Yom Kippur and an Elevator

I thought all I would have to write about this week would be my experience on Yom Kippur.  Oh, how wrong I was.  Let's talk about what happened on Sunday, shall we?

So Sunday evening, the seven students who study Arabic were invited to go to a dinner with Arab students at the Shenkar College near us.  We arrived at the college with no difficulties, but then we went to get into the elevator and things went downhill (quite literally).  Because none of us read Hebrew, none of us managed to read the sign in the elevator that said you could only fit four people in it at one time.  (You can see where this is going, right?)  So, the seventh person steps into the elevator, the professor who came with us moves to get in, and...

The elevator dropped -- shockingly slowly, actually -- until there was only about a foot of the floor that we could see.  I will never forget the look on my professor's face -- the "oh no, I've killed half the program" look.  Once he got over that,…

Rosh Hashanah and a Cooking Lesson

This week was significantly lower-key than last week in Jerusalem.  It was Rosh Hashanah from Wednesday night through Friday night, so classes were cancelled and everything was closed.  It was nice to have some time to just chill and laze around, since I feel like I've been going at 100 miles an hour since I got here.  Everyone was out in the park with their families, celebrating the new year in style.  I took myself to the beach for a little bit and watched a lot of Netflix.  A+ way to spend a weekend.

Last night, all the students in the Arabic classes had the amazing opportunity to go to an Arab woman's house in Jaffa and cook a dinner with her.  Fair warning, this next part will make you insanely jealous -- don't say I didn't warn you.  The food we made was absolutely fantastic.  I don't know if I've tasted food better than this, and I mean that wholeheartedly.  We made a variety of dishes -- some of which you can see in the picture below -- each one full of…


I've been sat in front of my computer for give or take a day now, trying to figure out how to talk about my experience in Jerusalem this past weekend.  I spent four days exploring it -- half on my own, half with NYU -- and I still can't quite find the words to describe it.  It's such a city of contradictions and was both super enjoyable and super thought provoking at the same time.

I arrived in Jerusalem on Friday, and stayed with my mom's friend Susan Friday and Saturday night (shoutout to Susan, she was amazing and wonderful and I can't thank her enough for letting me stay with her) at St. George's College in Jerusalem, about a five-ten minute walk from Herod's Gate.  I got there around lunchtime on Friday, so I dropped my stuff off at the college and went out to grab some lunch and then wander a little.  I had some delicious schnitzel with fries and olives at a restaurant next to where I was staying and then walked over to Damascus Gate.

Pretty impressiv…

Masada and the Dead Sea

Last Friday, NYU took us all to Masada and the Dead Sea for the day.  Up bright and early at 7 AM, we headed out and arrived around 10 after winding through the barren Negev.  A very brief background: Masada was build by King Herod as his winter palace, and also is the place of the end of the first Jewish-Roman war, where the Romans took Masada from 960 Jews.  Stepping out of the bus, I was struck by the size of Masada -- a giant fortress built into the side of a cliff.  The Romans must have been insane to hike up to break the siege.

We hiked up to Masada, in 95 degree heat.  By the end of the tour I had consumed five bottles of water,  Being on top of it was amazing -- I could see for miles.  If I looked out over the Dead Sea, I could see Jordan on the other side.  Standing on something so old, filled with so much history, makes you stop and think about your role in the world.  I managed to pick out some of my favorite pictures that I took, where I did my best to capture the majesty …

The Start of Classes and Eurobasket 2017

This past week has been intense.  Classes started last Monday, so I'm finally settling in to the routine of doing work again, but professors are also settling into the routine of giving work again, and I must say, with most classes only meeting once a week, the reading can really stack up if I don't space it out.  For example: tomorrow, I have the second class of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Due tomorrow is 200 pages of reading various articles and a critical paper.  Don't get me wrong, it's all extremely interesting -- I just need to make sure I start my reading on the day it gets assigned next time.

All of the classes seem like they're going to be super interesting, so I'm not worried too much about the workload.  For those of you wondering, I'm taking Intermediate Arabic I, the History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Diplomacy and Negotiation: Conflict Resolution in the Middle East, and Experiential Learning I (part of my major,…

Orientation Week and Settling In

Well, it's official.  I've been in Tel Aviv for a week and I'm in love with it.  The sun, the sand, the sea, the hummus... this place is beautiful.  I don't think words can do it justice, so I'll try this instead:

No, this isn't a picture off of Google images.  I took this photo.  Me.  With my phone.  Not even with my good camera (we were doing a three hour walking tour in the heat and I figured I would go back later when I could take breaks to take photos).  It looks like this every.  Single.  Day.

Seriously.  I'm in love.

NYU kept us pretty busy the first week, partially to get us oriented and partially to make sure we got over jet lag (it worked), but we still managed to find time to head to the beach to chill.  I think everyone has gotten sunburned by now -- yes, even me, but only because it's really hard to put sunscreen on your back by yourself!  Not that I'm complaining -- the beach is absolutely beautiful, and the water is the warmest I'…