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  1. As someone who runs trips for Jewish Day Schools, synagogues and youth groups that do include some that have a service learning component, I could not agree more with the need for this discussion. In fact, I wrote a piece in EJewish Philanthropy http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/how-we-think-of-social-action-and-social-learning-trips/.
    I think it is time, if not past time, to really ask the hard question of what are we really doing when we insist that there be a hands on component of social action on any trip a Jewish group goes on. On a surface level, how fantastic that we incorporate social service into a trip. But delve a little deeper and some serious concerns should come up.
    1. How are we framing these experiences? I find all too often that we have set up a power structure where our groups are in “savior” position to the less fortunate groups.
    2. We go “over there” to do work but ignore our own back yard. The work needed in New Orleans is also needed in most of our cities.
    3. I run a Civil Rights journey in which people meet with Reverends and private citizens who were involved in the movement at the locations where key events happened. The goal is to inspire and empower the students to go home and realize they can get involved in bringing light to injustices happening in their own backyard. All too often, I have group say they appreciate the lessons of this journey but need to go somewhere (New Orleans) that is an easier “sell” than Alabama is and where they can do a hands on component instead of just learning.
    I appreciate your voices joining mine is asking these questions.

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