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Spring Break in Seattle

This year, UMBC's spring break is the week before Passover.

Sound challenging or inconvenient?

How about an exciting opportunity to experience the Jewish message of moving from slavery to freedom in a whole new way? 

Jewish tradition teaches that in every generation, each of us is bound to see himself or herself as if he or she personally went forth from Egypt, and that we are to remember this liberation all the days our lives.

We live in a world in which people are still enslaved, even right here in our own country.

UMBC Hillel's Spring Break in Seattle will be a week of hands-on learning with a groundbreaking organization called Seattle Against Slavery, Jewish text study, and communal living designed to connect and inspire you in your Jewish journey and in doing your part in making a more just world.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW.

Below is some more information, followed by an application, which is due on Wednesday, November 14.  Applicants may be interviewed and informed and offered a place on the trip the first week in December, which they must accept and pay for within 24 hours.  Please email hillel@umbc.edu for more information.

WHY SEATTLE?

We think it would be fun for our students to travel to somewhere that is probably new for many of them and we know that Seattle has an organization called Seattle Against Slavery that is becoming a model organization to work for a world free of slavery.

THIS SOUNDS SO COOL--BUT I DON'T KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING, OR PASSOVER FOR THAT MATTER.

We hope to have UMBC students from a variety of backgrounds register for the trip.  Some will be wanting a new perspective on Passover, some excited to delve more deeply into creating social justice, and some who think it all sounds like a unique opportunity to which they are open.  All are welcome.

DO I HAVE TO BE JEWISH?

While the trip is primarily geared toward students who are Jewish or are involved in the Jewish community, anyone may apply and will have his or her application taken seriously.

WHEN IS THE TRIP?

We will leave from BWI airport early Sunday morning, March 17 and plan to return to Washington's Dulles Airport (IAD) by early the following Sunday morning, March 24 (we fly late Saturday night back from Seattle).  You are responsible for getting to and from the airport but we are happy to help participants coordinate with one another.

BUT ISN'T THAT RIGHT BEFORE PASSOVER?

Classes after spring break resume on Monday, March 25, and yes, the first Passover seder is that night, about 36 hours after we are expected to get back.  So we're the first to admit that the schedule might be challenging, but we believe that the opportunity here is great!  It's not every year that you get to return home to celebrate Passover with such an immediate experience of learning about slavery in every generation.  If you help your family cook for the holiday, we hope they'll let you do that a little less this year since we expect you'll be bringing all sorts of insights to the Jewish celebration of freedom.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND WHAT DOES THAT INCLUDE?

We will ask you to self-assess a participation fee based on your access to funds for your trip in the $250 to $450 price range.  (We do not want cost to be an obstacle for participation, so please let us know if self-assessing in that range is problematic.)    If you are accepted onto the trip, you will have 24 hours to accept and pay your participation fee by check or credit card in order to be guaranteed a seat.  (We expect to offer places on the trip within the first week of December.)  That includes airfare, accommodations, and food.  As you might imagine, this means that you are getting an experience that is costing UMBC Hillel roughly $1500 per person at a highly subsidized rate.

WHO IS GOING?

We expect around ten or twelve UMBC students together with Cara Behneman and Rabbi Jason Klein, UMBC Hillel's assistant director and executive director.

WHERE ARE WE STAYING?

We are staying in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle in a six bedroom house.  We will plan in advance sleeping arrangements that will make everyone feel as comfortable as possible.  Although the primary goal of our trip is not a tourism experience of Seattle, we do expect to experience some of what the neighborhood has to offer, particularly as far as tasty coffee and night life.

HOW WILL KASHRUT AND SHABBAT BE ACCOMMODATED?

We will live together in a house with many bedrooms and a kitchen to which only we have access.  Our plan is to make the kitchen kosher to accommodate everyone's dietary needs, plan and shop together for food, and create a Shabbat experience together.  The house is within walking distance of synagogue communities which will be among the options for the group on Shabbat.

BUT LIKE, WHAT WILL WE ACTUALLY BE DOING?

Here's a working draft of our itinerary that we believe gives you a sense of things:

Day 1: Sunday

  • Arrive at Seattle, WA
  • Check in at  House, grocery shopping, neighborhood orientation, and kitchen preparation
  • Dinner
  • Brief Orientation to Seattle area

Day 2: Monday

 

  • Introduction and meeting with Robert Beiser, Executive Director, to learn about Seattle Against Slavery
  • Trafficking in Washington 101 with International Rescue Committee
  • Lunch
  • Learning session with local synagogue Rabbi on slavery, responsibility
  • Visit and tour of local immigrant rights organization
  • Dinner
  • Daily Reflection

Day 3:  Tuesday

  • Community postering: training and community outreach
  • Interactive learning session with Arts Aftercare
  • Lunch
  • Learning session led by UMBC Hillel professionals.
  • Shabbat planning time
  • Seattle Outdoor activity (hiking, arts park, boat ride)
  • Dinner
  • Movie screening – Dark Side of Chocolate / Call+Response
  • Daily Reflection

Day 4:  Wednesday

 

  • Community Postering
  • Gender/Oppression conversation with Organization of Prostitution Survivors
  • Lunch
  • Meeting with City of Seattle officials
  • Discussion with YouthCare outreach workers
  • Meal Service (Dinner) with Teen Feed/YouthCare
  • Learning session led by UMBC Hillel Professionals
  • Daily Reflection

 Day 5: Thursday

  • Theory of Change exercise
  • Brochure distribution
  • Lunch
  • Discussion with service provider
  • Learning session led by local minister
  • Dinner
  • Cooking for Shabbat / Movie screening – Dark Side of Chocolate / Call+Response
  • Daily Reflection

 Day 6:  Friday

 

  • Morning Yoga with instructor from Arts Aftercare
  • Discussion with Seattle Police Department detective
  • Street interviews with Seattlites on human trafficking
  • Lunch
  • Seattle Outdoor activity (Pike Place Market)
  • Finishing Shabbat preparation
  • Daily Reflection
  • Shabbat services
  • Dinner

Day 7:  Saturday

  • Opportunity to attend services or alternatives.
  • Lunch
  • Learning session led by UMBC Hillel Professionals.
  • Weekly Reflection
  • Dinner
  • Havdalah
  • Student letters to themselves
  • Late Saturday night: fly home

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