ILIsrael

Israel

Blog Posts

IsraelIsrael

Bright Lights, Concerts, Holy Sites and PICTURES:)

 A link to the first images of my life in Israel-- Enjoy!  www.facebook.com/album.php read more

Ariella Axler

IsraelIsrael

Apples, Honey, Sunshine and Other Sweet Things

On Wednesday morning, commotion of anticipation resounded throughout the city of Jerusalem. Women in ankle-length skirts with head’s covered in sheitles (a female head covering for married Jewish women), hustled through the market to buy last minute produce, breads, and fresh baked cakes for the rapidly approaching Chag, the Hebrew ... read more

Ariella Axler

IsraelIsrael

Right on time

The beginning of September is the perfect time to arrive in Israel. Year 5770 on the Jewish calendar is yielding to 5771, new peace-making efforts are quenching the thirst of those that yearn for reconciliation, and through the cobblestone alleyways, a gentle breeze begins to allay the harsh summer heat. ... read more

Ariella Axler

IsraelIsrael

Ari in the Aretz

Before studying at Stanford University in fall 2011, I will be spending a year in Israel. During my stay, I will immerse myself in the country's rich mosaic of culture. While spending three months each in Bat Yam (city near Tel Aviv), Jerusalem, and Arad (southern desert town), I will ... read more

Ariella Axler

IsraelIsrael

Testing

Testing to make sure that this is working. read more

Aimee Gonzalez

IsraelIsrael

American Football...in Israel?

We are taking over the world...100 yards at a time     Videography and Editing by Jonathan Amerikaner   Wander in Wonder read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

What's goin' on in here...

I realize I may touch a few nerves with this next post. After living in Israel for nearly five months it’s hard to ignore the tense realities on the ground.  Here is my take on one of the most hotly debated issues. Settlement Freeze. Last week the government of Prime ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

You get more than you give

Shalom You've heard it before, and I will say it again. Volunteering is one of the best ways to experience a country while traveling. But don't take my word for it. Watch and listen to a group of middle aged and seniors from the US, France, South Africa, and Australia ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Around Israel

Some shots from around Israel Scroll down to check them out...                                 Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.     Tour group on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.     Local ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

How to crash a Jewish Wedding

How to crash a Jewish Wedding Crashers’ checklist: 1.    Pants, long skirt, or wooden barrel (w/suspenders) to cover the lower body. Fabric is recommended! 2.    Dress shirt or other elegant torso covering. Nothing too fancy so you don’t look better than the bride or groom. 3.    Head covering for the ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Torah Hora

Shalom This past weekend Jews celebrated the end of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah is a joyous celebration marking the time when the Torah, Jewish Bible and Old Testament, is completed and started again.  All the Torahs are taken from the Ark and carried around the pulpit seven times. ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Sukkot So Good

Shalom Sukkot is the week long holiday that remembers the time when the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt and wandered the desert for forty years before entering the land of Israel. According to Jewish texts "clouds of glory" hovered above the Jewish nation sheltering them from the harsh ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Nothing can surprise me...or so I thought...

Shalom Just when I thought Israel couldn’t surprise, I found myself in a state of quiet shock.  I stood in the middle of one of the most dangerous intersections in Israel. On most days and nights it’s filled with buses, taxis, cars, and trucks of all sizes speedily hurrying to ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Echoes across a people

Shalom Last week I attended Selichot (or Slichot) ceremonies at the Kotel (Western or Wailing Wall) Judaism's holiest site.  The prayers, which occurs just after midnight in the days leading to Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is just one of many ways ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

IsraelIsrael

Gecko Incident

Last Thursday, I had stayed up until midnight doing homework. When I finally finished, I turned off the light and went to bed and stared at the ceiling. As I stared, and my eyes gradually adjusted, it became apparent that there was a dark splotch on the white ceiling. I ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

IsraelIsrael

Shabbas!

