Etgar 36

Day 26- New York City

– Dani Luntz

We started our day bright and early at 7:30 AM and headed towards (in my opinion) the greatest American city, Manhattan. Even though we woke up early, we got to sleep on our really long drive from our last hotel in Clarion, PA. Not only did we get to go to an amazing city, but today was Rebecca’s birthday. On the bus we celebrated by playing Birthday by The Beatles, one of my favorite songs. After about 3 hours on the road, we got to experience hogie fest 2k15 at Wawa. Everyone used touch screen panels to order their sandwiches. It was pretty cool. When we got back on the bus, we started a movie called Keeping the Faith. It was about a priest and rabbi who were best friends and their struggles with faith and love. It was a great movie, so I was disappointed to find out we lacked the time to finish it. I guess we’ll have to wait until the bus ride to Boston Sunday to watch until the end! While it was so cool seeing the skyline and finally arriving at our hotel, it was sad when two Etgarians, Jordan and Rebecca, had to leave. We headed to the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) for our first meeting in New York. This organization had three main goals: defending women’s and the LGBT community’s rights, helping regions and individuals recover from conflict and oppression, and defending all people’s access to food, land, and livelihood. The first way the organization accomplishes their goals is by lobbying the government to pass laws to create social justice. Currently, they are working on persuading the government to take action in the Dominican Republic where people of Hatian decent are being denied basic rights like education and health care. Another way this group achieves their goals is by funding groups within local communities referred to as grass-rooted organizations. The AJWS gives $35 million annually to 500 grass-rooted organizations in 19 different countries in means of improving social justice around the world. On the organization’s website, ajws.org, we explored ways normal people like us can take action to help achieve social justice in the world.

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After this inspiring meeting, we got the opportunity to explore Time Square.

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There were immense crowds of people, huge flashing lights and advertisements everywhere. It was pretty awesome. Tonight was definitely one of the best nights of the trip because we got the opportunity to see the Broadway show Hamilton.

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This production shared the story of the foundation of America in a new light. While most previous stories of our founding fathers include only white characters, the actors in this play were of various ethnicities. Also, the play was predominately rap songs with little dialogue. It was very cool hearing an old story in a modernized way because everyone was able to understand the full story and appreciate our country’s history. One of the main ideas of this production is that you can’t choose who lives, who dies, and who will tell your story. However, if you achieve as much as you possibly can during your life, your stories will be passed on and become history. Another idea that struck me is that there are so many different types of people in the world who have contradictory beliefs, but the world is wide enough for everyone to live together.

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