Shalom Israel

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
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Trip End Dec 16, 2006


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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shalom!
Shabot Shalom Tel Aviv, Israel Friday afternoon... everyone is getting ready for shabot, which was what I figured to be a big deal. Yet, in Tel Aviv the main influence shabot seemed to have was that no buses were running, the beach was really crowded and a few stores were closed....other than than that, the day seemed to be the same as any other. This seems different in the States cuz usually it is a big deal for families to have shabot dinner together....I have always been a huge fan of the traditions and culture of Judaism but have always viewed it separately from the Jewish religion. Once I head to Jerusalem I think the religious aspect of the holy land will be more prominent.....headed there tomorrow....Well, in honor if shabot, I spent Saturday at sunset dancing salsa on the beach with the Shacham's - Yaniv's parents (in the pic) are awesome dancers and they led us to the dance floor. Yaniv's mom told me that salsa is huge in Israel because about 20 years ago a Spanish soap opera was on T.V. and everyone loved it....now they teach Spanish in school and everyone dances salsa. I feel very safe here, however, there is certainly tension in the air. But just like New Yorkers have something to prove all the time, Israeli's do too, but in a much different light. I feel for the children here because they grow up knowing nothing differently. But, then again, because of their struggles there is a strong comrodority and a major sense of Jewish pride around the world. There is a certain level of acceptance here, where there is a common understanding of each others lives , like going to the army after high school .... seeing 18 year old kids with machine guns....Sitting on the bus next to me chatting in their cell phones- as a foreigner you learn to accept that they have accepted this as their way of life. It feels like the people are always on the defensive side, except amongst other Jews. The connection to their heritage brings comfort when surrounded by their people. (almost like the phish family- with that common background and that spiritual bond comes understanding)....People here think I am from England or Australia, sometimes I say I am......but mostly I just say California, and they roll their eyes....then I ask why did you roll your eyes? Usually they say "oh, American girl" - you must be rich...or "we are not used to American travelers here". I asked Sefi why they say this and he says its because Americans are not known to travel abroad as much as the Israeli's, Europeans and Aussies. I was surprised to hear this,,,,and, I thought my blonde hair would make me stand out, but blonde is the in color at the moment, so there are many Jewish blondes here-BUT, its the blue eyes that make me stand out! Israeli men love blue eyes....and, yes, the men here are very good looking, but the woman here are beautiful....and, everyone is skinny and in shape (like California, yet they walk with such attitude here). Side note: Going to the clubs here is the biggest scene ever- you have to wait outside to be allowed in, even when there are only 10 people inside.....there will be 100 people waiting outside just to attract more people and make them want to come in! Sure this goes down in NYC and even SF- but this is totally extreme - actually quite amusing~ picture of Yoni (family friend), Ronen (yanvi's bro) Yaniv, and Karen (yaniv's sis)So, I have been breaking in my 6 months of travels slowly by sitting on the beach and watching world cup futbol with lots of Yaniv's family and friends- this has made things very easy so far....Although I did spend one night in a hostel with 5 other bunk beds in the room-- guess I need to get used to that....but since I have the apartment to myself for free (with internet and air conditioning) I am taking total advantage of these luxeries~and P.S. ITS FLIPPING HOT!!One last note til I venture for the day and have dinner with Sefi and Gabriella (auntie Paula's friends)....It was Sunday afternoon so I went to the nicest hotel lobby to cool down....there was a Jewish family of 10 sitting around a table playing a game, all speaking English and sounding straight out of the U.S. but they had their yamka's (sp.?) and tassels on. I couldn't help to hear them ask (multiple choice) questions like"how many Americans does it take to screw in a light bulb, and if George Bush was our President would we have, and what cities did Frank Sinatra sing about?" Then one woman said- who cares we don't like Americans anyway......It was like being a fly on the wall and really taking it all in.....
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