Tag Archives: israel

Israel Diaries: Jerusalem International Film Festival

5 Aug

One of the best experiences I’ve had this summer living in Israel was getting to attend the Jerusalem International Film Festival through my internship at an international film financing company. I was also really excited to travel to Jerusalem and stay with one of my ADPi pledge sisters who recently relocated here. I arrived in Jerusalem on a Sunday evening and after stashing all my stuff in her apartment/dorm at Hebrew University, we took the light rail into the Jerusalem city center for a nice dinner at HaSpaghettim (literal translation: The Spaghettis.) The next day, I was on my own to get myself to the film festival to catch my first screening. To say that Google Maps led me astray in my journey to the Jerusalem Cinematheque might be an understatement. Long story short, I ended up on an all Arab-Islamic bus headed to Bethlehem via the West Bank. And I was wearing a sleeveless, backless blouse (which albeit chic, didn’t quite go with everyone else’s hijab.) Thankfully, the bus driver spoke a little English and agreed to drop me off right in front of the Cinematheque before continuing on to the Palestinian territories. (Side note: Dear Google Maps, if you could invent an “avoid imminent danger” or “circumvent awkward cultural differences” filter in the near future, it would be greatly appreciated.)

Jerusalem Cinematheque

View of the valley of Jerusalem as seen from the Cinematheque at night

After that little adventure I finally made it just in time for my first screening, a feature length fiction film financed by my company! The acting was great and I loved hearing the panel with the director afterwards. Later in the day I met back up with my friend and we went to another screening. After the film, we walked to the old central train station which has recently been renovated into a cool urban hang out with lots of bars and restaurants. We couldn’t resist a little dessert and some girl talk :)

Cafe Landwer

Cappucino, nana tea, and molten chocolate cake with ice cream at Cafe Landwer

On Tuesday, we spent a leisurely morning getting some work done at Aroma (the Israeli version of Starbucks) and then the latter half of the afternoon lunching and shopping. That evening we met up with our friend Haley, another Arizona grad, for dinner near Ben Yehuda at Focaccia Bar, which was super different and seriously delicious. We spent hours catching up before heading back to Mt. Scopus for the night.

Arizona girls at Focaccia Bar

Arizona ’13 grads at Focaccia Bar

On Wednesday afternoon, Rachel and I said our goodbyes and then I headed back into the city center (I managed to stay on the Israeli bus line this time) to the Cinematheque. I saw two more screenings, including the latest documentary produced by Morgan Spurlock and Eve Ensler, before heading to the central bus station to catch the last bus back to Tel Aviv. I finally arrived back at my apartment around midnight, completely exhausted, but loving every second that I got to spend with friends in Jerusalem.

Have you traveled anywhere neat this summer? When was the last time you got to catch up with old friends?

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Israel Diaries: Laila Lavan

1 Aug

Celebrating Laila Lavan

Last month, I celebrated my very first Laila Lavan on the streets of Tel Aviv. Laila Lavan literally translates to White Night, and is a huge 24-hour celebration in the city of Tel Aviv, commemorating when the city was finally named a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. It is truly a unique holiday and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. On a Thursday evening/night/morning, every single thing in the city remains open. Museums, restaurants, theatres, concert halls, and anything else you can imagine host special events and parties until long after the sun rises. To celebrate Laila Lavan like true Israelis, a few friends and I started the evening by walking to Rabin Square where there were big concerts and cool multimedia art shows all night.

image  After that we walked down Ibn Gibarol Street where tons of different groups were playing lots of live music and having crazy dance parties in the streets. We stopped every so often to listen to the different sounds and people watch.

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As we approached Rothschild Street, where the really wild stuff was happening, we stopped at several of the carts selling yummy snacks and cheap libations and made new friends.

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After a fun dance party in the street with several hundred other people that we stumbled onto, we finally headed into a bar/club called Polaroid around 3am. Inside they were playing American hiphop, and they had opened up the back patio/yard area into a massive open space with experimental house DJs and some cool art installations.

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Around 6am we finally decided to start heading back towards our apartment building (trust me this is still considered very early to go home on Laila Lavan) and we watched the sunrise as we walked down Allenby and stopped at an amazing 12 shekel glatt kosher pizza place. (Seriously the best pizza I have ever had. And it wasn’t just because I was inebreated at 6am and had just walked 4 miles. It was honestly delicious!)

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Some of my friends headed to the beach to stay up longer and watch the sunrise, but as for me, it was time for bed, but this has definitely been my most memorable experience in Israel so far.

Have you had any fun adventures this summer? What has your most fun experience abroad been?

