Sunday, January 5, 2014

ShabbatStroll and SelfieSunday

By Allison Siegenfeld '16 and Enika Selby '16

On Saturday since it was Shabbat we got the opportunity to sleep in a little. In the morning if we wanted we could go on a walk through Jerusalem. I chose to go on the stroll. The walk was incredible. The streets of the marketplace which the day before had been completely filled were now empty. After we returned, we had a nice relaxing lunch followed by a discussion on what being Jewish means to us. In the evening we got some free time in Jerusalem. I was surprised to see all the vendors with unique and elegant artwork. We even happened upon a game store filled with wooden puzzles. Night life is vibrant. We saw a beat boxer as well as a group of street dancers jamming to Israeli music. 

Sunday began early with a Jewish learning session at the Pardes Institue. We were welcomed by a Penn alum who was a chemistry major but moved to Israel for a year to gain a further understanding of Judaism. Afterwards we traveled to a section of Tel Aviv known as Jaffa where we were introduced to the Israeli defense force soldiers that will be traveling with us. The typical Icebreakers were followed by lunch that gave us an opportunity to really introduce ourselves. I tried shakshuka which is a tomato egg dish for the first time. During this time we discovered some quirky similarities that some of us share with the soldiers like addictions to American reality tv shows, netflix, and an insatiable appetite for all things food. In Tel Aviv we sat in the exact place where Israel's independence was declared over sixty years ago. We then strolled through downtown Tel Aviv. The quiet area that consisted of a small park in the heart of the city turned out to be incredibly peaceful. Israelis who wanted a break from the bustling city life often would go to this area to relax and listen to the soothing music that played in the background.  We got dinner in Tel Aviv and we passed out on the bus on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately, tonight is our last night in Jerusalem but we are all excited to continue our journey as we head north. 

Here's a quick way to experience the day's journey with us- #SelfieSunday 
Enjoy this video!

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