Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries from April 2011

A Jew running an Easter egg hunt?

April 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Picture taken by Stephenie McGucken

A few weeks ago I received an email from Stephenie McGucken asking if I was interested in volunteering for the Norwich Cathedral’s Easter activities. I immediately replied YES. Who turns down an opportunity involving candy? Even though I myself am Jewish, a good portion of my family is Christian and we have an Easter egg hunt every year. I always had fun and I enjoy working with kids so I thought it would be a nice way to earn my volunteer hours. Although the experience turned out to be a little different than I expected, it was a positive one nonetheless.

We began by setting up the crafts table for the kids (and by we I mean Stephenie, Jess, Jamie and I). They were given Easter bunnies to color in and were able to build and decorate their own little paper Easter baskets for collecting eggs. My next job was to guide guests from the entrance of the Cathedral to story time which was the first activity station. This got a little tricky when the woman who was supposed to be working the station went missing for a few minutes. This meant that I had to be the fill in story teller.

As can be imagined, I felt more than a little uncomfortable reading a story about the resurrection of Jesus. It felt wrong to be telling a story which I don’t believe in. It seemed to me a lot like brainwashing. I realize that every religion, even my own, has its own collection of stories that it teaches to young children, but I still felt uncomfortable reading to the children. So I made the decision to politely decline to read should the situation come up again, and I moved on to the egg hunt.

Later on in the day, I mentioned to the priest that I had felt a bit awkward about being Jewish and volunteering to help with the Easter festivities. We had a really interesting discussion on the benefits of participating in other religion’s traditions. For while I had some difficulty reading the Easter book, it did help me to gain a better understanding of Christian beliefs. I know it sounds corny, but understanding really is the first step towards tolerance.

Date: 12/04/11

Time: 10-2

Hours: 4 Total: 4

Supervisor: Juliet Corbett

Tags: 2010 Sarah

Doing an Inventory? That’s What Tiggers Do Best!!

April 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

Today was my second day volunteering at the Greenhouse Trust in Norwich.  Since all UK businesses must take an inventory of all their stock at the beginning of every business year (which starts April 1 nationwide), I was tasked with calculating the total value of all the products in the Greenhouse’s shop.  This was made significantly easier by the fact that I was given a list of the recommended selling price of every product and the amount on the shelves and in the store.  I just had to do some simple addition and multiplication to get the total values of the stock, which I gave to Tigger, who was obviously very appreciative.  This took up about the first hour of my four hour shift.  The rest was spent in my regular responsibilities of running the till and restocking shelves.  Today was a very slow day customer-wise (about three total customers came in the whole time I was there), so I was able to spend a lot of time perusing the shop’s collection of environmental books.  I picked up several interesting ones, including The People’s Manifesto by Mark Thomas, who went around the UK asking people what they wanted the government to do prior to the 2010 election.  Some of the suggestions were a bit far out, like forbidding people in support of a National ID from owning curtains, but it was still an interesting read.  The other, Seven Years to Save the Planet by Bill McGuire, was more pertinent to my academic interests.  McGuire, a world-famous volcanologist, has determined that the citizens of the world have seven years (as of 2009) to change their resource use habits before permanent damage is done.  He focuses on basic questions concerning global climate change, obviously directing his writing to someone who isn’t an expert, which makes it very accessible.  But enough of the book report.  My next day spent at the Greenhouse will be in two weeks, which hopefully will be a bit more exciting than today.

I completely forgot to take pictures this time, but I will include a picture of the shop and hopefully Tigger in my next post.

Date: 2/4/11

Time: 10-2

Hours: 4 Total: 8

Supervisor: Tigger

Tags: 2010 MatthewM