Sunday, December 17, 2017

GPM is proud to Inaugurate the Joshua Jacob Greenberger Learning Center in Kalwa Slums

Bob and Penny Greenberger cutting center's ribbon
The Kalwa slum community was abuzz with excitement last week as GPM inaugurated the Joshua Jacob Greenberger Learning Center. The Center will provide a new innovative educational home in the Bhaskar Nagar neighborhood in the heart of the Kalwa slum, a community of 200,000 residents. The Center, named in in loving memory of GPM-Entwine fellow Joshua Jacob Greenberger who tragically passed away in May 2017, will facilitate accessible quality educational support to children from preschool through tenth grade.

Josh’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Penny and Bob Greenberger, flew in to Mumbai from Cleveland, Ohio, in order to attend the opening. Josh devoted his time teaching the vulnerable children of living in the slums with the 2013 volunteer cohort. 

“It is a great honour to be able to dedicate the dedicate the learning center in Josh’s name and in the presence of his parents,” said GPM Founding Director, Jacob Sztokman.

Consul General Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein affixing the mezuzah

The inauguration began with a pujah, a traditional Hindu good luck ceremony, conducted by Mrs Savita Mishra a local resident and GPM field worker. This was followed by a Jewish consecration ritual of hanging of a “Mezuzah”, a doorpost talisman, by Israeli Consul General Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein. 

The children of the GPM ‘Love2Learn’ school then preformed dances and recited Hindi poetry to commemorate the event. Grade 4 students performed an elaborate hand stomping performance, Grades 1-3 sang the Beetles song ‘Here comes the Sun’, and Pre-school kids sang a dramatic rendition ‘I’m a Little Teapot.’

“It is so meaningful for Josh’s legacy to be a learning center that cares for children’s education as well as their health and nutrition,” Mrs. Greenberger said. “He loved children so much.”  

Children at the Joshua Jacob Greenberger Learning Center dedication
The inauguration coincided with the eve of the first day of the Jewish festival of Chanukah. “As in the festival, the children here are binging light and goodness to the whole community”, Mr. Greenberger said.   

“The Chanukah story is about the power of small lights in the darkness,” Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein explained, as he donated two framed posters of inspiring sites in Israel. “It shows you how a small light has the power to do so much good. Each of the children who will use this center for their education will be a small light, making their parents and community proud as they bring good into the world.”

Josh's plaque greets the children every day at the JLC
The educational staff shared their excitement as well. “This learning center is so important to the children in the area,” said second grade teacher, Ms. Ranjani Sharma. “It opens up wonderful opportunities for them.”

Since the center began operations in September, it has been filled with children, staff, and volunteers from 8am till 9pm. Learning sessions for 220 children take place at the center utilizing multi-media technology and innovative teaching techniques. Classes include a ‘Life Learning’ course of young adults who had dropped out of school at a young age and a night session for study and tutorials for years 8-10. Classes for grades 1-7 are ongoing during the day and a Preschool class starts the kids off on a life of eager learning. 

Consul General Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein with the children
Melanie Samad and Hannah Culang both volunteers from the US spoke about their meaningful time spent teaching the children at the JLC. “We have received so much from the children while we are teaching them and we are so grateful for this experience,” explained Ms. Samad.

Also in attendance were Mrs. Nurit Finkelstein, Israel Counsul Ms. Galit Laroche-Falche, JDC India Director Elijah Jacobs, Rabbi Israel Koslovsky of Mumbai Chabad, GPM teachers, GPM staff, GPM volunteers, ‘Love2Learn’ Coordinator, Thaiza Diaz and GPM India Director Kenneth Dsouza. 

GPM's Jacob Sztokman and Kenneth Dsouza giving the opening remarks 
Before eating the Samosas an Jullabies, prepared by GPM staff, the children washed their hands with the new handwashing basin donated by our partner organization. Sundara, to encourage good hygiene education. As a special treat, each child also received a Halva dessert from the Israel Consulate in Mumbai.

“The Joshua Jacob Greenberg Learning Center is affectionately referred to by the children and teachers as ‘Josh’s Center’ or ‘JLC’,” said Mr. Sztokman. “It is a true community based education center that makes us very proud.”

With the children

GPM teachers, staff and volunteers

Mrs. Nurit Finkelstein, Israel Counsul Ms. Galit Laroche-Falche with some of the children
New handwashing basin donated by Sundara;promoting good hygiene 

Samosas, Jullabies and...Halva!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

GPM parlor meeting in Denver!

GPM cordially invites you to attend a parlor meeting! If you are in the Denver area, join us on December 9th at 7pm for an informative evening. GPM's founding director, Jacob Sztokman will be speaking on the topic of, "A Jewish response to childhood poverty and ill-health in the developing world."

This is a great chance to learn more about GPM and get involved with this incredible organization.

For more information or to RSVP please email Jacob at: