Monday, March 8, 2010

Leadership Week - Post-Purim



Continuing on from the last post, an improv story-telling group came in on Sunday night.  People told stories from Nativ, and then the performers acted them out.  A few were funny, a couple of them were more serious, and there was the combination.  Most of the actors were good; it was a good performance and a good way to end Purim.  Afterwards, a lot of people watched the U.S.-Canada hockey game.  I didn't.


We left Ma'ale HaHamisha on Monday and headed to Caesarea for the day.  There is a center there for outdoor team building activities.  No bus showed up for an hour and a half to pick us up (that's never happened before… sarcasm much?), so we left late and couldn't do as many activities.  For us, that meant paintball.  The activities we did do, though, included archery/blow darts, rock climbing, those activities where you have to get the whole group to accomplish "x," and maybe something else.  We headed back to Yerushalayim, to Beit Nativ, and we were all mixed up in different rooms.  It didn't take us long to start playing the "who's old room and bed are you in?" game.  So, I roomed with Joey, Seffi, and Ethan in the room that once belonged to Debbie, Laura, and Sophie, and I was in Laura's bed.  That would be on the top floor of the old building.  Dinner at Beit Nativ sucked (surprised?) so I picked up some pizza from Pizza Panini, where we used to get pizza now and then.  At around 7:30, we headed to the David Citadel to see the light show.  It was very cool and I definitely can't fathom the lengths they must have gone to in order to produce such a show like that.  I didn't learn all that much, which may not have been the purpose of the program anyway, but it was a fun watch.  Right as I got back to Beit Nativ, Brenna called me and I turned around to meet her for hot chocolate at Aroma and then we had gelato at Aldo's.  We then headed towards Crack Square to meet up with more people.  I don't think I've discussed Crack Square here before, so for those of you who don't know, it's downtown Jerusalem's land of the free nights and home of the drunk.  Gabe and I went home after about 10 minutes.


Tuesday and Wednesday was probably the core of leadership week's workshops.  We had signed up for sessions via Survey Monkey (I know, classic) in advance.  Before the sessions started on Tuesday morning, I went down to the yeshiva to say hi and also went back for Mincha that afternoon.  My session on Tuesday morning with a woman named Rachel Sklan was about discovering identity and inserting purpose into what we're doing in Israel and just in general.  Everyone who was in my session really enjoyed that.  In the afternoon, I took a session with Neil Lazarus about public speaking.  We knew that session would be entertaining because Neil has a classic British sense of humor.  Highly inappropriate at times, but all the better.  I also learned at that session, as we were watching video clips, that seeing George Bush make a fool of himself still doesn't get old.  We then prepared mock speeches to give and he gave us advice; that consisted a lot of laughing with each other and at ourselves.  After that session, I went to Pomeranz to buy a copy of Chayei Adam (a code of Halakha) and to see if I could get a copy of the first volume of my pocket-sized Rambam that I had lost.  Once again, I did not eat dinner at Beit Nativ, and instead went to a cheap yet nice sit-down fleishig restaurant near Zollie's called Eldad V'Zehu.  Nobody wanted to really do anything that night, so Josh and I watched most of Role Model's on my computer.  We still need to finish.


Our first session Wednesday morning was with an AIPAC employee in the Israel office.  It sucked.  He did basically the opposite of the techniques Neil taught us, and considering how effective Neil is, doing the opposite of his tips is not a good thing.  The area I was sitting in was fairly rude (including myself at some times), but even sadder that he didn't read his audience whatsoever.  It was a couple of hours of torture.  After that session I had a session with Elkana about learning to speak so others will listen, which was fairly fun.  Lunch was okay, I went to the Yeshiva for Mincha, got a haircut, and then came back to sit in on Poskim class.  This semester, they're covering the halakha of the madman/fool and deaf person.  After eating a quick dinner, an employee of the Foreign Ministry, Ido Aharoni, had a presentation for us about the branding of Israel.  Research they've done (plus obvious instincts) shows that the world only sees the image of Israel related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and even if they are on Israel's side of the cause, they don't see the active and vibrant culture of Israel.  Thus, Israel needs a new marketing image.  Unlike our friend from that morning, Aharoni was a great speaker and delivered a fascinating presentation.  That ended and it was out for a fun night.


Leadership Week culminated with a final session with Jules about Conservative Judaism.  Be'ezrat Hashem I will finish a piece I started writing earlier this year about my conflict with the denominations.  The session itself was good, but the same issues that get mentioned time and time again make me dizzy.  On a brighter note, after the session, Jules and I discussed some comments I sent him about IC a couple of months ago, and that was a productive discussion.  I then attended Reb Shmuel's sicha at the yeshiva about anger.  And thus ended leadership week.


What was Leadership Week?  Well, we are "Nativ: The College Leadership Program in Israel," so there obviously needs to be a leadership component.  One week obviously cannot turn one person into a leader, but that's the purpose of a whole year.  This week was a good opportunity to think about developing skills to properly convey the leadership qualities we may have developed throughout the year.


Kol Tuv,


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