 

Spending Independence Day in the Middle East

18 Jul

Spending the 4th of July in the Middle East definitely left me feeling a bit homesick, especially since I had to go in to work for the entire day. To make things better, two of my friends and I decided to book a 3 day weekend in the resort town of Eilat, on the Red Sea, to celebrate America as best we could. We spent the days tanning by the Red Sea and wandering the gorgeous boardwalk, eating at Israeli staples Aroma, Kakao, Moses, and Mike’s Place. Here are a few snapshots from Independence weekend :)

Flying domestic within Israel on Israir was definitely an experience to say the least

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Eilat is beautiful, but only about 5 minutes away from Jordan and a stone’s throw away from Egypt (pun intended.)

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Wearing my stars and stripes to rep America’s birthday at a Blu4dance, a 2-day electronic dance music festival

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We were right up front for Alesso the first night and managed to catch Armin Van Buuren on night two!

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P.S. Here was my throwback Thursday #tbt for 4th of July. I loved bows since the beginning :)

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Tel Aviv Living: Work Hard Play Hard

16 Jul

As June went on I continued loving my film internship as it got more intense and my responsibilities grew. I balanced a hard work week with lots of time dedicated to laying on the beach (only 10 minutes from my apartment) and spending a lot of quality time with new and old friends. Here are a few more of my June highlights:

Watching the Super Moon rise over the Mediterranean Sea

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Hanging out with a fellow Wildcat at a charity fundraiser at Penny’s on the Beach

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Meeting up with some ADPi sisters from across the country for a night out in Tel Aviv

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Celebrating Laila Lavan (White Night) with an all-night adventure through Rabin Square, Rothschild Boulevard, street-side music and dance parties, Polaroid club, and a 6am pizza detour.

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Throwing the diamond in historic Jaffa, the oldest port in the world, before chowing down at Dr.Shakshuka

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What have you been up to so far this summer? Any exciting travel plans coming up?

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First 2 Weeks in Tel Aviv

15 Jul

I spent the first 2 weeks of June settling in to my summer abroad in Tel Aviv. I caught up with old friends and family, spent a few days in Jerusalem, and started my internship at an international film financing company. Here are a few of the adventures I had early in the month:

Experiencing Tel Aviv PRIDE 2013 with thousands of people on Gordon Beach

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Going out to Par Derriere, an amazingly beautiful outdoor wine bar/patio, for my cousin’s birthday

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Learning to seek out the “all you can drink” wine bars with my new roommates

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Walking along Jaffa Port at night, outside Clara nightclub

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Enjoying the Jaffa Wine Festival with a fellow ADPi sister :)

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So far I have had such a fun summer working and getting the experience of living outside of the United States. Did you ever study abroad? Where are you traveling to this summer? Can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you!

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Photo Diary: Northern Israel, Sfat, and Tiberias

13 Jun

As you read this, I’m en route to Los Angeles, finally! After a whirlwind month long adventure in Israel and France, I’m pretty excited to get back to where all the signs are english and to see my parents, of course. Here’s a little taste of some of my time in Israel, a weekend trip to the mystical city of Sfat (birthplace of Kabbalah) and also time enjoying the vibrant nightlife of Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee.

Me and the boyfriend at the Gush Et'Tzion winery outside of Hebron

The boyfriend and I on a super fun disco boat ride in Tiberias, taking a break from dancing.

Street vendor selling wares in the winding alleys of Sfat (also Szfat or Safed)

A man about to make me a Yemenite street pancake. (I don't know the authentic name for this, sorry.)

Think a caprese salad inside of a fresh non-sweet pancake-ish wrap.

Deliciousness.

Alright well I’m out of time on my pay by the minute internet machine at Charles De Galle Airport, next time I write I’ll be in LA!

Bisous,

Rachel

Ziplines, Challah Baking, and more of Israel

10 Jun

The bad news is that I’m still eating my way through France, the good news is that my wallet is considerably lighter! Haha just kidding, I’m definitely enjoying the food aspect of my trip as well as all of the other fun things I’m seeing. I’m very excited to show you all pictures from Paris, but in the meantime here are some more cool photos from the two and a half weeks I just spent in Israel! Also, don’t forget that I’m moving to Los Angeles this upcoming Monday and looking for all the help I can get; please and thank you :)

All dressed up for Shabbos (the sabbath day) in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem

Me learning how to bake challah bread. So. Delicious.

