Feb 2nd-Feb 12- Here in Israel I’ve learned that…

12 Feb

An inspiring friend of mine is currently Studying abroad in Ghana, where she posts on a blog daily called “The Beauty of Humanity is…” In every post she talks about the “beauties of humanity” that she experiences abroad (food, people, experiences, etc). I’m going  to steal her template idea, but tweak it a little. I think from now on my posts are going to be framed with “Here in Israel I’ve learned that…”


Here in Israel I’ve learned that…

… one can bargain a ring at the Jaffa flea market down from 125 to 35 shekels with enough determination

…signing up for unlimited dance/yoga classes at a tiny studio in Florentine is a GREAT way to stay physically aware. I took vinyasa, modern, and African this week already.

…having a tiny class will be both educationally rewarding and absurdly hilarious. I Went on a field trip with my archaeology class, aka ONE other person in the program to the Tel Aviv University Archaeology center. Professor picked us up IN HIS CAR and we drove together, just Anna, me and Yuval. Whoops, I mean Professor Gadot. I loved waiting outside of the hostel for him to get us, thus enabling me to be Waiting For Gadot. Anna kicked him in the foot by accident three times. I laughed so hard I cried.

…I might not be ready for the craziness of Israeli cultured coupled with the craziness of theatre culture. I Went to my first day at my “theatre internship.” When I arrived at the theatre, no one knew WHO I was, WHY I was there, WHAT I could do, and no one spoke English. I sat next to this animated lady screaming and laughing on her phone in Arabic for 40 minutes and really thought I was the star of Lost in Translation 2. So no thanks, Arab Hebrew Theatre, maybe next year. Also, Thanks NYU Tel Aviv, you really have your shit together regarding your “competitive internship opportunities.”

…it takes a week do do your laundry in the NYU-provided washers and dryers because apparently in Israel people only wash 2 socks at a time.

…jogging DOES actual feel good after a few day. Wow. I NEVER thought I’d say that.

…it’s hard to live and work with people that have a false sense of entitlement and find fault in EVERYTHING. I guess writing about means I’m calling the kettle black, but really, I’m not used to this “I’m never satisfied with anything in the world, the universe owes me something, this program sucks” attitude that I feel like so many people around me are exuding.

…people who are blatantly unfriendly and/or exclusive in a group setting such as the one that I am currently in are probably battling personal insecurities, and probably don’t want to be feeling, thus acting, that way.

…Israelis love “dual cafes.” Here in Tel Aviv they have: Watch-DVDs-and-drink-coffee cafes, eat-waffles-and-drink-wine cafes, buy-clothes-and-eat-gelato cafes, sit-in-swings-and-eat-froyo cafes, among others. I plan on trying them all.

…Jewish values are really important to me. The entire club experience (see attached birthday post) was JUST what I needed to realize what relationships and intimacy mean to me at this point in my growth. Dancing with people that neither knew anything, nor cared about me made me realize that I will never settle for cheap, instant gratifacation-y, falsely romantic connections ever again. Also not keeping Shabbos for the first time in over a month felt weird. I didn’t like it, and I now realized that I value Shabbat more than I value facebook or tumblr for 24 hours a week at this point in my life. Growing up at 20 is scary.

…sodium-loaded Israeli cup-o-noodles at 4am increases the uncomfortable of a hangover exponentially

…if you straighten your hair, it will rain like klavim v’hatulim

…the past tense of the verb “to sing” in Hebrew is “shart”

…I can eat cheese bourekas all day everyday. I had 3 at breakfast alone.

-I’m sure there’s more, but for now.

A Haiku
Twentieth Birthday
Clubbing’s really not my thing
Israeli guidos
I turned twunny yesterday. Let me tell you, It is HARD to not be with you family on you birthday. Despite the fact that my birthday was full of funtivities, I was constantly bothered by  this sad little twinge of “I really wish my parents and sister were here.” The fun parts were great, though. Thursday night we went clubbing. I don’t go clubbing. The hours I spent at club Gold-man (of course an Israeli club would be called Goldman) were some of the most absurd of my life. The men, no wait, boys-who were there spoke very little English. And by “very little” I mean, “Do you have a boyfriend?” “You are beautiful” “You want drink?” and “You want sex?” One guy literally just said “dick” to my friend Anna, as though she would understand AND comply with what he was referring to/requesting. I don’t usually listen to mashups of “get ur freak on” and “I Will Survive,” so that was some interesting tunage.
P.S. Klegovitch vodka and grape drank do not mix very well.
The night was just TOO bizarre.
The rest of my birthday was great. Some friends came with me to African Dance and LOVED IT, and then I got fried sushi and a large froyo. I finished my night with an hour-long skype session with my Mom and Hannah.


