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The Chief Rabbi’s Ben Azzai Programme: Participant Review

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I have been truly honoured and privileged to be one of the 16 fortunate students to have been on the Ben Azzai 2017 trip to Ghana, through the Office of the Chief Rabbi and Tzedek.

We were given a wonderful opportunity to fully experience the Ghanaian culture, to truly understand the incredible work that Tzedek do both in the UK and on the ground in Ghana, and to really grapple with what we can do back here in the UK, individually, as a group and in the wider Jewish community.

There was so much we saw that really shocked me, for example the extremely limited classrooms in the primary schools and how many pupils had to fit into one class, and the basic working conditions in the Shea Butter Plant. These type of conditions are what I feel are vital to raise awareness of back here in the UK.

Yet underneath all of this the people we met demonstrated an immense sense of hope and prosperity, a real desire to learn and to put into practice new techniques and just an all round happiness with the life they have. This is truly something we can learn from.

So at the moment my head is doing circles as I don’t know whether to be extremely worried or extremely hopeful about the future in Ghana and other similar countries. But what I do know is that having had the opportunity to understand it a little bit more, I have the obligation to do my bit now-and I hope a lot more people will join me. As Pirkei Avot 2:21 says “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it”

A final thank you to the incredible 15 other students who I got to share the experience with and the 6 phenomenal staff members who led us so amazingly.

By Aaron Rudolph, Ben Azzai Programme 2017 participant