by Ben Lefkowitz
Tivnu has had a fun and busy two weeks!
We had our first full work week. I started off my week by going to Saint André Bessette, a homeless shelter that provides food, clothes, blankets, and sanitary supplies to people experiencing homelessness- all done with a smile. The next day, I went to the Outgrowing Hunger Harrison Park School site. Outgrowing Hunger is a nonprofit that helps empower low-income families to grow their own food. I work in the garden that is used as a living classroom. The food grown there is brought home by the students to their parents. The school was selected because it is filled with many new immigrant families. In fact, there are over 50 languages spoken in the student’s households. In the afternoon, I help out in the after school program and help run a gardening club.
On Wednesday I worked at Habitat for Humanity building houses. I started the day putting up drywall until my drill broke so I was put on air sealing duty, meaning that I put caulk in every and all cracks and seams in the house. In the afternoon, I was a construction leader on caulking for two volunteers from the Bank of America.
Thursday was another day at Outgrowing Hunger. After work I was even able to bring home some of the veggies that we grew to share with my housemates!
On Friday we went to a master woodworker’s workshop to discover the magic of woodworking and make plans for future projects of our own such as a bookcase, a star of David, a bedside table, and even a porch swing.
Afterwards, we had lunch in a small garden house that he built. Then, we went to Westmoreland Park and Reed College to learn about watershed conservation, native fish, and plants. The Reed College Canyon Supervisor spoke to us. He explained that he was brought in to help clean up the canyon and restore it as a salmon habitat 16 years ago and that the salmon only just returned last year. How’s that for patience!
On Saturday we had a nice, calm, Shabbat followed by a lovely Havdalah. On Sunday, we went to an art show at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, where we discovered many beautiful pieces of art…some of us even bought some! Later that night, I made a vegetable and dumpling soup for a Block Soup Party where we got to meet many of our neighbors.
All in all, this was one amazing and full week for me and everyone else in Tivnu!