by Jacob Hanai
Today started off with a pretty long bus ride from middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to one of the largest cities in the United States, New York City. For lunch, we got to stop at a Wawa, which is something that is very fun for me because of the lack of Wawas down south. It gave me the opportunity to make my Philly-born mom a little jealous.
After the gruelling bus ride, we finally got to NYC and walked a couple of blocks to the American Jewish World Service’s (AJWS) office building. We met with a man named Joe Gindi who taught us a little bit about the goal and mission of AJWS. It gave me the opportunity to dig deeper into what the well known phrase from the Torah, “V’ehavta Lere’echa Camocha.” When you take a closer look at this section of the Torah, you find another verse similar to this one. Translated, “V’ehavta Lere’echa Camocha” is a command to love thy neighbor as thyself which brings up the question: who is considered a neighbor? A couple of sentences later, we find another command telling us to love our fellow strangers as our ourselves as well. However, this brings up that same question. While there are many different interpretations, I believe a neighbor is a member of your Jewish nation and a stranger is everyone else. Therefore, you are required to love everyone but the Torah says this in a pretty weird way.
After going to AJWS, we walked around Time Square and got to see New York in all its magnificence. After free time and dinner, we went to see the play “Come From Away”. It is a true story based off of the story of Newfoundland after the events of 9/11. It was extremely interesting to see how these tragic events affected places around the world. Overall, It was quite the day.