The Jewish community is filled with opportunities to do meaningful, direct service work all over the world. But Naomi Orensten and Hed Ehrlich – a couple living in Israel – wanted something different. Orensten (a program associate at the Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel office) and Ehrlich (a lawyer) were getting married, and decided to organize an independent service trip for their honeymoon.
Hundreds of emails, several long-distance conference calls and two round trip tickets to Cambodia later, they landed at the doorstep of the Harpswell Foundation – a non-profit organization that works to provide education, housing, and leadership training to young women in the developing world. The couple’s task was to collect information about the employment opportunities available to Cambodian women once they graduated from school, and explore how the foundation’s supplemental education program could work with the available opportunities.
With the successful experience now behind them, Orensten and Ehrlich took the time to speak with me about planning an independent service trip, the situation in Cambodia today, and meeting a bona fide princess.