A huge shoutout and thank you to TALMA– the 11th month of education program for young Israelis in English Excellence. This summer, TALMA reunited me with Israel (after four years!) for a 4-week whirlwind of professional development seminars… aaand sharpening my teacher skill set among wild and wonderful Israeli kids. 🙂
It was a shock to fly into Tel Aviv and remember how beautiful the Mediterranean looks…
But even so, Tel Aviv’s not really my cup of tea. I’m more of a Jerusalem gal:
Ahhh, a view I could never tire of in a million years. Or at least the three millennia it’s been around. There’s the gray dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the left, the tall tower of the Church of the Redeemer in the middle, and the golden Dome of the Rock on the right.
For a month I lived there right in the middle of the action. I shopped at Mahane Yehuda shuk, a huge and boisterous market with stalls of anything you could think of- fresh fruit and vegetables, squeezed juice combinations, bread, dried fruit, nuts, candy, spices, teas and coffees, even clothes and phone cases. It’s my favorite place in the world. I walked outside the Old City walls at night, and through the lit Mamilla shopping mall. I went to the Kotel (Western/Wailing Wall) at different parts of the day just to feel the atmosphere. Of course, this was all in the afternoon.
In the mornings, from 7:30-13:00, I was at school, teaching 4th graders the difference between a baker and a chef, between a chicken and a kitchen, and asking them, “Do you like broccoli ice cream?!” (Warning: catchy song you will get stuck in your head.)
And at the end of each hot and exhausting morning, I’d go home and take a glamorous nap!
Some other highlights:
I spotted the national bird, the HOOPOE, while people-watching in Gan Haatzmaut (Independence Park) one day:
And although I don’t have the pictures to prove I tried surfing, I do have evidence of a nasty jellyfish sting which lasted for WEEKS!
I went to the absolutely wonderful Jerusalem Film Festival, seeing a documentary about Charlie Hebdo and the film “Notes on Blindness.”
I soaked up the lively culture on Ben-Yehuda Street (a busy tourist thoroughfare with lots of shops and falafel/fresh juice/ice cream stalls), which often included surprising live musical performances…
And I wandered the peaceful streets of the Nachlaot neighborhood, enjoying the quiet atmosphere of a place where there are hundreds of synagogues within a few blocks of each other, and where many Jews from different ethnic backgrounds live together.
That’s just scratching the surface. More posts on my time in Israel coming soon!