Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : December 17, 2010
By Lauren Goldstein, Career Israel, Washington DC
I moved to Tel Aviv, Israel a month ago from the suburbs of Washington, DC to work with I decided to work with the organization after reading the founders bios on the website. We seemed to be kindred spirits in our love of food and finding new and unique places to eat. After hearing about the success of the Taste TLV events I became even more excited to work for them. Though really it all comes down to my love of food and exploring new cities. Upon my arrival to Israel, I was of course filled with a craving for hummus, shwarma, and shakshuka. But Tel Aviv is a diverse city and I was excited to try still undiscovered cuisines that I knew were waiting for me. I was overjoyed to discover that I could find an array of restaurants just going up and down my street.
For example, during my first month here I was enrolled in an ulpan class on King George Street. During our morning break, the other students and I would flock to the juice stand located on the same block as my ulpan class. Fresh squeezed juice is simple, but unbeatable on Israeli on sticky summer days. Our “juice guy”, as I like to call him, is right on King George Street between Bograshov Street and Meir Park.
You will know the stand by the blasting reggae music that drifts onto the sidewalk and the juice guy’s prominent dreadlocks. There are an infinite number of juices to mix, but my personal favorite combination is ginger-pomegranate. It is spicy and tart and will get rid of any hint of a cold brought on by too many late nights in this city that is awake around the clock.
Published : December 14, 2010
Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) is one of many URJ camps and communities in the United States and was one of the most important parts of my childhood. I started at GUCI when I was 9 years old, eager and ready to experience the joys of camp that I had heard so much about from my older brother and many friends from my Jewish community in Dayton, Ohio. My time at GUCI was filled with cabin bonding activities, musical services in the outdoor Beit T’filah, Jewish study under the Eitz Chaim, and a feeling of community that cannot be replicated. My connection with GUCI continued after my years as a camper with the NFTY Israel trip, Avodah Work/Study year, and as a counselor. All of my time and experiences at GUCI greatly shaped me into the independent, fulfilled, and Jewish person that I have become.
During my senior year at the University of Miami, I was torn between continuing to graduate school or searching for a job outside my field of psychology. After researching many programs, I chose Tikkun Olam. The values of the program seemed to match my own and I liked the model of participants volunteering in the same area that they live. Realizing that this program was connected with the URJ made it seem like an even better match for me.
After being on the program for two and half months, I have been exposed to many new ideas and opinions about the state of Israel and about Judaism. I feel greatly blessed to have the opportunity to study at a secular Yeshiva, work with young welfare children at a daycare, teach English at a high school, and support and guide pregnant African asylum seekers through the medical system. All of these experiences are unique and challenging in different ways and have vastly opened my eyes to a variety of issues facing Israel today. Just as Tikkun Olam and GUCI are connected by the URJ, my paths of Jewish identity and experiences have been greatly touched by both.
Sara Klaben, a University of Miami graduate originally from Dayton, Ohio, is a current participant in the 5-month Tikkun Olam Community Service track.

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