• How’d you hear about Onward Israel?

    I heard about it from a sorority sister at my school, we were talking about doing things for the summer and looking for an internship and she told me that she had a really great experience dong Onward the summer before.

    Where do you go to school?

    I going to be a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m a media and professional communication major, targeting toward digital media. So this has been a great match up and internship.

    How have you found Onward to be different than your Birthright experience? 

    Onward is ALOT different in a good way. Birthright you were constantly moving and didn’t have a lot of time to adjust to the area, it was just on to the next place. With Onward you’re settled in one spot so we can explore on our own time but get to feel more like an actual citizen versus more of a tourist. I’ve been able to find restaurants I like to eat at and activities, I joined a gym. I’ve been able to adjust and it makes me like Israel even more.

    What kind of activities?

    We’ll go to the beach a lot and enjoy time there. I love trying new restaurants so once or twice a week we’re looking up stuff, finding a new place to go. Even just exploring new parts of town. Last week we went to Sarona Market for the first time which was so cool. Just being able to go anywhere on my own time and experience what I want to experience is great.

    Where are you working and what has it been like? 

    I’m working for a company called Legally, they review contracts for people who can’t afford a high paid lawyer or legal service. I’ve been managing all their social media and helping them with marketing. They’re trying to expand to a New York office and because I’m from New York I’ve been able to help them understand the difference between an American market vs. Israeli market. I’ve been designing and creating content for blog posts, all the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts and it’s been a great way to learn different ways of marketing and practicing things I will actually need to know.

    There are three Israeli employees. When they talk to each other it’s mostly in Hebrew but when they communicate with us it’s always English and their English is great so I’m always aware of what I need to be doing.

    It’s always cool when people from different programs end up in the same internship, do you have that here?

    There is one other intern who is also an Onward participant. I started two weeks before him so last week was his first week. I’ve seen him out and about a few times and we talk and hang out. He’s really nice and I definitely enjoy having another intern here.

    What is the biggest takeaway from your internship experience?

    I think going forward looking for more internships I know what I can bring and what my skillsets are. I’ve never had an internship before so it was an adjustment period because I didn’t really know what to expect but now I have more confidence and can use this experience with future jobs and add to my resume.

    What’s been your favorite part of interning in Israel?

    Being on my own in a foreign country I’ve gained so much independence. I don’t even take the busses in Pittsburgh but now I take them in a foreign country where I don’t know what anyone is saying. I was just really proud of myself. This growing experience has really helped me and changed me.

    WHERE TO EAT:

    Brunch/Lunch

    • Tmol Shilshom Yoel Moshe Salomon 5
    • Café Kadosh Slomtzion Street 6
    • Nocturno Bezalel 7
    • Café Nadi Shmuel HaNagid 5
    • Café de Paris Sderot Ben Maimon 1
    • Azura HaEshkol 4 (A must-go-to for lunch!)

    Friday Brunch Buffet:

    • Café Rimon Lunz 4
    • Piccolino Yoel Moshe Salomon 12

    Vegan:

    • Village Green Yoel Moshe Salomon Street 5 (Try the vegan shakshuka!)
    • Gela In the closed market in Machane Yehuda (Vegan ice cream!)

    Dinner:

    • Machneyuda Beit Ya’akov Street 10
    • Crave HaShikma Street 1
    • Adom David Remez 4 (Inside the First Station)
    • Argento Machane Yehuda Market 6
    • Jachnun Bar Hillel 28, HaEgoz 30
    • Ishtabach HaShikma 1
    • Pasta Basta Ha-Tut 8
    • Iwo’s Meatburger Hillel 28
    • Bardak Pizza Keren HaYesod 38, Beit Ya’akov 4

    Falafel/Schwarma:

    • Pinati King George 13
    • Moshiko Ben Yehuda 5 (only takes cash)
    • Maoz Falafel King George 19

    Hummus:

    • Hummus Ben Sira Ben Sira 3
    • Hummus Abu Shukri El Wad ha-Gai Street 63 (Muslim Quarter)

    Dessert:

    • Mousseline Ice Cream 6 Haeshkol

     

    WHERE TO DRINK:
    • Zabotinsky Shimon Ben Shatakh 1 (Order a cocktail named after Israeli leaders!)
    • Freddy Lemon’s Etz Hayyim 19 (Machane Yehuda at night!)
    • Gatsby Cocktail Room Hillel 18 (Hidden next to Aroma, make sure to make a reservation!)
    • HaTaklit Heleni ha-Malka 7 (1+1 happy hour)
    • Piccadilly Heleni ha-Malka 9

     

    WHERE TO SIGHTSEE:
    • Old City
      • Jewish Sites: Western Wall, Western Wall Tunnels, Cardo, Jewish Quarter, Hurva Synagogue
      • Christian Sites: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden Tomb, Garden of Gesthsemane, Via Dolorosa, Room of the Last Supper
      • Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount (Jewish and Muslim holy site): Check online for days of the week and times for non-Muslim visitors.  Please dress modestly.

