University of Haifa International School Student Blog
For today’s post we will be featuring an entry by Judy Lansky, a current International School student. Judy is from Memphis, TN and attends the University of Maryland. At school, she is involved with Hillel/JSU, her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and Maryland Images, the campus tour guide group. She is majoring in Jewish Studies and History. After participating in Birthright during Winter 2008/9, decide to return to Israel enroll at the International School. This post is taken from Judy’s blog , which she started to keep her family and friends updated on all her exciting adventures in the Holy Land.
Since Eilat I have decided it was about time to spend a good chunk of time getting to really know the city I am living in.
Purim (A festive Jewish holiday where Jews celebrate that the evil Haman did not succeed in killing off all the Jews in Persia by the heroic Mordechai and Queen Esther. Celebrated by drinking, dressing up in costumes, partying, and eating hamantashchen!-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim) was a couple of weeks ago. Purim is the Jewish version of Halloween. It is just a great time to dress up in costumes and have a good time. I went to two Purim parties, one put on by University of Haifa student body and one point on by the International School and the dorms. I did not shop for my costumes so I was forced to be really original (which was harder since I do not even have my full wardrobe here). The first night I was a ninja. (my friends in this picture are a barbie doll and cowgirl)
and the second night I was a hippie. (ok maybe a little bit of a cop out) My friends are a Boston fan and a leopard 🙂
This weekend (with the help of the international school), I found a synagogue nearby and a family to host me for Shabbat dinner. The service was very similar to Friday night services I have attended in the states except there was a mehitzah (wall) separating the men from the women. Also the synagogue was a lot smaller. The building only had a sanctuary and bathrooms. No community center, or kitchen, or offices. In Israel, apparently synagogues are all small like that. They do not need a staff. Each one only has a rabbi.
The family I had dinner with was so nice and clearly the food was delicious. In years past, they had always had students over for dinner but for some reason this semester the invitation had not really made it to the International School students so they were really excited to have my friend Yarden and me. In fact, we were invited to come back in 2 weeks and to bring more of our friends with us!
The day after, I organized a trip to go to the Bahai Gardens. We had seen a glimpse of them while doing a tour of Haifa during Winter Ulpan but never had actually gotten to tour it. Lucky for us, there are tours in English everyday except Wednesday (and they’re free!)
I got to learn a lot about the Bahai. For example, there is no Bahai community in Israel. The Gardens are there as a shrine and the only Bahai in Israel are those who are taking care of it. (around 700 people!) These workers come for a pilgrimage and stay for as little as a year and as much as 5 or 6.
The gardens are beautiful though, filled with several kinds of flowers, fruits, and fountains. Unfortunately the main dome is under construction and won’t be completed until 2013! (It is the big gray looking thing at the end of the gardens)
My friend Susan and me both had our Tom’s Shoes on the day we went to the Bahai Gardens. Toms is an organization that donates a pair of shoes to children across the world with every purchase of a pair. The shoes are extremely comfortable and very cute too 🙂 I have been wearing mine so much in Israel that they are starting to get a little smelly…(hint hint mom/dad new pair as a birthday gift?!) Anyway part of Tom’s ad campaign is for their customers to take pictures of “how we wear them.” Pretty much it’s a compilation of pictures of people modeling their Toms. Susan and me decided there weren’t that many places cooler than the Bahai Gardens to wear our toms so we took a couple pictures together modeling them! I submitted the second one but I have yet to see it on their site, but be on the look out! http://www.toms.com/how-we-wear-them
Can’t wait to tell y’all about this coming weekend and my field trip last Sunday for my contemporary Israel class!
Ahavah from Israel,
Miss Everyone 🙂
Vist Judy’s blog at ahavahfromisrael.tumblr.com.