STUDENT AND YOUNG ADULT TOURS
Our Sephardic Jewish Heritage Tours provide formal and informal education that connect young people to their Sephardic Jewish heritage, introduce them to their peers in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Curazao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Panama or Venezuela, the list goes on, and help shatter assumptions about cultural stereotypes, and nurture cross-cultural understanding of identity and Jewish peoplehood.
Tour itineraries include: documentation projects, cultural immersion, and social networking through people-to-people exchanges, and cross-cultural dialogue in the contemporary Latin America of the choosing, followed via Internet sites, such as Facebook. These activities “hook” students in through their active participation (service learning), and as co-creators in the projects themselves (community-building).
For example, a cultural immersion component of the proposed Youth Tour, and based on the successful “Bring Memory Back” project, created by our colleagues at the Foundation for the Preservation of Sephardic Jewish Heritage in the Dominican Republic , includes organized tours of Jewish landmarks in DR and discussions on human rights. A Youth Tour component involves participants in the design and publication of leaflets about the multicultural heritage of their ancestral towns, art making and photography of Jewish historical sites, and meetings with community leaders and local educators. By getting to know Sephardic Jewish tradition and culture through the places where it existed and is being revived, Youth Tour participants can come together for answers to questions about universal values of justice, responsibility, charity and citizenship. These kinds of program nodes along the tour itinerary will deepen social bonds among participants that will be built on through subsequent follow up and ongoing social networking via the Internet. This 21st century technology needs to be incorporated as validation of the younger generation’s know-how, and as a measure of learning outcomes that can be followed. By guiding students in the capability to sustain dialogue via the Internet, Youth Tours underscore a pedagogical model of peer-to-peer leadership training while instilling values of social responsibility that foster global Jewry.
A Youth Tour component that incorporates documentation is the Latin America Jewish Cemetery Restorations Project, linked to the Family Heritage Learning Center of the Bet Haderech Congregation in Mexico. Youth will participate with Mexican university students in the ongoing documentation of more than 250,000 gravesites – in disrepair and hidden under years of neglect – that represent historic Jewish settlements and the remains of what was lost or demolished by the Inquisititors/ occupiers. For instance, all written records of the cemetery were desacreted by the inquisitors and looters along the times, along with many of the gravesites themselves, necessitating the recording of each individual headstone in order to reconstruct family and community genealogy, once lost to history, and now re-discovered through this community mapping project. Youth Tour students participate in this historical excavation of memory, which is also their own. This participation serves as but one model along the Tour for how young people can join in collective efforts to reconstruct the Sephardic Jewish past, while rescuing it for the future. Through this form of engagement and service, students are then better prepared to appreciate the value of how their own identity connects to the data gathering work of our Sephardic Genealogy Center, another stop on their tour of experiential learning.
JEWISH YOUTH AND STUDENT GROUPS
Specialty Tours are organized as:
•FAMILY LEGACY TOURS
•JUDERIA OR JEWISH BARRIO TOURS
•HIDDEN HISTORY TOURS OF SPANISH JEWISH NORTH, CENTRAL & SOUTH LATIN AMERICA
•STUDENT & YOUNG ADULT TOURS
•CREATE YOUR OWN TOUR
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