Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easing into Israeli Life

This is my new blog detailing my trip to Israel!

I will be taking a Cross-Cultural Group Dynamics course through NYU as well as collaborating with researchers at the University of Haifa.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon, Monday was jetlag day, but I once I got here I did fine. Been taking it slow getting used to the new country.

I'm currently in Tel Aviv and this will by my home base for the next five to six weeks. I love Tel Aviv. I can walk everywhere and it strongly reminds me of Los Angeles. Same trees, similar buildings, the beach is walking distance, cats wandering around everywhere (they call them the local squirrels - most of them are stays).

Fun anecdote - I was sitting in a cafe for lunch one day and this carrot colored cat climbs onto the bench next to me and demands attention. So I pet him briefly, hoping he'll leave me be after. Instead he climbs onto my lap and sits there. Not moving. Whether I pet him or not. When my food arrived I had to push him off my lap.

There are dogs everywhere. People take them into grocery stores and restaurants. It makes me wish I had my sweet Birdie dog as company.

Yesterday in class two individuals from an organization of Messianic Jews, Dugit, came to speak with us. It was fascinating to learn about their culture, their unique place in Israeli society, and their history. I never knew, for example, that Messianic Jews are practicing Jews - similar to Orthodox Jews - with the single difference that they believe Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the TaNaKh (the Old Testament for Christians). They practice the Sabbath, all the Jewish festivals, even eat kosher and where kippas. I had heard that they faced persecution, but never knew that they would have people through rocks at their cars, hang flyers slandering their individual names, and get them fired from their jobs. I hope to go to one of their services while I am here.

Well, must be going! I hope that you'll keep checking my blog! I'll attempt to update it a few times per week.

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