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Jewish life for young and old
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: Dec 1, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In the framework of this project, two young europeans will be enabled to become volunteers for a 12-month European Voluntary Service in the hosting organisations Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue and Masorti e.V. in Berlin starting in September 2015. The chosen volunteers are a young woman from Finland represented by the finish sending organisation Alliansi Youth Exchanges as well as a young man from Poland, represented by the polish sending organisation STRIM. The coordinating organisation of the overall project is Masorti e.V. The tasks of the volunteer in the hosting organisation Masorti e.V. consist in the assistance with the child care, nursing and housekeeping activities of the Masorti Kindergartens. The volunteer will be helping with the every-day life of one of the german-hebrew age-mixed groups of 15 children. By doing so, she will not only get an insight view in the pedagogical work, but will also get to know the jewish year with its holidays and festivities and will be an active part in designing it. The EVS activity in the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue consists of assisting with the logistical preparation and implementation of services for Shabbat, the holidays and life-cycle events, taking care and welcoming international visitors (individuals and groups), organising Lehrhaus activities and other events (both religious and inter-religious) as well as the support of administrating tasks like the creation of publications. Both volunteers will be provided with time and support in order to design and implement their own project ideas according to their needs and abilities. In the project, they are supported by a coordinator and a mentor and are actively designing their own learning process by taking part in the “learning meetings” (with methods of non-formal education) and by keeping a learning diary. Additionally, they are taking part in German classes as well as the official EVS trainings. Both participants have chosen their hosting projects by themselves according to their needs. The reason for the choice of the polish volunteer is a personal one – he wishes to discover more of his possibly jewish ancestry and wants to get to know jewish practice and culture and strengthen his identity. For the finish volunteer it is important to gain practical work experience and in living abroad and to improve her German language skills, since she is in the transition period from school to working life. During the EVS activity, the volunteers undergo an intercultural learning process and acquire knowledge, practical work experience and key competences that help to develop their personal and professional growth and their employability. By volunteering in jewish projects, they are actively involved in shaping jewish life in Europe and are fighting against anti-semitism and for cultural diversity and are strengthening their European citizenship. The hosting organisations benefit from the support, input and encounters with young european volunteers with a different religious, linguistic and cultural background. As a first result, there are long-lasting effects of this project on the volunteers themselves, who will be benefitting from the learning process on an individual and professional level for their entire lives. As European volunteers, they are firstly representatives of the EU funding programme Erasmus+ Youth and the EVS and help to shape a positive image of Europe, secondly they are now multipliers and share this positive image with their communities. Additionally, after their EVS the volunteers will have a natural approach to the European jewish life of today and will therefore not only be able to pass this on but by sharing it, help to fight anti-semitism and prejudices and strengthen the positive awareness of cultural diversity. The participating organisations strengthen their networks and working methods and the European cooperation in the youth field. The responsible people in the projects develop their key competences by working with the volunteers as well. Masorti e.V. will be re-developing its EVS flyers and will compile a collection of non-formal methods for the learning support of the volunteers and publish it on their website. This EVS activity is embedded in a long-term strategy for the hosting and sending of European volunteers of Masorti e.V. and its partners that will be continued with this project application.
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