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9/6/2016

On one of my last nights in Tel Aviv, my cousin and I went to dinner and he asked me what I will miss about Israel. It’s a difficult question to answer. This is a place I have visited 14 times – giving a whole new meaning to the term “second home.” In fact, one of my favorite memories is celebrating Israel's 50th anniversary in Jerusalem with my family. It happened to coincide with my 5th birthday and the city came to life. All I remember is blue and white decorations, music playing everywhere, and feeling like Golda Meir.

I’ve visited for a variety of reasons but amazingly enough, each trip has been un...

7/26/2016

We are nearing August (Tel Aviv’s worst month) and at the moment I am five shades darker than usual, sitting in an air-conditioned apartment, too afraid to step out into the dog park turned sauna. On the bright side, I have discovered that big, Middle Eastern eyebrows due in fact serve a purpose – they are the ultimate sweat guard against blinding perspiration. Seeing as how it is too hot outside, and my models/roommates have returned to their home countries, I have barely touched my camera. The last time I really used it was in Italy…

A little over a month ago, I visited Italy with my mom and grandma....

6/28/2016

This post has taken me a month to write. Why? Pure denial. Our program ended last month and I have avoided writing at all costs.

How do you say goodbye to the people who have become your family for nearly half of a year?

I came on this program to get a better sense of my career path. I never expected that the most meaningful part of this experience would be the people. Of course I hoped that I would make a few friends but I really just came to figure out my next step.

Well, you 42 fofos (cuties in Portuguese) screwed up my plan. You became my family and you made this experience extremely personal. From re...

5/28/2016

In honor of my 10th post, I've upgraded to a real domain name (shadiariella.com) and I decided to leave the dog park they call Tel Aviv. We spent last weekend in Jerusalem and it was almost relaxing. I say almost because my fellow brunette and I took on what proved to be a daunting task - escorting two blondes throughout the city.

 

We had a lovely Shabbat dinner on a rooftop, visited the Kotel, walked around the Old City, and toured neighboring hotels (including my favorite, The King David). Because most everywhere is closed, Jerusalem is very calm on Shabbat, and much to the surprise of the hotel guest...

5/14/2016

Oh America, how I’ve missed you and your wide open spaces, the smell of Cinnabon, and your lax passport control. I went to the U.S. for a few days for my sister’s graduation from Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) and it ended up being a good opportunity to reflect on my time in Israel and to compare the two countries.

 

While singing the American national anthem in a football stadium that equals the size of my neighborhood in Tel Aviv, I noticed that most people weren’t singing along – maybe just one in ten people. It normally wouldn’t have fazed me but just two days before, I stood among 300 Jews at Yad...

4/23/2016

Full disclosure, I am writing this post three shades darker and with an arm that looks like it was mauled by a cat. Despite my better judgment, I went on yet another hiking trip. This week, for our last group trip, we went to the North and it was amazing, exhausting, and beautiful. We did two hikes, visited the Syrian and Lebanese borders, went rafting, and relaxed by the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). 

 

Side note: I was close to meeting more Persian Israelis but it didn’t happen. According to our hiking guide, Northern Israel is home to one of the largest herds of Persian fallow deer. An Israeli brought fo...

4/16/2016

The first half of April has been as busy and random as anticipated. I visited the home of David Ben-Gurion (Israel’s first prime minister), had a Persian Shabbat, experienced my first yoga class in Israel, and ate out with friends (or ran into friends eating).

 

Ben-Gurion’s home is humble yet impressive. He bequeathed it to the city of Tel Aviv and it is known for holding his collection of 20,000 books (which he is said to have read in its entirety). The only thing more shocking than the size of the collection is its diversity – you can find everything from Abraham Lincoln biographies to Greek literatur...

4/2/2016

 

It's hard to believe April is already here. Last week was Purim and while it is celebrated by Jewish communities around the world, it is a much bigger deal in Israel. Purim is Halloween and Mardi Gras combined into one. In Tel Aviv, everyone wears a costume and hits the streets (even the dogs) for a week of partying. The excitement is difficult to describe and I recommend that you come and see it for yourself.

 

For Shabbat, we spent the weekend with Israeli students our age at Shaar Hagolan, a beautiful kibbutz in the north. The Israelis were very friendly and it was nice to hear their perspective on v...

3/19/2016

This was another busy week filled with random adventures. The first was learning how to make hummus from a vegan chef at her home.  I don’t remember everything she said but that’s probably because I was too busy eating. The next day I went to a competition in which Israeli start-ups presented for cash prizes and for the chance to be flown to Shenzhen (China’s Silicon Valley) to meet with corporate leaders and government officials. It was really interesting to be in a room filled with Chinese investors and Israeli entrepreneurs. Needless to say, I was in awe and out of place.

 

On Friday, thanks to my ama...

3/12/2016

 

 

 

First, I want to address the recent attacks in Jaffa and Jerusalem. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share what everyday life looks like here/what you don’t see in the news. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks are common but that isn’t the full picture. At the time of the Jaffa attack, we (a group of 40 Jewish youth) were enjoying Bedouin (an Arab seminomadic group) hospitality in the Negev. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Taylor Force and the other victims. May their memory be a blessing.

 

Over the past two weeks, I went on two trips. The first was a weekend trip to Lake K...

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