Aviva In Poland

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On the Go...

Time continues to fly and I continue to be amazed at the oppurtunities that I have here. Since I last wrote many things have gone on.
Firstly last weekend I spent Shabbat at Swdborow with the organization "Children of the Holocaust". They were having a 10 day retreat and I went for Shabbat. They were a wonderful group of people and I had an incredible time with them. We enjoyed learning the hebrew alpha bet, writing making Shabbat Shalom notes, singing shabbat songs and enjoying a traditional meal together. The participants have incredible stories and a wonderful spirit. They wanted me to teach them Israeli Dancing and if you know me you know that I cant dance. But...I will try anything, so without music, which meant me singing too, which I also can not do I sang and danced with them. I must have fooled them and we all had a wonderful time. Shabbat ended with me leading them in Havdallah and them seeing me off to the bus. I hope to spend more time and provide special programs for this wonderful group of people.
My week has been very busy preparing "Mitzvah Days" which are happening now and taking place in 7 Jewish communities around Poland. Every community is doing a small and different program which will show volunteer appreciation, promote volunteering and unite communities. We have prepared diplomas and gifts for all the volunteers.
I am looking forward to attending the program in Krakow this week and spending time in the community there. I am also going to be spending Shabbat in Gdansk and making at speech at their Mitzvah Day event, which is a special Shabbat Dinner. I will return to Warsaw late Saturday night and then Sunday the final Mitzvah Day event is taking place in Warsaw. Im hoping that the day will be a special day for the volunteers and the entire community. We have been working hard to involve and include everyone to be together and to celebrate volunteering. I will post pictures and give a good update once all the programs are over. I can do this after I return from a small trip to Berlin which is how I will be spending the first part of next week. Sooo Im off for some fun adventures. Hopefully my cold will disappear and Im looking forward to sharing some wonderful stories with all of you.
Lots of Love

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Mishmash Of News

My Dearest Family, Friends and Readers,
It has been a long time since I have written-and Im sorry. I have been busy doing lots of different things. So, what I will do is just let you in on some of the exciting things that have been going on in Warsaw.
Last I wrote I was gearing up for a weekend Seminar for the Social Welfare Commission Volunteers. At this point it feels lifetimes ago, but really it is just 2 weeks. The Seminar went over very well, with a few small glitches-nothing major. Its seemed that all 32 participants got a lot out of the sessions on assertivness, active listening, group building and case studies. The seminar was enintirely in Polish so I was a very active observer. It was an itneresting and educational experience. We are planning to have another seminar in Mid March to build on the ideas of this past one.
Now we are gearing up for an exciting Mitzvah Week which is a week that will celebrate and show appreciation for volunteers, educate about volunteering and unite the various communities. The week will take place from November 19-26 and will be happening in the 7cities that the Social Welfare Commission works in. I am working on the program in Warsaw and will be attending the one in Gdnask and Krakow.
This weekend there is a retreat for the organization "Children of the Holocaust" and I will be joining them for shabbat, bringing songs, candles and the sprit of shabbat to the group.
I have finally gotten into my Polish lessons. I am taking them with my friend and we go for an hour twice a week. It is super hard and learning a new language from the beginning is no easy task.
I have explored a wonderful exhibit at the Modern Art Museum and enjoyed watching how Polish people celebrate "All Saints Day"-their version of Halloween. They go to the cemetary and light lots of candles and bring flowers to the grave. We went late at night and look at the beautiful cemetary all light up.
That is a quick update about what Im up and what is going on. It is defenitly becoming winter, it has already snowed and it is getting very cold. The malls also have their Christmas music on and specials starting.
Please keep reading and continuing to be in touch-it really helps a lot!
Sending lots of love and warm hugs from Warsaw