Sunday, November 29, 2009


Hi there! During the past few weeks I have been spending my last month in Jerusalem, this Sunday I will be uprooted and moving to the city of Bat Yam! (Which is outside of Tel Aviv) A whole new community, culture, and experiences! Right now in Israel it is the beginning of Chanukah season and the jelly doughnuts have been unleashed ahhhhhh!

Moving on here is what I have been upto:

HAIFA! I spent a weekend in Haifa with 5 of my girlfriends. There are a few things we learned about Haifa:
1) a city where Jews, Arab's and Christians coexist side by side peacefully (one of the only in Israel)
2) the city is literally on the slope of Mt. Carmel
3) It gets very rainy (we learned that since the inn that we stayed at is at the bottom of the city, and what happens when pouring rain goes down a hill. THATS RIGHT! IT hits your room!)

We spent the weekend relaxing, seeing the Bahai Gardens, exploring the city, counting Arab butcher shops, and meeting many travelers as well.

Left to right: Elaine, me, Jessica, Michal, Britty, and Katie

Myself at the Bahai's

The Bahai Gardens

The coast of Haifa (you can also the city of Akko/Acre on the top tip)

Downtown Haifa flooded (view from our balcony)

Cute meringue pooches from the local bakery

Katie loooves her poochka!

MOUNT OF OLIVES: Mt. Olive is a Jewish cemetery located in the eastern side of Jerusalem. It was pouring rain and cold that day so we ended our siyyur early and went to get coffee and hot chocolate at Aroma Cafe instead. BUT I snagged a very nice picture of Jerusalem on her unsual side

Last Day of ULPAN:

Mel Reisfield my Ulpan teacher (aka the oldest member of Young Judaea)

ASHKELON! I visited my relatives in Ashkelon 2 weeks ago. It was a weekend of food, family history (genetic traits specifically), and welcoming to new editions to our family (baby Eve!)
One thing I particularly enjoyed that weekend was cooking with my cousins Fanya and Sonia. They taught me how to make a roll filled with pickeled cabbage/sauerkraut.

Fanya and Sonia making piestra

how to make this wonderful dish


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October going into November

Hello All!

Here is what I have been doing over the past few months.

TEL AVIV and YAFO: spent a weekend in TA+Y with my friend Bianca and her family, seeing the sights, shopping in the shuk, and hanging by the beach!

The BEACH at Tel Aviv

Random street art in Yafo, oh and Bianca!

Hippie People at Mitzpe Ramon: the arts track went to Mitzpe Ramon (the crater in Israel) for a 3 day trip. We stayed in a dance center called Adama, which is a modern Israeli dance company. During our stay we went to different dance workshops like belly dancing, saw the sunrise at the crater and bonded with each other! It was the most relaxing three days so far on yearcourse!


My and Robyn's room in Adama

Artsy fartsy people walking to the "town"

The sunrise at the crater

Sunrise number two!

Netanya: This past weekend I spent in Netanya, a city outside Tel Aviv with my friends Monica, Michal and Tamar. We stayed in Michal's grandmothers apt which was wonderfully and beautifully clean and sooo comfortable. We had shabbat dinner at Michal's family friends house and then spent all of Saturday on the beach, could not ask for anything better!

Our view from the window!

Another view from the window...

Our beach picnic (or a bicnic?)

Tamar, myself and I refusing to leave the beach.

We ran into people on Shvil Yisrael!
*a hike that goes from northern tip to southern tip of Israel


Figure drawing, water colors and oil pastels.

First nude drawing wooot!

BOTTOM 2: The assignment was to make a puppet representing your ancestry and then place it somewhere in modern day Israel. What I did was make two puppets (out of bottles) each representing a set of my grandparents. Because in the end I am a product of two different cultures, assimilated American Jews and Jewish Immigrants from Poland.

This is Stefa and Nachman, you can't see it but their skin is made of clips from the Yiddish news paper because that is the language and culture they taught me. They are placed on a random Kibbutz in Israel.

Here we have Sara and Ezra, my American grandparents. They have english news clips as their skin. They are placed in a secular neighborhood in Jerusalem, which I have come to discover does not entirely shut down on shabbat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Here is a brief long blog post of my first month in Israel on Year course.

August 31

After a 9-12 hour flight, I finally made it to Israel. Yearcourse has begun! Everyone on my flight was from Section 2 or 3 so I did not get a chance to meet people in my section until I arrived in Jerusalem. It was so weird stepping into our new living area (that being not the Judaean hostel) and all these new faces.

September 1 - 3

For the first 3 days we had our basic orientation where you have rules and regulations, learning about volunteering, classes, going on our first hiking trip, and icebreakers.

My apartment has 7 girls: Ale (Miami), Michal (Jersey), Evanne (England), Katie (England), Me (New York), Erin (Scottland), Monica (Jersey). Our apartment is so amazing! Our first home made dinner was lead by your’s truly and was lasagna with peppers and onions.

