged. Albeit  a initiative program, we agreed to embark on a discovery based schema with an eye to the future.

And, what a success !

Over the course of seven days I visited and talked with the following: a gardener in his youth village, a community council-government co-ordination team, the head of cvs farm for youth at risk, an environmental activist, the Jerusalem city community gardens co-ordinator and at Hebrew University:  the Urban Clinic social planning program, Department of Geography and Urban Studies.

Miriam and Elaine at the start of a 7 km walk and talk down train-track park in Jerusalem

With each visit the conversation always included an inquiry about a potential of short term volunteers.

Moreover, Team Marla is generous of spirit. They went beyond the call of duty to open doors for a personal meeting that was outside of the program.

Would I do it again?

The combination of spending mornings on a green dream-so to speak; afternoons listening to talks by top professors of Hebrew University and meals with a delicious group of participants, was   perfect.

I vote to change the word ‘pilot’ to ‘repeat’ program.

I joined this trip on a bit of a whim and without many expectations; other than to surprise someone and celebrate their achievement at Canadian Friends of Hebrew University.


I came home from the adventure having surprised myself by virtue of the following:

  • knowledge gained
  • sense of fulfillment
  • eleven wonderful new friends from other Canadian cities
  • an insight into Jerusalem and its ‘green social spaces’.

 

With love, Elaine