– Ross Rosen
We started off our first full day in San Francisco meeting at a public library with Leon Veal, a man who did not learn how to read or write until he was 44. It was amazing seeing how much something most of us take for granted can actually change someone’s life. Before he began learning with Project Read, the company that provided a literacy tutor for him, he was happy if he lasted three months at a single job before his employers found out he was not able to read or write and fired him, but now he is learning graphic design to start a long-term career and also works at Project Read to benefit others who are in the same position he was in.
We then had the chance to get lunch and walk around the ferry building on San Francisco Bay, which gave us all the opportunity to see much of the culture of the Bay Area.
After lunch, we went back to the library to meet with Wen Lee, an activist for ACE, Alliance for Climate Education. We were presented with the counterargument to Jim Pfaff’s stance on climate change and learned the ways we could get involved to halt climate change.
After that, we took the BART over to Berkeley. We began our time in Berkeley by learning about how riots in the town affected the social and political movements of the 60’s and 70’s. We then had time to explore the town of Berkeley and get dinner. For a small town, Berkeley has a lot of restaurants and stores to go to and a lot of culture to experience.
To finish the night, we had Shabbat services at a Jewish Renewal Synagogue which is sort of a Chavurah type place. Chavurah focuses mainly on a smaller group of friends and spirit, music, and community. For most if not all of us it was our first experience with the Chavurah type service. There was much singing and dancing throughout the service and though it lasted a little longer than many of us are used to, I believe that the majority of us had a fun time and experienced a type of service we never have before. For many of us this was our last Shabbat service on the trip, and I think it was a great way to finish off the Shabbat experience.