While I was in Jerusalem, I had dinner with reform cantorial and rabbinical students from HUC. At one point I heard the conversation at the end of the table turn to a story about someone’s GPS taking them on a dangerous route on the way back from Tel Aviv one ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

IsraelIsrael

Bowing toward the Torah

  This weekend I celebrated Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem with my friend Staci. She is pre-college freshman at Brandeis and destined for rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College which has various locations across the U.S. but all of them require one year of study in Jerusalem. Before the holidays, she ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

IsraelIsrael

Note on Religion

I chose to come to Israel because I knew it to be a magnificent place of intersection (and indeed violent collision) for the three most prominent religions on Earth. The land is so saturated with historical and religious significance in its past, present, and future that it has become something ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

IsraelIsrael

Adjusting

  I've always considered myself an adaptable person. Schedules and plans are never set in stone with me and I really enjoy spontaneity, and even the occasional mistakes. While I was attempting to prepare for study abroad, by studying the culture, history, and the language, I always knew that I ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

IsraelIsrael

Take your birthday for a ride

  Illustrative Photo Shalom. Everyone should celebrate their birthday abroad. A birthday in a new country, surrounded by a different culture, and embraced by new friends gives one the chance to stand back from their life and finally see how far one has come. Two years ago I was depressed, ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner

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Books

The Israelis

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Before traveling to Israel or while traveling in Israel, you must read the book, "The Israelis" by Donna Rosenthal. It explains all types of Israeli people and their different cultures, from the Ashkanzi to the Sephardi; from the Frecha to the Arsi; from the Dati to the Kiloni, from all the periods of people who made “Aliyah” (when a Jewish person moves to Israel and gains citizenship), Israeli Arab, Druze, Jewish, and Palestinian, and homosexual culture.

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Getting Around

The rules of taxi cab fares

Jonathan Amerikaner

01 Oct 2009

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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In Jerusalem there are a few tips to negotiating taxi fares: 1) Taxis have meters that often end up being less than a poorly negotiated price. 2) Speaking in English, and looking like a tourist, will raise the initial offer at least 25%. 3) Ask locals for the cost to a destination. You don’t want to offer (or accept) a price substantially higher than the norm, nor offer a price substantially lower. 4) Be aware of planned traffic delays or major events. Sometimes you have to pay a premium when the going gets rough. 5) Your greatest negotiating tactic is the fact that another cab will never be far away. Walk away or… 6) Just walk. It’s healthier, cheaper, and the best way to experience the sights and sounds.

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Festivals & Events

Days of wine and Moses

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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If you are traveling to Israel in July, do not miss the Jerusalem Wine Festival. This is a festival with over 60 wineries attending and for only 60 NIS you receive a wine glass for as many tastings as you would like. The Jerusalem Wine Festival goes on for 3 nights (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), is usually located at the Israel Museum, and also has yummy cheeses and music. Thousands of people attend each evening. Do not miss!

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Culture Shock

Where's my bubble?

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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In Israel, you'll probably have to rethink your sense of personal space. At the ATM, the person behind you will stand so close to you that you'll hear them breathing. And when you are riding the bus or train, expect people to cozy up next to you and start talking. My advice: don't fear it, enjoy it! Learn from your new friends and laugh!

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Must Do

Float in the Dead Sea

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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There are many historical sites in Israel that you must see. But one in particular is the Dead Sea or “Yam hamelech." You must see it for two very important reasons: it will probably be gone in 25 years, because its shore line is receding at a rate of three meters per year, and because no matter how much you weigh, you will float! (The high salt content makes the Dead Sea extremely buoyant.) My advice: don’t shave for a couple of days before you enjoy your salty float.

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Etiquette

Don't split the bananas

Jonathan Amerikaner

01 Oct 2009

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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“What are you doing? Who said you could touch the bananas? I’m right here! Tell me! Tell me!” In Israel produce is cheap, but none of it goes to waste. One day, at the Machane Yehuda Market, or Shuk, in Jerusalem, I split a bunch of bananas in half and got an earful after I accidentally peeled open one of the bananas. With a few words, and a ton of attitude, the grocer made sure I would never do it again. It's normal for customers to inspect the food, and even get a choice taste, but when it comes to dividing up the booty, that’s when the grocer steps in. So on your next trip to the Shuk, if you want five bananas instead of twelve, all you have to do is ask. Otherwise you may have to split.

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Food

Cold coffee vs. iced coffee: learn the difference

Jonathan Amerikaner

24 Jun 2009

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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In Israel, coffee houses are everywhere. And during the hot days and evenings nothing beats an ice blended coffee or iced coffee. But in Israel, you have to be very clear about what you want. If you ask for an "Iced Coffee,” intending to get a brew over rocks of ice, you will wind up with an ice blended drink (or Frappacino for you Starbuckers). This is because in Israel an Ice or Iced Coffee is blended. To get coffee poured over ice cubes you need to ask for a "Cold Coffee.”

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Film

What happened to the movie?

