Philip Ernst began a three-month spell as a volunteer math teacher at Hadassah Neurim in September. The 20 year-old Harvard University math and economics major from New York City's Upper East Side wanted to spend a semester helping Israelis.
Hadassah Neurim's American volunteers together with students in the village library.
“I felt it was important for me to come to Israel at this time,” explained Ernst. “While in Israel I am also conducting research in computer science at the Herzliyah Interdisciplinary Center.”
Ernst, who previously spent six months in Israel studying at the Technion in Haifa, is competent enough to teach math in Hebrew.
Also volunteering at Hadassah Neurim from September to December are Rabbi Fred Wenger and his wife Rochelle from Salt Lake City, Utah. Rabbi Wenger, recently retired from the Kol Ami congregation found Hadassah Neurim through the Jewish Agency’s website. The Wengers, both members of Hadassah, are tutoring English.
“This has been very fulfilling work,” said Rochelle. “We have been inspired by the dedication of the teachers and the quality of the kids despite all their problems.”
“Though they come from difficult backgrounds,” added Rabbi Wenger, “these kids have very good hearts. This has been such a wonderful experience that I can say for certain that we’ll be back.”
In addition Rene Stemmer from Cherry Hill, New Jersey spent two weeks as a volunteer in the summer at Hadassah Neurim giving art therapy workshops. These volunteers are an integral part of Youth Aliyah’s connection with Diaspora Jewry and its global family of supporters. They strengthen the “peoplehood” relationship between Israel and Jews worldwide for the benefit of Youth Aliyah’s children. They are role models for Youth Aliyah students and feel they receive as much from the experience as they give.
Heshvan 5764 - November 2003