After serving our country in the IDF and concluding with the rank of סמל (sergeant), our daughter was faced with many months until she would be able to begin her university schooling. In the spirit of still wishing to give of herself, she decided to seek out a program in which she could volunteer and make some kind of difference. At the same time, she wanted it to be somewhat adventurous.

Enter the Jewish Agency (The סוכנות) with their program known as “TEN.” No, not the number 10 but the Hebrew word for “give.” It is a program that sends citizens and non-citizens to a number of different countries where they volunteer in various programs in the host community. Ayelet saw the list of countries, the areas in which they would volunteer and immediately decided on her destination: Ethiopia.

While, according to the Israeli government, there are no Jews left in Ethiopia, the Agency still sponsors programs there under the rubric of Tikkun Olam.

And it was there that Ayelet flew to today, where she hopes to work with blind children on their motor skills and teach them English. Along the way, she will learn of their culture and will (G-d willing) be a shining example of what a representative of the Jewish people is and how she (along with all of her fellow volunteers) CAN indeed give and make a difference. We pray it will be a positive experience and that she will not only GIVE but also receive a wonderful life experience along the way.

To her and to all her fellow volunteers we salute you and wish you well. May Hashem watch over all of you; may you “TEN” (give) to the community of Gondar and may you be a walking Kiddush Hashem!

Ayelet, in our book you are a TEN!

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.