Olivia just moved to Israel from New York. Throughout her first day of school in the 6th grade she tries to survive, navigating through the new country she just landed in, her new school and new peers, unsure where she will end up at the end of the day.
14 mins 14 secs
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Ruchama Ehrenhalt is a graduate of Ma’aleh School of Film and Television in Jerusalem. She also has a BA from Herzog College of Education, majoring in Literature and Communications. She served in the IDF as a Foreign Liaison to the Jordanian Military. Originally from Long Island, Ruchama moved to Israel when she was 4 years old and grew up in Bet Shemesh, Israel.
She is currently a resident of Jerusalem, where she volunteers at the Jerusalem African Community Center in their human rights department working with asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan. She recently left her job as the head of Educational Sales at Go2Films, a film distribution and marketing company. Ruchama is currently working at The Feuerstein Institute as the resource development coordinator and getting her masters in Human Rights Practice from the University of Arizona.
When I first started elementary school in Israel as a new immigrant from New York, I entered a world that was foreign to me. I observed the unwritten rules and the status quo and followed them. Not long after the school year started I found “my people”, the rest of the Americans. I became a leading member of the group and that was the world I stayed in. I did not try and change the norms that where there before I arrived. I fell in love with an Ethiopian boy with a shy smile, but I never dared to go near him. I ignored the feelings that I had developed towards him. Although I was a leader within my own group, I did not challenge the status quo and the unwritten rules. Living in the same town, studying in the same class, we were from different worlds. I let those social norms lead the way I lived my life. I am not sure what I missed out on, but I know I missed out. I regret the steps I never took. I regret conforming to the social norms and racism and letting it take over and determine how I would act and who I would be friends with.
In this film I am trying to do what I didn’t have the courage to do back then, to stand up against the status quo and fight for what I know is right. To try and go back a time before I let people force me into believing that if we have a different skin color, we do not belong together.
The boy I fell in love with I only knew from afar, I never allowed myself to get close enough to really get to know him. Childhood is a time for change, as little leaders we have the power to make a change before reality wears you down and the despair of being a grown up makes you believe you don’t have the power to make a difference. Before we become so stuck in our ways and give in to the way things are.
In this film I am trying to go back, and start all over.