How I Moved to India and Rediscovered My Judaism

April 5, 2011


When I sat down to try to write a short reflection piece about my year in Mumbai as a JDC Jewish Service Corps (JSC) volunteer, I shuddered slightly. The thought of condensing everything I learned there, along with the deep personal connection I developed with members of the Indian-Jewish community, seemed impossible.

Being in this line of work, I often found myself explaining what it’s like to be a foreign volunteer entering a community in a country you barely know and getting a ‘job done’ in a cultural setting that is so very different from yours. It requires an acute sense of adventure, fearlessness in the face of the unknown, adaptation, and the willingness to accept that the truths you grew up with turn out to be completely wrong. You also need the ability to laugh at yourself and discover that sometimes there is a clear right and wrong which transcends cultural and moral ambiguities. Most important, you need to be able to listen closely, relate to and genuinely empathize with different kinds of people, each one with an entirely different set of experiences.

Read the full article in eJewish Philanthropy.

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