This blog post was written by Gaby Reichstein, a Yahel Social Change Fellow living and working in Rishon LeZion.
There are numerous ways to describe development, but let’s keep it short and sweet. People develop through experiences both within and outside of their homes. Development can vary throughout a person’s life due to factors like aging and genetics.It’s impossible for me to personally explain how every individual develops because everyone’s journey is unique and different. While we may share similar experiences, each person is distinct and extraordinary in their own way. Now, when it comes to child development, things can get a bit more complicated depending on the child. Children notice a lot more than we might realize, such as the words spoken by adults around them or the actions they witness. These experiences children witness can actually still be remembered when growing up. Even a simple sentence can shape a child’s perspective.
Working in Israel with children is a different story. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words and since I do not speak a lot of Hebrew, my actions are screaming.
Working with children in Israel has been such an amazing experience and it is very enjoyable to see the children and teens I work with develop, grow, and change throughout the year. Because of my Hebrew level, I rely on context and basic Hebrew to communicate with everyone. Living in Israel, it becomes essential for me to use facial expressions and simple words to convey the appropriate emotions, ensuring that the children understand how I feel. For example, when a 9-year-old child from my elementary school is excited about something, I need to show them that I am excited through my facial expressions rather than with my words a lot of the time, to express that I share their joy. Sounds simple enough, right? This can actually be hard sometimes. As mentioned before, children have perspective and notice much more through actions, and my actions speak volumes while I’m in Israel.
Living in Israel, overall, is an amazing experience with amazing people, even if I don't speak the language. The culture, the language, holidays, weather, the people, and the opportunity to work with children are the reasons why I chose to come to Israel in the first place. I sought to gain more experience working with children and to be a part of a vibrant Jewish community, among other reasons (many reasons). I am genuinely happy with the choices I have made to be here, even if my actions temporarily scream louder than words.