By Morissa R. Freiberg, Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica II 2018 Team Leader
In this week’s Parsha, Va-etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11), Moses recalls the journey of the Israelites while they traveled in the wilderness. Only 4 powerful days into our work in Sarapiqui, I am feeling, perhaps, a bit like Moshe — already reflecting on this experience serving as a Jewish Educator on Mitzvah Corps. Since the moment our participants arrived at the airport, we’ve watched an incredible sense of community form. Our participants are kind, motivated, and compassionate, and demonstrate a level of maturity that makes me feel at ease about our future.
Much like Moses revealing the teachings of the Shema and V’ahavtah to the Israelites in our parsha, we’ve introduced our participants to new ways to view and carry out Jewish values — no matter if it is in the wilderness or in their own backyard. We hope to empower the teens on our program to use the tools we’ve given them on Mitzvah Corps to make the changes they want to see in the world.
The Shema teaches us TO HEAR and TO LISTEN. Through our work, are hearing and listening to the narratives of the community in Sarapiqui as we do service on the San Ramon Aqueduct project. Our participants have engaged in meaningful conversations with each other, trip leaders, and community members — learning to understand the need for social justice trips like Mitzvah Corps and how this work can actually continue at home in their own cities.
We look forward to sharing more about our journey in the days to come.
Wishing you a Shabbat of peace!