Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : January 21, 2013
By Avigail Jaffe, Darchei Binah
 
Anyone who’s spent a year in Israel knows the challenges of finding a host for Shabbat each week. 
 
Like any unsuspecting teenager, I found myself in this never-ending cycle last year in seminary.  
 
From Sunday to Tuesday I spent countless hours trying to obtain the phone numbers of Shabbat hosts and even more time calling them, politely asking if they’d be willing to host a couple of girls for Shabbat. 
 
Although most were very nice, they would, more often than not, already be booked with guests. 
 
One week I got hold of a host’s phone number from a classmate, and I called to request if the family could host me and two friends for Shabbat.
 
We were...
Published : January 18, 2013
 
After graduating from college, I wanted to take at least one year off before deciding on a career. I wanted to experience something new and different and also wished to be of service and give back. I looked into programs from Africa to India, when I came across something that stood out. But, it was located in Israel.  To me, Israel meant Zionist Judaism.  I saw it as a religious place, where everyone would either force me to go to services or become a rabbi.  Jews lived in New York City; I grew up there—why go to a land filled with more Jews, when I wanted to experience a change?
 
Clearly, I did not understand Israel. How could I think a country located in the Middle East was not cool enough for me? I had completely overlooked Israel’s diversity because it was...

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