The wake up call sounded at 7 am, prompting us to get ready for our first day in Jerusalem. By 8:30, we were on our way to Yad Lakashish, an organization that provides the elderly with employment in the form of art-making and as well as social services. There, we had the opportunity to speak with immigrants from all over - Ethiopia, Russia, and Ukraine to name a few. Speaking to the people there gave us insight into their past and what brought them to Jerusalem. Language barriers made it difficult to engage in a conversation, but a few people on our trip knew Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish, making the barrier less of an obstacle to a meaningful experience.
Next, we went to the Jewish quarter, where we had lunch and toured this part of Old Jerusalem. We learned the history and significance of every stop on our walking tour. We ended the walk through the Quarter with a stop at the Western Wall. Those who wanted to had the opportunity to write a note or bring the notes of family members to the wall. Our last stop of the day was Mahane Yehuda, an open market where we tried everything from rugala to baklava while dodging samples of halva after tasting multiple varieties. To end the day, we gathered in a hotel meeting room, where Penn-student-turned-Israeli-basketball-player Zach Rosen told us about decision to learn more about his Jewish roots and answered our questions.