My name is Sarah Nabaggala, I am from the Jewish community in Uganda called the
Abayudaya. I am spending the next 5 months volunteering with Tikkun Olam In Tel Aviv- Jaffa and learning about Judaism and Israel from a progressive, and pluralistic viewpoint.
It has now been a month since the start of the program; it has been an intense and exciting month full of discovering new things like a few weeks ago we visited the Yitzhak Rabin museum and we had an in depth learning about his life and achievements as well as assassination. Learning in general about Israel, its politics, culture like the food and music, history and people, participating in thought provoking lectures about issues that affect Israel. I have also been learning from and connecting with my fellow Tikkun Olam participants. We all come from diverse backgrounds, rich with culture and so much to share, in my group, I have had the opportunity to live and share with people from France, Hungary, Canada, Brazil and America. Last Shabbat we had a group Shabbat dinner where Jimmy, my French housemate with Tunisian roots made a delicious Tunis dish consisting of couscous and vegetables.
Together, we are studying Hebrew in Ulpan, navigating Israeli culture, tasting all of the wonderful food (my favourite being shawarma and shakshuka) and experiencing different holidays for the next 5 months living and volunteering with our communities in different capacities. Experiencing Yom Kippur in Israel and with the Tikkun Olam community was such a different experience from what I am used to. On Yom Kippur eve, we all wore white and had a wonderful pre Yom Kippur dinner. The services were emotional, musical and poetic all the while the themes were meant to provoke you to think about the modern times and our surroundings and the problems affecting us and what we can do about them. I also loved walking on the empty streets here in Tel Aviv, everything was so quiet, no cars in sight. So unlike in Uganda where Yom Kippur is a community affair – if you are not with the community you would completely miss out on the Yom Kippur vibe, the country goes on with its life, everything operating as usual. Therefore in Uganda, In order for one to have a spiritual and meaningful Yom Kippur one would have to be at the synagogue with the whole community.
Israel is a beautiful country with so much to offer; it also has so many issues that need to be discussed and worked on. For me personally, this program doesn’t only offer me an opportunity to learn about and enjoy what Israel has to offer but also to give back and contribute to making it a better place hence Tikkun Olam (which means “repair the world” in Hebrew).
To give you an insight on what I will be doing in the next four months: I will be volunteering and interning with The African Refugee Development Center, The Lasova soup kitchen, and the Eritrean Women’s Center. The African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) is a grassroots, community-based non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by African asylum seekers and Israeli citizens in order to protect, assist and empower African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. ARDC promotes leadership and self-sufficiency as well as advocates for a humane and fair Israeli asylum policy. The Eritrean Women’s Community Center in Tel Aviv is an initiative designed and run independently by a group of Eritrean refugee women. The center aims to provide Eritrean women and other asylum seekers with a safe space as well as access to important services like refugee rights education.
I am very excited and grateful to be able to experience Israel with this group of amazing people and I can’t wait to immerse myself further in the program.
Meet Sara Nabaggala a participant on our post college Tikkun Olam program. A 26 year old law graduate from Mbale Uganda, Sarah will be writing a blog every week sharing her experiences of what it is like living in Jaffa, volunteering with asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless as well as studying at BINA.