Just a few weeks left in this magical place, but SO many more experiences to go!
Between meeting with Larry Braman, the Director of Career Services for UCLA’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program, to hiking the beautiful deserts in Israel, to going up north to Meron for a Lag Ba’Omer all-nighter, to spending an incredible weekend on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with outstanding views of nature and Israel’s surrounding countries, to canoeing on the Jordan River, and to meeting with the inspiring and dedicated directors of Camp Stone, a religious Zionist summer camp, these past few weeks have been nothing short of experiences filled with personal growth and Jewish learning.
Being in Israel has allowed me to explore its politics and all of the implications that come with it. I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Israel Museum as a student representing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where Dore Gold, Israeli diplomat and current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, came and spoke about Israeli politics overall but more specifically, preserving Jerusalem. As former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, advisor to both Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and continuing his involvement in Israeli life and politics, Gold offered tremendous insight to ways in which we must preserve Jerusalem and remain a strong Jewish state. Additionally, former Knesset member of the Yesh Atid party Dov Lipman came to my program and explained his story of where he got to where he is and his path, both personal and political, along the way. Hearing about the influence he had on Israel as the passionate American Jew he is was nothing short of inspiring.
On a completely different, but also extremely important, note, ISRAEL WON EUROVISION! What a time to be alive ladies and gentlemen. I cannot even begin to explain what it was like to be in Israel for the last few weeks of this international song competition. The excitement, adrenaline and support for Netta (Israel’s representative) that was swarming Israel throughout this competition was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Not only did people run out into the streets with pride, but THOUSANDS of people (including me!!!) showed up to Netta’s impromptu concert the day after landing back in Israel to debut her winning song to her home country.
Following all of these exciting events was a weekend well spent in Tel Aviv. The ongoing adventures consisted of visits to the beach clubs, many trips to the same delicious yogurt shop, hours and hours spent on the beach, and a lot of iced coffees in between!
It’s starting to truly feel like summer, time flies! I still have some things left to check off from my bucket list while I’m here, so stay tuned for more in the coming last few weeks!