The last week has passed by so quickly, with all of the activities and volunteering we have been doing! On Tuesday, we finished painting the buildings surrounding the Ensor Museum. It felt incredible to finally finish all of the painting, and we were all in high spirits by the end of the day. At night, the activities committee treated us to an awesome night of Dare Night at Wal mart! We than went back home and went to sleep awaiting the arrival of the fourth of July!
The following day was the fourth of July, so rather than volunteering, we went to two different festivals in Kansas City. The first festival had many different booths set up, and it even had a petting zoo! After the festival finished, we packed our stuff up and went over to a pool, which was open to the public for the day. We went swimming, and got to relax for a couple of hours, which was awesome! Once we left the pool, we headed over to another festival, called the Star Spangled Spetacular. There, we were able to walk around and buy dinner, and just hang out with all of our friends. At around 9:30, there were fireworks, which were spectacular! Afterwards, when we were leaving the parking lot, there was a huge line up for getting out, so we had a dance party in the middle of the parking lot, which was tons of fun! Overall, the day was great (even as a Canadian), and it was really nice getting a break from the volunteering we have been doing and getting some time to just hang out with each other!
The next day, we had to wake up really really early (6:00), because we had a new task to do; working in the Mitzvah Garden at the Bnai Jehuda Shul! When we got to the shul, we first talked to Ken, a physician, who oversees the Mitzvah Garden Project in his spare time, and Batsheva and Chuck, who volunteer at the Mitzvah Garden many of the days. After learning more about the Mitzvah Garden and eating breakfast, we started working in the fields! During the morning, we were in charge of harvesting squash, cucumbers, zuchini, tomatoes and different kinds of peppers, placing leaves down on the paths, and watering the plants. It was a really tiring morning, but it felt really rewarding when we finally finished. After harvesting, we loaded the vans with all of the vegetables, and headed over to a food pantry in order to drop off the food we had picked. The lady who was working in the pantry talked to us for around half an hour, telling us about the food pantry, and how someone would qualify for receiving food the pantry has. It was very interesting learning about the food pantry, and it truly made us all feel very content and satisfied to hear how our hard work was truly helping those less fortunate than us. After leaving the food pantry, we headed over to the JCC to take showers and than we ate lunch. Than, we drove to downtown Kansas City in order to tour the World War 1 museum. The museum was very informative, and taught us a lot about World War 1. Afterwards, we stopped at Union Station, a train station that has been in Kansas City for a long time. We than left to go back to Ohev Sholom, where the food committee treated the group to pancakes, waffles and hashbrowns for dinner.
On Friday, we woke up early once again, to work at the Mitzvah Garden. At the Mitzvah Garden, we did some harvesting, watering, and placing leaves on the ground. Once we finished the harvesting, we went to a different food pantry in order to drop off the vegetables. The lady working there told us about the people who qualify for receiving the food, and details about the food pantry and what they have in stock. Afterwards, we headed back to Bnai Jehuda to participate in an educational program, run by three of the volunteers, Hannah, Madi and Jesse, and Chuck’s (one of the volunteers at the Mitzvah Garden) son, Brad. The four of them taught us about the heatwave, climate change, and other things relating to meterology. It was a very interesting program and we were all grateful that Brad was able to come and teach about these issues affecting the country currently. Once we finished, we headed over to the JCC to take showers and than we went back to Ohev Sholom in order to clean for Shabbat! Some of us vacuumed the cars, some of us cleaned the rooms, and some of us prepared the Shabbos meal, in order to get ready for Shabbat. At 6pm, when all of the cleaning was finished, we went to a reform service. There was a lot of singing at the service, and overall the service was really enjoyable and engaging! When we finished davening and welcoming the Shabbat, we went to eat our Shabbos dinner. After dinner, we all partook in an oneg, which is a celebration of Shabbat in which we all sing Jewish songs together. It was tons of fun and it was a great way to kick off Shabbat! We went to sleep afterwards, and the next morning we had a sleep in till around 9:00! In the morning we went to a conservative service, which was very different from the reform service we had attended the previous night, but it was still really enjoyable. After the service, we had a kiddush, which is when food is set up after the service for the congregants to eat. We than had free time for a couple of hours, and later on, we had a program run by the How We Jew committee, during which we talked about the differences between the reform service we attended and the conservative service we attended. After, we had a lot more free time, which was really relaxing, until dinner time! After dinner, we had more free time, and most of us went to hang outside, playing football and ultimate frisbee. Than, when Shabbat finished, we all did Havdallah together, and we all got into committee groups to discuss the upcoming week! Overall, this past week has been awesome and we’re all extremely excited for next week!!