Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Day of Food/Memorial in Rabin Square

Yesterday was a day of mixed feelings, to say the least. I started off my day bright and early with a siren, but what else is new. Went into the bomb shelter, chilled for 5 minutes, then came out and continued on with my work. I worked from home until I couldn't stand the enclosed space of my dorm room and then headed to the beach with two friends who happened to get off work early that day.

We hung out at the beach for a few hours and then it was time for me to go meet my boss at a new restaurant we were trying. I'm not sure if I mentioned before, but I'm helping my boss with a "Top 3" guide to restaurants in Tel Aviv. For example, top 3 hummus, falafel, shakshuka, kid-friendly, romantic, vegetarian, etc. We decided to try a vegetarian and gluten-free place called Mezze. On my way to Mezze though, I had to stop at Tamara for some good old frozen yogurt. Now Tamara isn't like any fro-yo you get in the States. It's 22 sheks for ALL YOU CAN EAT toppings. And, not only that, but the toppings are out of this world! And, to top all that off, they have a delicious chocolate sauce that they drizzle on top.... oh I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

After my date with myself at Tamara, I walked to Mezze, which was about a 30 minute walk in the sweltering heat. I finally arrived at the restaurant, dripping with sweat and sunscreen all mixed together. My boss and I had a meeting set up with the owner where we learned more about the restaurant's vision and history. It was so interesting talking to the owner and hearing about her story. She and her husband opened the restaurant 10 years ago as a little neighborhood cafe. She has celiac and her husband is a vegetarian, hence the reason for the restaurant. We also talked a lot about the current situation going on in Israel, and it was very interesting to hear her perspective.

I finally arrived home and my friends and I decided that we were going to attend a memorial in Rabin Square for all of the soldiers who were killed recently. It's so sad that this is my second memorial service in the span of only 5.5 weeks. Although I didn't know any of the soldiers killed, I felt it was my duty to attend the ceremony and honor them for all they did for this country. The memorial was more of a spiritual ceremony, with lots of singing and speaking in Hebrew. It brought me to tears the amount of people that came to support these soldiers, who unfortunately are no longer with us. Although I couldn't understand 99.9% of what was said, I could feel the speakers' energy, passion, and dedication.

I've said it before and I'll say it again but I can't begin to explain everything going through my head these days. It is all very overwhelming and a lot to take in, but I think in light of this situation, it has made me think positively. Not only about the current situation, but just life in general. Being in Israel for the past 5.5 weeks has taught me more about myself as an individual. I've learned to make the most out of every situation, and look at the glass half full instead of empty. There is no point in sulking about everything going on here, but instead, we should celebrate this amazing opportunity that has been given to us.

It also is amazing to see the support around the country. I was just speaking with a girl I interned with, Samantha, and she said that she went to a pro-Israel protest in Chicago today. It's great to know that in the United States people are doing things to support Israel, even from so far away! Here is a short clip from the protest in Chicago:

Anyway, today was an AMAZING day! My group and I went to the Ein Geti and hiked which was a great time. I did the same hike on Birthright last summer, but it was such an experience going with people who had never been! After that, we headed off to the Dead Sea for some good old floating time! There was some burning here and there, but we had such a great time all being together! I honestly don't know who picked the Pittsburgh group, but we seriously are the best (even though I'm a little biased.) We all get along so well and truly enjoy hanging out together. Whether we need a shoulder to cry on or someone to laugh with, we are all there for each other. We seriously are one big Mishpacha!

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