January 26-Feb 2: Yeah everything is a little too much for you.

3 Feb

So I apologize for the fact that my posts here are less consistent than Dolores Delli Santi’s casting procedures. I write in this blog because I HATE keeping a journal of any variety, but I know if I don’t record my life’s goings on here in Tel Aviv at least occasionally, I’ll grow up and regret not having any written memories from this trip. I know so many people that write songs, poetry, journal entries, pretentiously obscure plays, etc about their feelings and whatnot. I have NEVER really been able to do that, excepting  this electronic medium that I guess provides me with that security of having an audience. BUT NONE OF THAT IS ABOUT ISRAEL, LINDSAY! Ok, here’s how my week has been

-We spent Shabbat in Jerusalem this past weekend. We stayed at the Agron Hostel, aka Beit Nativ, aka where I stayed on pilgrimage in 2008, aka where Lauren Binder has been living since September. Needless to say just being there was nostalgia city. I got a top bunk; it felt like home.

-I was shomer shabbat on my own all weekend. Luckily, we were in walking distance from everything, so I was able to both guard and remember the sabbath for all 26 hours of it’s existence. We did kabalat shabbat at an orthodox, yet highly progressive synagogue called Shira Hadasha (a new song), where women were allowed to lead certain parts of the service. Since I’ve been listening to their kabshab services on my ipod since br08, attending services there was like seeing one of my favorite artists in concert. Where I was encouraged to since along.

-We toured the Old City on Saturday, and, unlike the previous 3 trips I’ve been on, we toured mostly in the Arab and Christian quarters. It was really wonderful to be able to experience what it’s like in the other, previously forbidden to explore, quarters. I saw the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the place where many believe Jesus was buried. It was really moving to not be as moved as I am when I visit the Kotel, but to watch everyone of the Christian faith brought to tears at the holiness of the sight. It was beautiful, and I just kept wishing I could bring my grandmother to see it.

-In what I believe to be a sheer act of rebellion on NYU’s behalf, for Shabbos lunch, we ate in a non-kosher Palestinian restaurant, something I never would have chosen to do on my own volition. The pizza was pretty good though.

-We went out to the usual bars on crack square Saturday night, and it was adorable to see the looks of wonder in my unfamiliar-with-Jerusalem-Bars- NYUer’s eyes when they learned that with their beers came free hookah, free popcorn, and a free shot of their choosing.

-We toured the supreme court on Sunday, and then returned by Sunday around 4. This gave us plenty of time to do what we do best-spend hours on facebook and stay up way too late bullshitting online before our first day of classes.

-Classes in Tel Aviv (with the exception of languages) only meet once a week, for 3 hours at a time. They really are a test of our attention-span endurance. For some reason for me, Middler Eastern accents equal an utter inability to pay attention for more than 5 minutes at a time, so hopefully I’ll get used to all of the ehms and kilus.

-I went exploring with my friend Dana the other day. We went to the Carmel Shuk (market), and walked all the way to Rosthchild from Sheinkin. While at the shuk, I asked this table/store-owner how much a specific shirt was. Being completely aware that his prices were jacked up for American tourists, I kindly said, “The shirt is beautiful, but I think 35 is a little too much for me.” His response? “YEAH. EVERYTHING IS A LITTLE TOO MUCH FOR YOU” I walked away nearly sniffling, and buying white rose earrings from another store was the only thing that could make me feel better. I need to sack up, these Israelis are ROUGH.

-This semester I have the amazing opportunity to volunteer/intern at The Arab-Hebrew Theatre in Yaffo. The building is ancient, and the stage is long and narrow. At the “Teatron Aravi v’Yehudi B’Yafo” they do plays in either Hebrew and Arabic (depending on the day), and children’s shows in both languages. I don’t know what I’m going to do there considering my Hebrew is about as extensive and accurate as Fox News, but it’s a theatre, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

-Tel Avivians don’t pick up their dog poop from the sidewalks.

-The hostel provides us with breakfast. You have no idea how wonderful it is to wake up knowing eggs, bourekas, pudding, coffee etc, cereal, orange drink, and a full salad bar is downstairs waiting for you.




