Wednesday, March 10th, 2010...3:12 pm
Penn State: Tere!!
From March 7-14, 2010, 17 students from Hillel at Penn State University will volunteer with the Jewish communities of Tallinn, Estonia, and Vilnius, Lithuania.
Tere!! (that’s “hello!!” in Estonian!)
Yesterday was our first full day in Tallinn, Estonia! After a full breakfast that included herring (!? ok actually it was delish) we headed through the medieval old city (beautiful!) to the Jewish Community Center. There, we learned about the services the center is able to provide for the members of the small Jewish community in Tallinn. Programs include meals on wheels, social clubs, home care services, and medicine subsidization, just to name a few.
It’s really incredible that the JCC, with the support of JDC, is able to provide so many beneficial services to the community and that because of these services, the Jewish population has a higher life expectancy than the general population of Estonia.
For our service project, we painted a mural in a room that the JCC can now use for activities with children. We were helped by Tinis, a wonderful Estonian painter who graciously guided us in creating a beautiful scene of properly shaded landscape. When we were done the room looked great; it definitely had a warm feel and seemed more welcoming than a bare white wall to the children in the Tallinn community. We took turns either painting the room or making posters and signs to decorate the Jewish kindergarten.
During our time at the Tallinn JCC we also worked with and met a lot of Estonian peers, who were really awesome. We enjoyed hanging out with them and bonding (and asking them how to pronounce “hello” and “what’s up?” in Estonian).
It was incredible to spend the day performing community service with members of the Tallinn community. We were able to have a great time joking around and hanging out with people our own age and learning about their culture, while performing imporant service to the community. In the end, it wasn’t so much that we were doing our own community service project, but more that we were taking part in a community project.
We are all really excited to celebrate the opening of the children’s room together with kids from the community and see how we actually impacted their lives and made a difference! Photos will be up soon!