     

    WHERE TO SEE A MOVIE:
    • YES Planet Noami 4
    • Cinema City Sderot Yishak Rabin 10

     

    WHERE TO WALK/RUN/BIKE:
    • First Station David Remez Street 4 (paved path goes for 10k until you reach Malcha)
    • Gan Sacher Park Ben Tzvi 1 (views of the Knesset, Supreme Court, Hebrew University G’vat Ram)

     

    HIDDEN GEMS:
    • Nachlaot (walk this neighborhood and enjoy the street art, cute archways, small sidestreets and hip young people living there)
    • Ein Kerem (go to brunch at a restaurant or cafe in this quiet and secluded area from the city)
    • Oscar Schindler’s Grave (located in the Protestant Cemetery on Ma’ale HaShalom Street outside of the Zion Gate)

     

    This post first appeared on Israel Campus Roundtable.

    Daniel Shoham, Brandeis University ’20, is interning this summer with Neot Geriatric Hospital with Onward Israel Boston, Haifa. 

    I feel as though my internship at the geriatric hospital is just starting to pick up. Upon arriving at the hospital, I don’t think the purpose of occupational therapy was fully explained and as a result I didn’t understand its importance. Of course, I understood that giving patients stuff to do in order to keep them from complete boredom is important, but for some reason, cutting out pictures and making games didn’t seem like the best use of my time; I didn’t feel like I was truly helping the patients.

    It wasn’t until this past week that I asked for the purpose of my work. The pictures and games are a form of treatment; they aren’t just made so the patients can pass time. The occupational therapists used the games we made in order to exercise patients’ brains during cognitive therapy, which is especially important for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. All of the games we had made suddenly seemed much more important and my work felt so much more meaningful. Another reason was typically, my day would start with me working with the physiotherapists for a few hours until 11am, but then I wouldn’t have anything to do until after lunch. This week I finally asked my overseer what else I could help with and she immediately found more stuff for me to do. Now on Sundays and Wednesdays, I help with cognitive therapy and help treat patients with muscle problems. Needless to say, I am much happier now that I have a better understanding of my job and more interesting jobs to help with. If I could give one piece of advice, I’d say don’t be afraid to ask questions. A few simple questions led to the most fulfilling week of my internship yet. 

    Sometimes I tend to stay home if left to myself, so I’m glad I’ve made friends that drag me out of my room. Usually I feel really drained after coming home from a (not so long) day of work, but this week was different. One day, I went on a hike after work with my friend who’s interning with me near the University of Haifa. The warm sun at the tops of the mountains contrasted with the cool shady forests at the bottoms of the valleys we hiked through; but throughout the whole hike, we were surrounded by the beauty of nature and plenty of great photo-ops. By the time we were boarding the bus to head back home, the sun had nearly set. A few days later, I was sitting in my room and my roommate asked if I wanted to come hang out on the rooftop with some people. I had no idea that would lead to a great night out in downtown Haifa.

    Lastly, just today I went bouldering at a rock climbing gym for the first time! I had heard that there was a rock climbing gym nearby and I finally decided it was time to check it out. Now I have a new hobby! I had a lot of fun at the climbing gym and I plan to continue climbing when I get back home. No matter how long I’m here, it always seems like there’s more to do. Now I just have to make a long overdue visit to the Baha’i gardens…

    One highlight of spending the summer in Israel is getting to immerse yourself in one of the best food scenes in the world. But as a summer intern, still a college student or a recent grad, and maybe this is even your first time living on your own in an apartment, budgeting for food can be difficult. Here are some tips and tricks to eating on a budget in Israel so you can enjoy all the amazing food but not break the bank.

