Last Few Weeks in Israel!

Sights from Tel Aviv

Shira Feen, Israel Correspondent

Hi!

My grandmother from South Africa came to visit me for 10 days! I got to show her around Israel-she hasn’t been here since my older brother’s birth 20 years ago. Some cool things that I did with her included visiting the Knesset, seeing the Supreme Court and touring the City of David. The Supreme Court building was gorgeous. The architects tried to include the aspect of light representing openness, into the building, as Israel wanted their people to feel that they could come to them for anything, so the building is filled with windows and different angles and hallways that allow light into the building.

The Knesset was also gorgeous. It has a specific hall called the Chagall hall, perhaps the only place in the world you could walk on Chagall’s mosaics’s. The city of David tour was also amazing we went through underground tunnels through which the city was conquered and residents fled. We were also able to go down to the hidden spring where kings were coronated. 

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Another museum I took my grandmother to was Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial museum. It’s so sad, the hardest part, I felt, was to walk through a room filled with mirrors reflecting a lit memorial candle. As you walk through there is a voice that reads the names of thousands of Jews that perished in the holocaust.

We also spent a day in Tel Aviv! It was a beautiful day, we started off at the Tel Aviv art museum, it has a wonderful collection, I really enjoyed. It also has many artists I had never seen before, I thought it was very cool. After that we headed to the beach for a picnic lunch. Then we went to the Carmel Market, Neve Tzedek and Old Jaffa, all were so beautiful. We met with my uncle for dinner, and then headed back on the late bus to Jerusalem. 

My grandmother really enjoyed her 10 days here. Her favorite part was going to the western wall Friday night and seeing thousands of Jews from all over the world from all different sects come to pray. 

Lag B’omer also took place while my grandmother was here, a Jewish holiday when Israelis go out and make Bon fires! All over the country you could smell smoke and see fires, something you don’t see everyday! 

Another experience I recently got to enjoy was the Israel Museum’s birthday party, it turned fifty years old! I found out that if you are born on May 11, 1965, you would receive free lifetime membership, so if you are you should defiantly come claim it! But on May 11, this year the museum was free, and had amazing birthday celebration exhibits. They had the brown sisters, which I know was also displayed at the saint Louis art museum. It is a display of photos of five sisters who took a photo every year for 50 years. They had displays from the past, and photos of parties before and after, it was very interesting to see, an exhibit like nothing I had seen before. I enjoyed the big cake for the public and the band the most! The band they had was called טררם. They had drums and dancers, the performance was more dance and movement than singing. It had a very bohemian vibe to it.

A few days later, a friend and I put henna  in our hair! The Isralei way to do it is you buy the Henna (not the spray tattoos you can get at amusement parks) in the shuk, it looks like a spice! Then you add everything red in your cupboard into the powder, we added ketchup, red pepper flakes, pomegranate tea, and paprika! After that you mix it all together and put the mud substance into your hair and leave it for a few hours!  It ends up being a really natural and healthy dye for your hair, it gives your hair a reddish- orangish tint! Often Jews who came from Yemen and Morocco and all their descendants have the tradition to do the Henna powder tattoos at their engagement parties! It’s a really unique and festive tradition!

The best part of these past few weeks was Yom Yerushalayim! Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War. My friends and I started off at Gan Sacher and walked to the western wall. It is about a two mile walk that took about four hours. There were tons of groups playing music, thousands were dancing, it was so fun! Everyone was waving their Israeli flags, and dancing with the rest of Israel! It was truly amazing!!

It has been an amazing past few weeks and an end to an incredible year! 

I head home early next month, summer at home, and then college in the fall in New York!

All the best,

Shira