The Supreme Court-Jerusalem

View from my window

Antique stores in Yaffo

Jan 16-Jan 26: Gumpy*

26 Jan

These past TEN days have been inTENse. That’s like the 4th intense pun I’ve used on this thing. Anywho, I ended my stint at Neve, and moved into the beautiful B’nei Dan Tel Aviv. Here’s a list of some of my experiences:

-I took a trip to the Malha Mall in Jerusalem. The bus ride lasted over an hour, but it was SO worth it. After constant seminary, I needed some ignorant America to bring me back into reality. Along with the usual mall suspects (H&M, Israeli Panda Express, etc) In it they had a “Pinat Chai” (petting zoo) about the size of 4 mall kiosks, enclosed by plexiglass in which parakeets, over-sized hares, and hamsters ran freely. Oh, and children were in there, too.

-I spent shabbos in Har Nof with two wonderful families, slept for an entire afternoon, and made a dent in my rereading of The Deathly Hallows.

-I woke up the morning I was supposed to move to Tel Aviv with my face so swollen that I couldn’t close my mouth. That was fun and exciting. Nothing says “new friends” like a blimpface. The swelling eventually went down, thank God. I don’t know what caused it, but Adrienne thinks it was a sulfite overdose. Once again, insurance did not cover that trip to the doctor.

-Our first day in Tel Aviv, they took us to the Azrieli towers. Correction: to the helicopter landing pad on the Azrieli towers.

-My RA is Israeli Mark Cohen from Rent. His name is Guy-he’s the best.

-Jess just skyped me in from collegium. I miss everyone so much.

-In most convenient stores, alcohol takes up more room than food.

I’ll update this more regularly. I will, I will.

*My new friend Anna introduced me to this adjective “gumpy.” It doesn’t really have a definition, but she called me gumpy when I accidentally threw pepper across the table at breakfast and accidentally fell on a stranger on the bus. Hilarity ensued.

Jan 12-16: The story about Abraham and Sara is in-tents.

16 Jan

This past week has been SO intense. Our Jewish learning has come to a high point, (a cliff if you will) and some of the kids are acting like the lemmings. Jumping off and scrambling away. I understand where they’re coming from, this learning is a lot to handle. We’ve had classes on the validity of a God given Torah, our responsibility as Jews to have at least 8 kids, why it makes sense to not touch the opposite sex before marriage, why it’s important to say a blessing before and after everything we do, and a plethora of other exhausting topics that are causing our secular corrupt brains to explode. Luckily prior to this trip I had been exposed to this kind of learning over the summer, so I’ve been able to take some things with a grain of salt. All in all, the PERI girls need a break. Good thing I’ll be here until next Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to be here learning, but it’s a lot. And I value way too many things in the secular world right now to isolate myself to live a complete Torah lifestyle. Luckily, Yocheved (our fearless trip leader) keeps reminding us that Jews don’t amputate-we integrate. I wont cut things out of my life, but I will integrate more Judaism into it slowly.

ANYWHO we went to the Dead Sea on Thursday and covered ourselves in mud! It was not warm and it did not feel good. But my skin is soft as a baby’s derrier so that’s good. We kicked off our day at Ein Gedi-it was absolutely beautiful. We waded in the natural mineral springs (maayanot) and saw Ibex and rabbit-esque possum things with a specie name that sounded something like horcrux.

We spent Shabbat in the Old City this weekend, which was ABSOLUTELY unreal. We had Friday night services at the Kotel, and danced and sang and shouted with tons of Israeli soldiers. Alissa, my beautiful future Rabbi friend and I led Kabbalat Shabbat. Life changing.
We ate at host families around the Jewish Quarter, and I was placed in the Deutch household. Rabbi Eliayahu Yakov Deutch and his family host huge shabbos meals every week, and I think Alissa Ayelet and I drank 4 bottles of wine between the 3 of us. We even said an extra prayer for better wine “Blessed are you…for being good-and making good!” Aka “thanks for this crappy wine, and thanks for making this other wine that doesn’t taste like juicy juice!” Jewz kn0 wuts g00d.

I went to Mike’s Place-the MOST America bar in Jerusalem, and watched the Ravens/Steelers game. Since I was with the Maryland boys, I was quite disappointed when they lost. Good thing we remedied the feeling of loss with a trip to the kotel at 4am. We were the ONLY people in the old city. After praying at the Wall and having yet another philosophical debate with a Yeshiva boy, we hailed a cab and made it home. We reached the point of no return when the cab driver dropped us off in Har Nof and said “Boker Tov” (good morning). It was 0% morning in my mind.

Check out what an amazing photographer Ayelet it. Also, check out the holiest place in the world.