    1. With Israel’s markets as your grocery store you won’t feel like you’re missing out by cooking in your apartment. Produce is much cheaper at markets than in stores along with other foods like hummus, pita, bourekas, dried fruits, and candy. You’ll also find inexpensive clothes, jewelry, and other souvenirs. It might feel like a tourist trap but locals head to places like the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv or Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem for their groceries too.  
    2. Don’t be afraid to bargain. The people who run the stands in markets are used to it. Though the souvenirs and clothes are easier to bargain for you may have success with some food vendors too. Tell them it’s too expensive for you and they’re likely to counter with a cheaper price. This is a chance for you to decide how much you want to spend on something but if someone doesn’t drop their price, don’t just give up. There are probably five more stands just like it to try next.
    3. Meal prepping saves a lot of time and money. At the end of a work day you’ll get back to your apartment and be hot, tired, and hungry. To avoid the temptation of stopping to buy dinner out on your way home, prepare dishes at the beginning of the week to keep in your fridge. Buy cucumbers and tomatoes and make a huge Israeli salad and stock up on hummus and veggies. On a hot plate it’s easy to pre-make quinoa, pasta, or rice which are filling and cheap to buy in bulk. Try out making your own shakshuka or celebrate taco tuesday in with your roommates.
    4. Bring your own lunch to work. You will quickly learn the culture at your internship in terms of what people do for lunch but either way bring your own at least some of the days. Bring leftovers from last night’s dinner or something you meal prepped in order to save money instead of buying lunch out day after day. 
    5. In Israel, “iced coffee” is a blended slushy drink like a Frappuccino. It’s found everywhere and you’ll want it all the time. Aroma is the Starbucks of Israel and becoming a regular at your local Aroma is part of the Israel experience. But if you’re looking to save money on your daily coffees head to Cofix instead. Cofix is another chain found all over that offers a 5 shekel cup of coffee which is a price you can’t beat.
    6. Potluck style dinners are a super efficient way to both hang out with friends and save money. If each person brings one item, there will be plenty to eat for all and it’ll be cheaper than buying your own meal out. This is particularly nice to do on Shabbat as an end to your week and if there isn’t a large enough communal space in your apartment for your size group, bring some towels down to the beach or picnic at a local park. 
    7. Take advantage of happy hours. Many restaurants and bars in Israel will offer happy hour specials like 1+1 deals on drinks. In order to make sure you’re getting the most for your money look up the place online beforehand to see if they have a happy hour menu or any other special discounts. 
    8. Don’t buy food at the beach. I know, it’s so convenient and watermelon and feta sounds so good when it’s 90 degrees and you’ve been in the sun for hours. But it’s much more expensive than it needs to be. Buy food at the market or at a local AM:PM grocery store beforehand and bring it down to the beach with you. Also, bring your own towel and avoid lounge chairs as beach bars and vendors will charge you to sit on them.
    9. Eat the street food. Falafel, sabich, shawarma and hummus are very easy to find and are a cheaper alternative to a more formal sit down restaurant. It’s hard to find bad street food but some favorites are Hakosem in Tel Aviv and Hummus Abu Dhabi which has locations in Tel Aviv and Beersheba. 
    10. And lastly, eat out too! If you budget well you’ll have no problem spending a bit more at nicer restaurants. From Shakshuka at Tmol Shilshom in Jerusalem, to Tamara frozen yogurt and late night eats at Benedict, authentic Druze village cuisine in Haifa, or a mediterranean feast at The Old Man and The Sea in Yaffo, you will not go hungry.

     

    Sometimes, there are things in Israel that simply take a while to get used to. We created this list so you know what to expect as some of these differences.

    Flexibility

    The most important reminder is to be adaptable. Approach everything with an open mind and be open to change and new ideas. Things are going to be different in Israel, but we are sure you’ll become accustomed to it.

    Showering

    Take shorter showers. In Israel there’s a shortage of water, and Israelis take quick showers. With that being said, the showers often don’t have ledges or dividers from the rest of the bathroom, so you need to clean out the drain and squeegee the floor after each use to avoid flooding.

    The water heater

    Many living areas in Israel heat their water up with solar energy.  In order to conserve the amount of hot water used, Israel has a water heater switch,called a Dood, to turn on the hot water. This switch must be turned on, usually indicated by a light, in order for the water to become hot. It takes a few minutes for the water heater to work its magic, but once on it works extremely well using the hot Israeli sun! After your shower, you must to turn off the heater.

    Air conditioning

    In Israel, it is custom and expected that you turn off the air conditioning when you are not in the building. It is necessary to do so to save energy. Although it can be difficult to walk back into your place not completely cool, once you turn it back on, the room should be chilled in no time. Don’t forget to turn off the A/C when you leave.

