By Amanda Budd
Last month, I had the pleasure of joining Hillels of Georgia in Mexico City for a trip with Project TEN. Project TEN is an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel. They allow participants to travel to any Project TEN center across the world to volunteer in and explore the local community—all while meeting Jews from around the globe.
Our meaningful days were spent with middle school-aged students in Santiago, Yancuitlalpan. We engaged them in various thinking games such as charades, memory matching, and human knots. We volunteered in a local community center where we met younger children participating in an after-school camp with Project TEN. As the students’ maestros, we organized games and arts and crafts focused on the solar system.
We traveled to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan and arrived in Bernal, Mexico, for the start of the Shabbat. In this picturesque town, we saw the Peña de Bernal; this small mountain is a spiritual center for the area’s indigenous people.
Following Shabbat, our group returned to Mexico City, where we enjoyed a tour of the Frida Kahlo Museum and a river tour in Xochimilco. Our last day featured a historical tour of Mexico City, where we saw the first synagogue in the city and the first Ashkenazi synagogue right next door.
At any given moment, our group spoke English, French, Spanish, and Hebrew, reinforcing the idea of a global Jewish identity. We arrived in the program as strangers and left connected by our love for Judaism and our shared experiences in this incredible country.
To learn more about Project TEN, please visit https://project-ten.online/