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August 30, 1985 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

26

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, August 30, 1985

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1

Detroit and Ramla teens spruce up an Israeli bomb shelter as part
of the Fresh Air Society's summer teen mission to Israel.

It's a Wednesday morning and bomb shelters (which are foun
like every Wednesday in the Is- in every Israeli town). The
raeli town of Ramla, the outdoor then set to work painting th
market — or "shuk" — is bustl- shelters with bright colors an
ing with activity. For Ramla bilingual messages of hope an
residents, Wednesday's haggling peace. Eventually the shelter
is a weekly rite. But on this may serve as community cer
day, a new set of shoppers joined ters. In the meantime, one sma
them.
part of Ramla looks much brigl
Not quite as adept at bargain- ter.
ing as the seasoned locals, a
"A week's work may not seer
group of 20 American teenagers like much," says Eric Stein, on
from Detroit raised a few eyeb- of the American group leaden
rows with their presence. This "But it created a good feeling
hot, dusty town of 45,000 about That's all it takes for people t
10 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, start taking pride in thei
is not used to seeing many neighborhood and to continu
tourists. But, then, this was no the work that we started t(
ordinary tour.
gether."
During the six weeks they
For the Americans, it's
spend in Israel over the sum- chance to see a part of Isra(
mer, the 20 teens from Detroit, most tourists don't encounter
aged 16 to 18, were matched "It's the real Israel — for bette
with Ramla residents of the or worse," says Naphtali Atia:
same age who hosted them in the Israeli project leader. "Thi
their homes for two weeks and isn't some resort town on th
travelled with them around the coast. But it's the way people i
country. The trip was made Israel live."
possible through a grant from
"That's the greatest part,
the Max M. Fisher Jewish says 18-year-old Cindy Chaffiriz
Community Foundation, funded one of the Detroit participant:
by United Jewish Charities and "Getting to know a 'real Israe
coordinated by Fresh Air
Society.
"Still, it's not all smooth sai
While in Ramla, the De- ing," admits Naphtali, "Ther
troiters cleaned up part of the are real cultural differences. L
town, threw a carnival and raelis are much more straigh
drank tea with local Bedouins. forward, even sharp, in thei
On their cross-country tour, manner and their speakini
they went shooting down the That took getting used to."
rivers of northern Israel in
Cindy admits, "We we
inner tubes and hiked to hidden really shocked at first. Thi
oases in the Negev Desert to never said 'please.' They didr
watch the sun rise.
t un t a h sekm for things — they ju

Detroit and Ramla are linked
together through Project Re-
newal. The objective is for twin-
ned communities to work to-
gether to improve the quality of
life in the Israeli neighborhoods
and in doing so, to foster deeper
understanding between Dias-
pora and Israeli Jews.
The Detroit and Ramla teena-
gers spent a week working to-
gether, cleaning up a small area
of town that had been badly
neglected. They pulled out
weeds and cleared the thorny
undergrowth that had begun to
accumulate around the town's

"And when I'd go into tl
kitchen and ask for cookies or
drink they'd laugh at me f
even bothering to ask," recal
17-year-old Jody Lipton.
"But you learn to live wit
it," says Cindy. "You have t
We both adapted. Now they of
'please' and we just take!"
"On any tour you have pro
lems," says the American grot
leader. "On a more typic,
American youth tour of Isra
the biggest problems would I

Continued on Page 28

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