My APT having its first homemade dinner:
(Left to right) Ale, Monica, Erin, Michal, Evanne, Me, Katie

Our meal salad and lasagna, oh so beautiful.

First Shabbat

We found out our class schedule and volunteer placements.

My volunteer placement is at Yad Lakashish. YL is a non-profit organization that provides a workplace and community for the elderly so they do not have to sit home alone. The elderly work from 8 AM – 12 PM and make different arts like silk painting, crocheting, ceramics, jewelry, metal, book bindery, and more.

Here is my basic schedule for the next 3 months in Jerusalem.








9 AM 12 PM

Volunteer @ YL

Volunteer @ YL


Volunteer @ YL

Volunteer @ YL


1:30 – 4 PM

Elective: Jewish Art



Art Class



4:15 – 6 PM

Zionism in the Arts


Zionism in the Arts


6 – 9 PM


Art’s night out!


  • Ulpan – Hebrew Class
  • Siyyur – a field trip (hike, museum, etc.)

The first shabbat on Yearcourse we spent together as a section. Friday night we walked to the Kotel and spent 2 hours there and walked back to our apartments. This was followed by dinner in our Beit Knesset.

September 3 - 4: Arts Track Orientation

After hour our first week of orientation, art track began a separate two-day orientation planned by our art tracks coordinator Anna Abramzon , such a sweet heart!

Sunday – we had brunch at the Merkaz Hamagshimim which is Young Judaea's absorption center for people who moved to Israel. We use their facilities for our art classes. Later we had ice breakers led by Nir Ben Gal, a dancer who owns his own dance studio in Mitzpe Ramon called Adama. Nir created his own dance artsy festival in Mitzpe Ramon which I will be attending too on Monday!

Later that night Anna took us out to Jaffa/Yafo (city near Tel Aviv) for a performance and dinner. We saw a show called Na La’agaat, a theater company of blind and deaf people. The show was incredible the story, the logistics of moving the actors around the stage (because of their disability they cannot tell when they need to switch scenes and what not). After the show we had dinner at a restaurant called Blackout, which was part of the theater. Everyone had to order their food before they sat down at the table because once we stepped inside we lost our sight. That is right it was pitch black, and we had dinner in the dark! It was so cool!! Our waiters were actually blind so it was cool to live their life for a night. We were given forks and knives to eat with but we ended up using our hands because we could not see what we were cutting or forking.

Robyn and myself waiting for Na La'gaat

Funny bathroom sign!

Monday – We began our 2nd day of “orientating artistically” by meeting with our teachers with in our specialty tracks. My arts teacher is Tali from London, who is currently living in Israel as an artist as well. After our teacher – student bonding we went on a field trip to the old city in Jerusalem and got a little history tour of the city’s architecture.

Outside the Jaffa Gate

At the end of our field trip Ofra our tour guide took us to what is now my favorite spot in the old city, she brought us to the rooftops of Jerusalem to watch the sunset. The rooftop we stood at was in the center of the old city and where all four quarters met, it was amazing! (below are pictures)

Rest of September...

So because I am so late with this blog I am going to do a brief recap of where I have been during this month:

Rosh Hashana - Petach Tikva with Rosa, Tomer and Eli.

Yom Kippur - Shoham with Sima, Yaki, Ricki, Agamit, Chofit, Yaara and the kids.

*From Rosh Hashana till yesterday I have been sick and my adventures were put at a halt for a while, but now I am better and traveling to Arad this weekend!

Now I will continue my life-story telling via pictures


Arts fair on Emek Refayim before Sukkot

Look a Sukkah made out of plastic bags, GENIUS!

You see WALMART it is everywhere.

My hike on Arbel (basically hiking off a cliff in the Galilee-Northern Israel)

Katie, Monique, me, and Bianca at the top of the cliff.

People hiking down a cliff.


Leah in the Herodian castle, doing what Herodian's do.

"Arts Night Out!" Henna Workshop

Last night the Art's track met with a man named Noam, a henna artist/anthropologist. This guy is probably the coolest guy I have met so far, he is studying in Israel for two years to complete his thesis on Henna culture in Judaism. Not only did everyone get henna-d, but he gave this whole seminar about henna and its history, especially in Jewish culture. Basically henna is popular in Persian and Arabian Jewish communities, Yemenite, Indian, and Moroccan Jewish henna culture is what survived today. To show examples of Jewish henna patterns he demonstrated on us. What I thought was really interesting is that he uses Jewish henna patterns from embroidered textiles, jewelry, paintings, and all types of Jewish paraphernalia.

Noam working on his henna art, below is more of his Jewish henna art examples.

This is what Noam henna-d on my hand,
this particular design was inspired by indian henna.