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York University student reflects on Impact India

hillelBy: Robyn Rosenblum
2nd year York University Student; Incoming JLIC Student co-President
Courtesy of Hillel of Greater Toronto Month in Review May 2015 

Two weeks ago I and twenty other university students embarked on a journey of a lifetime. In partnership with Hillel of Greater Toronto, OU/ JLIC, Ve’ahavta, and Shaarei Shomayim, we travelled  to India where we had the unique privilege of running a camp for children of the Colaba slums.

With the guidance of both  Project Ten and Project Gabriel, we spent each morning working in the camp, using activities that we had personally  prepared. The afternoons were spent  touring and exploring the rich Indian culture. We also had the chance to visit many  Jewish sites and engage with the Indian Jewish community.

This being my first trip with such a diverse group of university students from many backgrounds, I was fascinated and enlightened by the various ways we experienced our Jewishness and our relationship to the world around us. I went into this trip with the hope of giving and improving what I could during my limited time in India. I wished to impact the lives of children and give them an experience they would never forget.

By the end of the trip, I was very surprised at how much I had received. Rather than teaching the children of the Colaba slum, I found them constantly teaching me. These children endure things no child should ever have to. Yet, I saw them filled with happiness, ambition and a constant thirst for knowledge. I was reminded that happiness comes from the simple things in life and being able to appreciate what is around you. These kids are missing basic  necessities, but still manage to have a smile on their faces and appreciate the things around them.

This is a lesson I hope to carry with me in everything I do and share with the people around me. As it says,

“Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot,”
– Pirkei Avot. Chapter 4, Mishna 1.

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