Monday, November 19, 2012

Beautiful Jewish Indian wedding celebrations -Mazal Tov Sigalith!

The entire team of GPM staff and volunteers were privileged and honored to attend the wedding of GPM Program Coordinator Sigalith Isaac as well as her Mehendi, a pre-wedding festive ceremony where friends and family wish the bride well, shower her with rice and blessings and prepare her henna which is placed on her ring finger. At the same time, in another part of Mumbai, her groom, Joel, was having a Mehendi of his own with his henna fashioned on his ring finger. Later that evening family members from both families travelled to each other's Mehendi and combined some of the bride's henna on the groom's ring finger and a small piece of the groom's henna on the bride's ring finger -- joining their hennas, their fingers and their future life together.
The Mehendi at Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue
 Sigalith’s Mehendi at the Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue was a wonderful festive experience. We thank Sigalith and her family for inviting all of us; it was a fascinating and very enjoyable evening!

At the wedding, two days later, at the Magen David Synagogue the young couple were wed in a beautiful ceremony which included an amazing religious song serenade by Joel to his bride. The wedding ceremony was beautiful and the reception was wonderful. At the reception Sigalith and Joel led the many friends and family in lively dancing to wonderful Jewish and Indian music. We wish Sigalith and Joel a lifetime of love and happiness!
Wedding at Magen David Synagogue

Monday, November 12, 2012

GPM hosts LIFE-B'Tzedek Leadership Program

GPM staff and volunteers were thrilled to host the eleven member LIFE-B'Tzedek program participants who kicked off their 4 month India experience with a week in Mumbai. GPM escorted the group to the Kalwa slums, explained the challenges of its residents and introduced the participants to women’s groups preparing nutritious food for the 500 children attending class in the slum. Group members were given the opportunity to ask questions and connect with the women as well as the dedicated teachers in classrooms run by our partner REAP.
LIFE-B'Tzedek participants with a class of children in the Kalwa slums

The LIFE-B'Tzedek participants spent Shabbat in Thane and attended the beautiful services at the Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue. The Shabbat meals, prepared by the GPM volunteers, were an accomplishment onto itself. Never had our apartment in Thane hosted 17 people for Shabbat meals! There was a lot of food and drink, discussions on social justice, equality and global poverty, as well as great fun. Kudos to Sarah for the best humus spread in all of India, Danielle for a lot of awesome Indian & Western food, Jacob for the delicious pumpkin pies, Simon for schlepping, Hanna for the entertainment and Amanda her moral support.

New friends

Saturday night was an evening of fun! A trip to Thane is not complete without a visit to the famous ‘Chocolate Room’ a favorite hangout for GPM volunteers and a great place to order ‘chocolate sizzlers’ and to unwind. Later in the evening we went to the movies at a local mall where intermission refreshments include samosas and vada pavs.

GPM volunteers and LIFE-B'Tzedek participants at the 'Chocolate Room'

Our time spent with the Betzedk-LIFE group ended with a bang, first at Sigalith Isaac’s Mehendi and later at her wedding. The uniquely Indian Jewish wedding was so beautiful and exciting. It was a great honor being part of the celebration and we wish Sigalith and her new husband, Joel, many years of health and happiness!
LIFE-B'Tzedek participants at the Mehendi

Thursday, November 1, 2012

GPM a member of Repair the World's IJSL Technical Assistance Program

GPM is proud to have been accepted to Repair the World's IJSL Technical Assistance Program which consists of group trainings, individualized coaching and consulting, and networking opportunities about program evaluation, participant recruitment and service with impact for organizations running Immersive Jewish service-learning (IJSL) programs.