Each session, the madrichimot plan a special day with an underlying educational theme. The special day this session was Monopoly themed with the goal of teaching chanichimot about gentrification in prominent cities and neighborhoods in the US today. In focusing on Chicago, H Street, Fishtown, Minneapolis, Seattle, Harlem, Williamsburg, and New Orleans, the chanichimot learned about the process of gentrification and why it happens, as well as ways to work against gentrification and support local communities.
Special day began as a tochnit erev – evening activity – the night before that was a life-sized game of Monopoly. Madrichimot and Madatz played characters that included Mr. Monopoly and game pieces, and groups of chanichimot completed different challenges to advance their pieces on the board. Chanichimot were suprised the next morning to find the Monopoly characters still at play, as well as to see decorations all around machaneh. Throughout the day, groups of chanichimot went around to different stations that represented the different locations. They learned about the gentrified versions of each place, and were given realistic accounts of local narratives. Later, they went around to those same places to learn about why this gentrification process is so problematic. Then, each shichva had a peula (discussion) about what they gleaned from the day and to process the information. We were then planning on “liquidating” Mr. Monopoly’s assets by throwing him into the pool and having a Mesibah (party), but weather had other plans for us and threw a thunderstorm our way. Despite the alternate ending to the special day, chanichimot had a ton of fun “buying into” the Monopoly theme all while learning valuable information about gentrification.