Life in Jerusalem - 08/03/2017
Just as it was challenging to adjust to Israeli culture two months ago, I know it won’t be easy to readjust to life in New Jersey. I’ve grown accustomed to the convenience of city life, to the peace and quiet of Jerusalem Shabbatot, to sunny days and so much more! While all transitions are challenging, the past two weeks of Onward programming have helped prepare us for our return home. Last Tuesday, at Kibbutz Maleh HaChamisha, we met with the Tel Aviv and Haifa groups for Back to Campus Day. We heard from professors, journalists and activists who presented various Israel narratives as we worked on forming our own. On Thursday, we continued conversations about our connection not only to Israel, but to each other. In addition to eating delicious food (including ice cream!) with friends from high school, camp and college—all of whom are Onward participants—we spent the day engaging with various issues in Israeli society. I attended Samah Heib Jaliuli’s talk about empowering Arab women as professionals in Israel. Not only was it impressive to hear about her personal journey and her work with The Rian Center –an organization that helps Arab women with professionalism, but it was even more remarkable because she gave the talk in English—her third language!
With Back to Campus Day, Connections Day, a tour of the Knesset and Tisha B’av, these last few weeks have definitely been the busiest yet. On Erev Tisha B’av, the Yerushalmit Movement, the organization with which I am interning, successfully executed the memorial event for Shira Banki that we have been busy planning for the past two months. We began the evening with a public reading of Megillat Eicha, followed by various speakers and dialogue circles. I am still amazed and overjoyed by the amount of people that were in attendance and I am thankful to have had several familiar faces from my Onward cohort supporting me in the crowd. I am thankful for the time I’ve had here and the connections I’ve made not only to Israel, but to my coworkers and to the other Onward participants. Until next time!
Rebecca Hersch, Brandeis University ’19, is interning this summer with the Yerushalmit Movement building Jerusalem civil society as a Boston Onward Israel 2017 participant.