By Mara Berde
A Jewish educator finds that the same Jewish values she was raised on are values that exist in Rwanda and around the world.
“Why would a Jewish educator spend a year in Rwanda? Are there Jews in Rwanda?” This was a common response when I announced that I’d be spending a year volunteering in Rwanda after completing my Master’s degree in Jewish Education. While there are no Jewish Rwandans, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is modeled after youth villages in Israel — another country that faced an orphan problem after the Jewish people were ravaged by genocide — and imbues its youth with the values of community, respect, integrity, learning, and support of one another.