Upon landing in Arlanda Airport, I couldn't but help feeling like I was in IKEA. Everything had a wooden finish and seemed so very practical.
I arrived at my hotel around 10.30pm and was greeted warmly by the manager. Before hitting the pillow, I asked for a map and hoped to walk to shul/synagogue in the morning - a 30-40min walk. I was debating praying in my room, since to guarantee I got to the shul on time I would have to wake up around 5.15am UK time.
Thank G-d I managed to get up and make the beautiful trek to shul. It was a lovely service and there was even a Bar Mitzva taking place.
Altogether I was one of 18. There were a few Swedish and Israeli men, a Ukrainian and me. I had that familiar feeling that I always get when sharing prayers with other Jews. Being in that Minyan, I felt at home.
So why was I there?
Earlier this year at an Arachim European conference, we showcased Ji Tap and how teachers can input any language to teach Jewish studies and the Hebrew language.
Not long after, the Hillel School from Stockholm reached out to us and wanted us to pay them a visit and train their staff.
This was very exciting for us.
As our mission is to create high quality, universally accessible products for Jewish education, going to Sweden meant that we would be reaching Jewish children, whose native tongue -Swedish, hitherto may have been an impediment to quality Jewish Resources, could now be engaged at a high level.
The teachers were great and clearly passionate about keeping Judaism relevant for their students.
One teacher commented:
“We just had a mind-blowing session …. to show us what possibilities we have to teach Jewish studies in Swedish using the JITap. I'm very excited and now I want to try it with my pupils and find out how much they can teach me! Samuel.”
Ji Tap is an application that connects students and teachers around the world, by giving them the ability to create and share Jewish educational games. So that means that Samuel and his colleagues can utilise games created by teachers in Israel and the UK. It also means that the teachers and students of Guttenberg can benefit from the games created by the Hillel skool in Stockholm.
Ji Tap and that little shul in Stockholm had one thing in common, they brought Jews together with a common goal.