This post is by Mariel Ackerman, participant on the Career Israel Internship Program. From Chicago, graduate of Indiana University ( BA in Public Health and Health Management). Mariel’s internship in Tel Aviv is in Public Health, aiding African Refugees in Israel through pregnancy.
Orientation in Jerusalem has been great! We went on several tours and listened to a few very interesting speakers in order to expose us to the complexity and beauty of Jerusalem. Our first tour was around the Old City examining the presence of the three major religious in Jerusalem. It included visiting the Western Wall (Kotel), the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In the afternoon we went to the YMCA to hear the CEO of the YMCA and the chief advisor to the mayor of Jerusalem for Arab affairs (self defined Palestinian/Arab-Israeli) speak about his narrative.
On Friday we wandered the adorable streets of Nachlaot, and experienced what it is like to prepare for Shabbat in these cute neighborhoods and getting lost in the crowd at the shuk (the market) on a bustling Friday afternoon. We spent our first Shabat together in Jerusalem, which was very relaxing. We had some time to lay at the pool at our hostel and catch up on rest- which was great since most of us had spent the past few days packing, travelling and meeting 95 new people (all of whom I really love!!). On Saturday night we toured the Kotel Tunnels, which I haven’t toured before. Basically, you walk underground along most of the entire length of the “Western Wall” (the visible part of the wall where people pray is actually only a small portion of the wall that was built by King David after the destruction of the first temple as a means to create the platform for a larger second temple eventually built by King Harrod). On Sunday morning we toured the border of the West Bank to learn about theWest Bank, the settlements and security fence.
And then… we moved to TEL AVIV!!!!!!! I was so excited to move into my apartment in Beit Leni, unpack and get settled. My roommate, Maya, is great, and we made our modest room very cozy. I am so happy here in general – every day is amazing and I am learning so much. We started Ulpan, which is a Hebrew emersion course from 9:00am-2:30pm- every day. I am in level 2 (out of 5); my teacher is great and we have already learned close to 100 words (wild guess), but I still can’t really say any sentences. Last night I had a great sushi dinner (of course) with Hannah and Maoz (both friends of mine from Taglit). Hannah also came back to Israel Maoz was one of our Israeli soldiers on Taglit). We have spent the past few days running errands to get settled, but it’s been easy because the location of our apartment is amazing! It is a two minute walk to the market, down the street from a huge shopping mall, and a ten minute walk to the beach! Things are a bit pricey here, but we are finding good buys.
Today we went to the beach for the first time to watch the sunset. It was beautiful, the sand is so soft, and the water is warm- in a fresh way. Tomorrow we have a lecture from the chief political correspondent for the JPost, Gil Hoffman, so I am looking forward to that. Stay tuned to hear more…
You can follow Mariel’s blog http://marielinisrael.blogspot.com