Eric Poris is a second-year corps member and a math teacher at American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota. He has also taught in the Swiss Alps, Brazil and Peru. He participated in the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience for Teach For America corps members program.
Friday night, and Shabbat as a whole, are quickly becoming much more valuable to me. It is a combination of having scheduled time to look inward and reflect, taking a break from the demanding week here at American Horse School, and spending quality time with those “close” to me (in proximity, too).
Living and working here in the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation, I have had the honor to dance at a local Pow-Wow, participate in a sweat ceremony and be a part of the drum group who played at my students’ 8th grade graduation last year. I am very grateful for these experiences.
Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to explore Israel, Judaism and what it means to be “Jewish” alongside 57 Teach For America corps members, with the help of the Schusterman and Samberg family foundations. I had, and still have, a lot to learn about practicing Judaism, what rituals, prayers and holidays symbolize, and how to host a Shabbat dinner. I decided to take my learning experiences as a Jew from this summer and dive right in by bringing this knowledge to the reservation as sort of a cultural exchange, to offer what I can from my culture as they have from theirs. So here it goes … Read More »