    Kitchens

    Israeli kitchens often do not have an oven, but rather they have a hot plate or toaster oven. Although this may seem odd, it is the norm for almost all kitchens. Generally speaking, anything you can cook on a stove in a pot, you can make on a hot plate. It operates in the same way as an electric stove burner. Some ideas of food you can make using a hot plate include french toast, shakshuka, pasta, chicken, etc. Don’t underestimate the toaster oven, as you can make a variety of meals with it including roasted chicken, salmon, vegetables, etc.

    Dishes

    In Israel, it is expected that you clean your dishes by hand. Pro Tip: it’s much easier to clean a dish as soon as you are done with it. Don’t leave dirty dishes out (for the sake of cleanliness and others you are living with.) For pans, if you pour hot soapy water in them while you are eating, it will make it much easier to clean after you are done.

    Tap Water

    Tap water in Israel is safe to drink in your place. This past summer, we often refilled our big reusable water bottles and kept it cool in the fridge for a refreshing drink. Try adding cucumber or lemon for added taste.

    Washing Machines

    Washing machines take longer to wash and dry your materials. Most likely, you will have to wash your clothes at the local laundromat near your place. There are usually a variety of options, such as dropping off your clothes and picking it up, having someone pick up the clothes from your place, or doing it yourself (probably the cheapest way).

    Transportation

    Moovit, the app for transit in Israel will be your new best friend! Through there, you can view schedules for transportation and the routes. Due to traffic, sometimes the buses will be late, so make sure to leave enough time. On Shabbat, public transportation takes a break or runs less often. There are other ways to get around however, such as ordering a Sherut, a taxi that runs on routes similar to normal transportation.

    Enjoy your time in Israel and we hope you make the most of this amazing opportunity!

     

    Don’t be alarmed if the streets of Tel Aviv seem particularly lively on Thursday June 28th, it’s White Night! White Night, or Laila Lavan in Hebrew, is a city-wide party that has been a tradition since 2003 when UNESCO declared Tel Aviv’s “White City” a World Heritage Site for its culture and architecture. The city will come to life with parties, shows, food, and other entertainment and activities that start early evening and go all through the night until early morning hours. Most events are free or low cost and some events even span the whole weekend. Walking anywhere around the city you’ll find something to do, but here are some special highlights to look out for: 

    • 6pm – 2am: World Food Market is celebrating 2 years with three days of food from all around the world, music, World Cup streaming, and parties. The market will be open through June 30th, see the Facebook event for hours and details 
    • 8pm – 11:59pm: Free headphone party at Rabin Square. Rent wireless headphones or bring your own pair and download the app to dance
    • 9pm – 11:59pm: Stroll through the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for Zamani to find DJ’s and art shows for a multi-sensory experience  
    • 9:30pm: Bialik Square will turn into a performance art complex for the “Follow the Stars” event with acrobatics, breakdance, circus and flamenco
    • 11:59pm – 4am: Pasaz is hosting a 100% Hip Hop Party  

    For those of you living in other cities whether you’re nearby in Bat Yam or Ramat Gan or a bit further in Haifa, Jerusalem, or Be’er Sheva, it’s a fun chance to come into Tel Aviv and stay the night, or the weekend. Below you’ll find information on best modes of transportation to and from different cities along with recommended hostels.   

    Transportation

    Most important thing to remember: busses don’t run on Shabbat in Israel! If you plan on staying over in Tel Aviv just Thursday night make sure you check the bus and train schedule and plan accordingly so you don’t find yourself stuck until Saturday after sundown (though there are worse places to be stuck than Tel Aviv). If you are not observant there are a couple of other options for getting around on Shabbat. Regular cabs are around on Shabbat which you can call through the Gett app on your phone or flag down on the street. Taking a Sherut is another option, a shared minivan style cab that runs from the Central Bus Stations and can stop anywhere you’d like along the route.

    Haifa  

    • The railway runs to and from Tel Aviv’s four train stations and Haifa’s three train stations all throughout the day. It’s the fastest route, taking 40 minutes to an hour.
    • Bus 910 runs from the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv to the Hof HaCarmel Central Bus Station in Haifa and takes around 90 minutes.

    Jerusalem

    • Busses run incredibly frequently between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It’s the fastest and cheapest option taking about an hour. Bus 405 runs between the the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, and Bus 480 runs between the  Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov Bus Terminal (also called Tel Aviv 2000 terminal, this is a nicer and easier to manage station) and the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

    Be’er Sheva

    • The railway runs to and from Tel Aviv’s four train stations and Be’er Sheva’s three train stations all throughout the day. It takes a little over an hour.
    Recommended Hostels

    Abraham Hostels

    Little Tel-Aviv Hostel

    Hayarkon 48

    Florentine Backpackers Hostel

    Overstay Hostel