Weeks 1 (and a half): You’ve got to be kid(ney)ding me!

12 Jan

Quick facts:
1. I will be studying at a seminary in Jerusalem until January 23rd. Posts until then will most likely be about the seminary and Jerusalem.
2. On January 23rd, I will be moving into NYU in Tel Aviv.
I’ve been in Israel for 13 and a half dayz. It seems like it’s been an eternity. “But how could it be an eternity, Lindsay! It should be flying by! These are the best days of your life!”
However, it’s been a rocky first week-point-five.
I arrived in Israel, and no longer than 2 days into my trip, I started feeling UTI-y. Now, for most ladies this means a few days of discomfort and some potentially embarrassing conversations with doctors. For me, however, it means one thing; Stones tour of ’11.
On Sunday January 2nd, I turned a quiet bus ride up to Sfat into a scene from The Exorcist, starring me. After another 2 bus rides and a cab back to Jerusalem, I found myself in the Terem emergency room. Now, if you know anything about Israeli’s and their ability to be a) patient b) organized c) able to speak English, you can imagine what this was like. Pair this with the colossal pain of passing a kidney stone, and you’ve got one terrified Jewish girl from Amurrica. Thank God my madrichot (staff) were able substitute-mothers for the day, and got me through the pain. Over the course of the experience, I was at Terem twice, the Doctor’s office in Har Nof, and a Urologist in the Wolfson Towers (the same Wolfson that funds Meor).
Needless to say, the health issues put a damper on my first week in Israel. It’s scary being alone in a country for the first time whilst your body is its own quarry.
The program I’m on is called PERI, or Peer Education Research Internship. It’s part of Meor, a campus outreach program that trains college students to be, you guessed it, peer educators back at school. Every day we take classes in Jewish philosophy, law, text, etc. The teachers are absolute geniuses and I’m learning a ton.* I love Judaism, and I believe that there are ways in which the religion can enrich both my life and others, thus I’m here to learn about it.

It’s interesting-I keep telling myself that I can’t see myself doing an entire seminary year in the future because I miss New York too much. Other than missing my friends and family, I miss my apartment and Korean food and Pless and the subway and a lot of other material things. The mattreses are as thick as a ream of paper, the hot water is only on for 3 hours in the morning and evening, the food is 72% edible, and I can’t figure out which bus to take to town (I don’t like spending 2 hours on public transportation). Unlike Catholicism, Judaism does not frown upon materialism if it’s channeled in such a way that is spiritually beneficial to a person. For example, it’s a mitzvah to eat an elaborate meal on Shabbat, because the enjoyment someone will get out of eating a vast array of food will power him of her the whole week, thus providing not only the material but spiritual energy a person needs to be a productive member of society. Of course, in life, when there is more material, there is less spiritual, and vice versa. Being at Neve, I’m forced to focus on the spiritual because though I am still provided with more than basic material needs, I am far away from the material comforts of living in New York. Thus, I’m in spiritual boot camp.

I’ve been eating nothing but carbohydrates all day every day, since I basically fasted during my kidney stone experience, and obviously 3 days of fasting equals 2 weeks of pizza. Also, they have this froyo machine here that mixes fresh ingredients with a block of plain yogurt, to produce a cream soft-serve of flavor. I get cranberry, white chocolate, one cookie, and halva. Delicious.

I still haven’t figured out (or tried to) the bus system here in JRu, so I’ve been taking cabs everywhere. The other night I took one by myself to go visit the Beit Nativ kids, and the cab driver (I couldn’t tell if he was arab or Israeli) took the back roads. I didn’t know back roads EXISTED in Israel. We went by a quarry, past some deserted cars, and through the woods. I was 100% convinced that I was going to die. Definitely the end of my life. However, 10 minutes later, I found out that Adi, the man driving my cab, had 3 kids, one of whom was my age. He told me to friend his son on facebook, so that he can have a nice American girl with whom he can “practice his English,” and that he can understand how worried my mother must be letting me study in a foreign country. He even offered to let me borrow his cell phone to call home. Lesson learned: don’t just a cab driver by its color.

Anyways, this has dragged on longer than Yom Kippur day, so until  next time.

*No I’m not a new found bible-thumping radical  nor will my peer education material include convincing people of God’s existence.

11 Jan


Without these traditions, our lives would be as shaky as

24 Nov


Hershey Park. But none of the rides are open because it’s cold out. Who cares. We can just go on the indoor laze tag ride 14 times.

They started Black Friday yesterday.