Me and the boyfriend about to go ziplining on the second longest zipline in the world, in the Judaean Hills outside Hebron

Short and sweet today, coming up first thing on Monday will be pictures from a weekend trip to Sfat and Tiberias in Northern Israel. Happy weekend :)

Bisous,

Rachel

You Shuk Me All Night Long

8 Jun

As you read this, my cousin and I are traipsing around Paris getting into all kinds of trouble. But you’ll hear about that probably next week. Until then, here are some photos from “the shuk,” a crowded marketplace in the center of Jerusalem where you can buy almost anything. Literally, the freshest food and smells and most random things I’ve ever seen. Enjoy!
P.S. In case you didn’t catch the news from Monday’s post, I’m moving to Los Angeles in less than a week! Any tips you have for someone new to the city would be absolutely wonderful and greatly appreciated.

Tons of wonderful smelling spices and seasonings

Fresh produce

Wrapped candies, sweets, and honey sticks

Delicious dried fruits and snacks

Straight from the oven Challah breads, bagels, and other yummy pastries

I know I’m a nerd, I always have to take pictures of food! I think I’m secretly quite the fatty on the inside. I definitely think I’ve gained a trillion pounds since leaving the U.S., and let’s not even start talking about all the amazing things I’ve been eating in France. I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you, and don’t forget to leave some advice about my big move to L.A.!

Bisous,

Rachel

 

Fresh From Israel

6 Jun

Greetings there strangers! This is about the first time I’ve truly had extra internet time in almost 3 weeks. Yikes. I just spent the past two and a half weeks in Israel, and now I’m in Bordeaux, France, visiting my cousin. In other exciting news… when I get back to the states next Monday I’ll be moving to LA for the summer to work for an entertainment company! WOO! I’m so excited and having a blast abroad. Without further ado, here are pictures from the beginning of my trip to Israel :)

Step 1: Get off plane. Step 2: Settle into hotel. Step 3: Get dressed up and go out to the bars on Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem

Me and one of my sorority sisters at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem

Israel is quite possibly the only place where the phrase "mall food court sushi" sounds like the greatest idea in the world. I didn't even remember to take the picture until I'd already eaten half of it.

Another night out on Ben Yehuda. Just for the record, the boyfriend and I are not matching on purpose. Bars and clubs in Israel generally come with free hookah and shots when you order drinks, interesting fact.

Well that covers the first 2 days… stay tuned later this week for a pictorial of The Shuk on a Friday afternoon… aka, a crazy hectic market place full of wonderful foods and smells during peak rush time.

Bisous,

Rachel

5 Things You’ll Forget to Pack

13 May

As you can probably tell, this week has a bit of a travel theme. On Monday I’ll be headed on a school trip to Israel for 2 weeks, followed by a week long visit to France to visit family. Now, I’m going to tell you about the 5 things you absolutely must have when in a foreign  country. Let me know if I’m missing something, I only have 2 more days to stuff everything I own into one bag under 50 pounds!

1. A long skirt and a cardigan. Churches and religious sites throughout Europe (especially France and Italy) and The Middle East often require women to have their knees and shoulders covered to enter. However, I usually trek around during the day in shorts and a tank top. Keeping these items in my day pack allows me to throw them on when necessary, and remove them when I’m in metropolitan areas. Bonus: fancy restaurants and hotel dining rooms are always cold, good thing you brought a cardigan.

Calypso for Target skirt, $34.99

2. A set of sturdy adapter plugs. Many countries each use a different type of voltage, and in most places in Europe they’re on direct current. (Us Americans are on alternating current.) So don’t plug your curling iron directly into the wall socket or you’ll short a circuit and cause a black out throughout the entire hostel. (I may or may not know this fact from experience. Shhhhhh!) TJ Maxx, Steinmart, or Marshalls, especially, has stuff like this really cheap.

Adapter plug set, $29.99

3. Photo copies of your passport, itinerary, ticket receipts, maps, and other important documents. Losing your passport is not something you want to have happen. But, in a worst case scenario, you’ll be glad you put a copy in your carry on, your checked bag, and gave a copy to your travel buddy to hang on to. Make your way to the nearest relevant embassy and they’ll help you out as best they can. (Thankfully I would like to say I’ve never personally experienced this scenario. But I do always travel with copies.)

Make copies!

4. A travel diary and a pen. You’ll definitely want to remember that amazing coffee shop with the best iced coffee, or patisserie with delicious macarons. You’ll also want to remember the metro shortcut a passerby told you about, and that one day when your favorite museum is free. These are all instances when having a travel diary comes in handy. Make sure to write down where you went, when, the people you met, where you ate, shops and other nearby points of interest, special purchases, and where you stayed. You’ll love looking back on this in the future, and it’ll probably even help you out on trips to come! Bonus tip: Some have special folders and pockets inside for storing tickets, receipts, and other memories :)

Barnes and Noble, $12.99

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