Chevrutot by Kendre Werner

Maase Olam

Chevrutot by Kendre Werner

Every Tuesday, our group has the opportunity to learn about and discuss a variety of issues concerning Israeli society.  The past four Chavrutas have exposed us to various cultures within Israel via speakers, film, food,  discussion, and more.  

Ethiopian-Israelis are a crucial part of Israeli society.  At the end of November, we had an Ethiopian centered Chavruta which, appropriately, fell during the holiday known as Sigd.  This holiday, also known as “Beta Israel”, represents the reunification of the Ethiopians with their Judaism.  We had the opportunity to listen to two of our Israeli peers as well as an invited speaker about their experiences of being an Ethiopian Jew in Israel.  This chavruta was extremely interesting as it offered us the unique opportunity to learn more about the complexities and nuances of being an Ethiopian-Israeli!

     At our next Chavruta we enjoyed a screening of the film “Ajami”.  The film wove together four different characters and storylines to create a tapestry of Jewish, Arab, Christian, and Muslim lives in Israel.  The film explored some of the different religious and social divisions within Israel and confronted some of the complexities that exist both within and between religions and cultures.  The movie led to an interesting discussion and opened up our minds to some of the deeper social complexities that challenge Israel.

        The next Chavruta maintained the theme of diversity within Israel.  We divided into groups, each with a different ethnic group within Israel. 


Each group put together a short presentation on their group and prepared traditional foods.  Following the presentations we feasted!  I was personally a fan of the jachnun-a Yemenite Jewish pastry, tabbouleh-a Druze salad,  and injera- an Ethiopian flatbread.  

It was fun to get a taste (quite literally!) of different cultures throughout Israel. 

        This past week we had a fun Hanukkah themed Chavruta that took us all around Rehovot!  We divided into groups and went on a scavenger hunt around town.  After finding clues and completing challenges, we ended up at one of our Israeli peers’ apartment for a Hannukah party.  There were homemade latkes, sufganiyot, and a dreidel pinata filled with gelt and other treats.  The night was very fun and a great Chavruta to send us off on our Hanukkah break! 


Kendra is a Fellow of Ma'ase Olam's Masa Israel Teaching Fellow program. For more information about her experience and the program email