Families and friends of participants came to campus today for the Genesis Showcase, a chance to get a glimpse of what the participants have been doing all summer. After a bite to eat, Dvora Goodman, Director of Genesis, welcomed everybody and introduced the afternoon’s program as “a small taste of what happened this summer.” She reflected on her summer and how lucky she was to be able to go around and see what happens in all parts of the program– the creativity, how participants challenge themselves and try new things, collaboration between participants and staff, the learning, and the fun. “I’m proud and excited of what happened here this summer,” she said. Turning to the participants, Dvora recalled the first day when Bradley Solmsen, Director of the Office of High School Programs, challenged participants to say hi, don’t assume, and ask why. “You’ve taken that advice to heart in so many ways. You’ve opened up to new experiences, people, and leanings. You really helped build the Genesis community this summer.”
Following Dvora’s introduction, the Social Entrepreneurship participants shared what they learned and worked on this summer by pitching their ventures. They presented 4 business ventures that they have been developing and creating at Genesis. EZ Study is a revolutionary vending machine for purchasing and selling textbooks on a college campus, speaking to the issue of expensive textbooks. Accessories for Good is an online store that sells handmade, original accessories that are made by underprivileged and individuals with disabilities. They already have a few products on their website from WCI (Work, Community, Independence) in Waltham, where they did community service. International Education Transfer Program would provide a way for immigrants to be able to use their previous degrees and knowledge to find jobs in their new country. And Sports 4 All would provide at-risk children a positive experience and structure for their lives through sports to set them on the path of success.
Next, the Journalism course presented the news in the form of a news show, similar to the one that they saw recorded live earlier in the week. Anchored by two participants, they shared features on a wide range of topics that had been reported on by other participants in their class, including Massachusetts General Hospital’s ranking, medical research on diabetes, fashion, LGBT+ Orthodox Jews, Mormonism, texting as the new norm, and more. All of these features, both articles and video reports, can be seen on their website.
After a quick snack, the World Religion exhibition was open to viewers. The exhibition showed what participants learned in the course as well as personal reflections. As the course focuses on understanding oneself as a way of understanding others, participants did deep reflection of their own identity and beliefs as well as engage with others and their beliefs. The final project was Spiritual Conversations, in which participants chose an individual to interview and put their skills of pluralism and interfaith dialogue into practice.
The law course dazzled the audience with their skills in a mock-trial about fiduciary duty and failed investments. In this case, two people lose millions of dollars, but the responsible parties cannot be held liable according to American law. Participants in this course considered questions of justice in the law, especially when it comes to financial cases in which people are losing millions of dollars while others become increasingly wealthy.
Innovation and Revolution participants spoke about the inverse relationship between the increase of use of technology and decrease of privacy in our modern age. They entertained questions from the audience about what they learned this summer and how privacy in a big issue, especially in the world of social media.
Finally, the afternoon ended with a look into what happens outside of courses. As Dvora said, “it’s hard to describe!” Dvora spoke about the two community education pieces this summer: Expeditions were the opportunity for participants to go in depth into a topic related to Judaism, Jewish community, and Jewish identity and ask important questions. iDentity, the final piece, was for participants to explore their own personal identity by asking, answering, and sharing: What do I want you to know about me in order for you to understand me better? These pieces were shared last night in both small and large groups. Participants played a short game of Family Feud, highlighting the diversity at Genesis, as well as other significant pieces of the program, like She’arim. The last question addressed values they are taking home from Genesis: Community, don’t assume, pluralism, patience, open- mindedness, individuality
To close, Dvora remarked that what she takes away from this program more than anything are the connections and the conversations and the ideas that she has a chance to explore when she’s here. Based on personal reflections from participants, they are taking away all that and much more!