• Jerusalem Beginnings - 06/28/2017

    This post first appeared on Israel Campus Roundtable.

    I’ve already learned so much on the Onward program including where to find the cheapest delicious falafel, how to travel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and not to eat Marzipan rugelach while typing a blog post because chocolate will get on your computer keys. On the bus ride back from a celebratory welcome dinner at the Israel Museum, we decided to explore our new home and journey through the crowded shuk (market). This is when I truly realized where I was and I knew I made the right decision about my summer. It just felt right.

    After a peaceful Shabbat in Jerusalem, we returned to the shuk for dinner to relieve some of the anxiety about our upcoming internships. While it was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling anxious, I was still nervous to start at the Yerushalmit Movement, a nonprofit working to foster a pluralistic society in Jerusalem. The next day, I woke up much earlier than necessary, used my ravkav (bus pass) for the first time, found my internship on time even after taking a few wrong turns, met my boss and the rest of the staff and finally started work. I’ve learned so much about the Israeli work environment and nonprofits and am eager to see what more I will learn throughout my time here.

    ​To break up the workweek, half of the Onward participants spent Tuesday visiting Yad L’Kashish, a nonprofit that works to empower the elderly by providing them with meaningful work, and the other half packaged food for those in need. Afterward, we spent our free afternoon traveling to Tel Aviv with a group of new friends and enjoyed a day on the beach getting to better know one another. We also traveled to Tzfat for our breakout seminar – our time was filled with delicious food, spirited singing and discussions of spirituality. I can confidently say I have at least twenty more friends than a week ago!

    Rebecca Hersch, Brandeis University ’19, is interning this summer with the Yerushalmit Movement building Jerusalem civil society as a Boston Onward Israel 2017 participant.