Karmiel: Pittsburgh’s Sister City- empowerment, service, hummus and chocolate balls!

Sarah Grand

Day 9 | 2022 Children’s Village Teen Volunteer Program

We started our day by visiting one of Karmiel’s local high schools, where we spoke to a group of English students and their teacher, Cara. She is from New York, and in her class, the students are not allowed to speak Hebrew; only English. It was interesting to hear about the similarities and differences between American and Israeli schools, such as how, for some, the school day can end at five pm. Additionally, Israeli high schools do not have sports or theater, which is a huge part of our lives at school.

We then headed to Karmiel’s Holocaust monument. The three statues depict families suffering during the Holocaust, those escaping the threat of the Nazis, and the hope of tomorrow demonstrated through a smiling mother and child. It is situated in a triangle with the Jewish Agency’s absorption center (which helps integrate immigrants and refugees) and the fallen soldiers memorial. These symbolize the past, present, and future of Israel, and all that has been sacrificed for its existence.

Later, we visited Naamat, an organization chaired by our tour guide’s wife, which supports and empowers women in a variety of ways. We discussed their initiatives surrounding women’s health, empowerment, ending gender violence, equality, and more. They have various rooms that serve different purposes and contain businesses, such as a room with wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment and a multi-purpose room in which an array of classes are held.

Finally, we toured a factory which recycles computers, cell phones, and similar items. What makes this place unique is that the vast majority of their employees have disabilities or special needs. This factory allows these people to make a living, have a purpose, and, for some, become independent.

After our day trip, we returned to the village and had lunch. Horses visited the village today, and we got to ride them! We then headed to our mishpachtonim. Some of us played soccer, basketball, and tag, while others went to the playground, cooked, or did face masks. I went on a hunt for one of my girl’s favorite cats, Mr. Cat, and blew up balloons for a party. We went from there to the village synagogue, where we gave this year’s b’nai mitzvah kids the gifts we brought for them.

We then returned to our house, and our tour guide, Tomer, taught us how to make hummus and chocolate balls. Our hummus was made with tahini, and was especially good with bell peppers. The chocolate balls were made with crushed bitter chocolate and milk, and were absolutely delicious! We topped them with peanut butter, chocolate sauce that is like an Israeli version of Nutella, and sprinkles. My favorites were the plain ones, though! It was truly a great day.

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