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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At the movies in Israel, there is usually a five minute break in the middle of the movie. This is for a bathroom break, cigarette break or stretch break. Also, you have an assigned seat at the movies, so when you buy your tickets, do not forget to tell the ticket agent which seats you prefer.

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Packing

Pack for all seasons, and for modesty

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Israel gets very hot in the spring and summer, but can also see snow in the winter, and there is hot, dry desert and snow-capped mountains. In other words, you should pack according to the season and according to your destination. I would also recommend packing clothes that demonstrate modesty. There are many holy sites in Israel where women must wear a shirt covering their elbows and chest, along with a long skirt, and men must wear pants and a shirt covering their shoulders.

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Religion

Finding my religion

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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You can not come to Israel without noticing the presence of large numbers of religious people, or without sensing the incredibly rich religious traditions. Judaism is of course the national religion, but a significant number of Israelis are Christian and Muslim. My advice is to be respectful of everyone you meet. And be aware that a lot of shops and restaurants close down on Friday afternoon to Saturday evening because of the Jewish Sabbath, and all Jewish holidays are considered national holidays.

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Politics

Try to stay out of it

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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My advice is to not get involved in too many political conversations. Many Israelis have VERY strong opinions, and have real life experience to back up their opinions. A majority of people have served in the army. Many have a family member or know someone that has been killed in a war or terrorist attack, and they will cite their personal tragedy as a way of reinforcing their political opinion. I would suggest that you read the newspapers and observe, but try not to get involved in heated conversations.

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Sports

Fun with paddles

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Any time of the year, you will see Israelis on the beach (minus the few rainy days in winter) playing Matkot, a sport played with a small round ball and two paddles. Israelis are serious about this game, so do not interrupt. Instead, join in on the fun and see if you can keep the ball up in the air!

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Fashion

Speedos to foxtails

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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There are no rules in Israel when it comes to fashion. In the summer, you'll see everything from old fat men in Speedos lying on the beach, to men in long black trench coats with hats coated in fur--in the summer heat. With the Haredi or Jewish religious community, the fashion defines their level of religiousness. However, even though the religious community has an obvious presence in Israel, the majority of Israelis are secular and wear jeans, t-shirts, and dresses.

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Dating

Family first

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Israelis have a strong sense of family values, and that affects dating etiquette. Within the religious communities, dating is usually seen as a precursor for marriage, so the dating period is usually no more than three to six months. In the secular community, people may date for a longer period of time and live together, but there seems to be pressure for marriage and babies nonetheless. Careers are important, but family comes first--regardless of religious persuasion.

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Health

Middle East diet

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Israel can sometimes seem a bit backwards, but the country has advanced in technology and medicine in the last 15 years at an extraordinary rate. Medicine and pharmacies are easily accessible and the majority of doctors speak English. Israel also tends to be a healthier country, perhaps because of the Middle Eastern diet of olive oil, fresh vegetables and fruits. Less healthy fast food is somewhat expensive compared to a pita with salad and chicken or aka shwarma. The water is safe to drink and the food is delicious! Be’tavon!

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Slang

What did you call me?

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Most of Israeli slang is derived from Arabic words. Some of these terms are: “yalla,” which means "let's go," "Sababa," which means "good" or "cool," and "walla," which means "excellent!" Enjoy using these terms. And if you want to know a “bad word,” any Israeli will tell gladly tell you some.

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Nightlife

Non-stop parties

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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The nightlife in Israel is outstanding. I found many bars and clubs that would not shut down until the last customer was stumbling out, often at 6 or 7 in the morning. Israelis work hard but they also play hard, and when they go out dancing, they let it all out. There is no holding back or shame of dancing, and I would describe their dancing style as, well, jumping up and down. There certainly isn't a lot of grinding. Fortunately, you do not need rhythm to fit into the Israeli night scene!

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Being an American

(Not so) glad to be an American

Jonathan Amerikaner

07 Feb 2010

Israel

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Jonathan Amerikaner

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Even though I can speak Hebrew, my accent is American, so taxi cab prices in the “shuk” (market) automatically increase. Watch out for that. Just say “monay” when you get into a taxi, which means meter. Most Israelis can speak English, and if they can’t, they can at least understand English. English has been on their televisions and on signs for a very long time. Most Israelis I met love America and think America is the land of wealth and big houses and cars. Many asked me what life was like growing up in America, and many had traveled there after their army service. Some turned out to be the people who sell Dead Sea products at U.S malls!

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