Kibbutz

2/24/12

 

The kibbutz movement in Israel started in the mid 60s as a hippie movement, as our tour guide Lydia Aisenberg would say. Kibbutz is best defined as a combination of socialism and Zionism. There are two types of Jews in Israel today. There are the practicing, religious Jews, and the secular, cultural Jews. It was these secular, cultural jews that initiated the kibbutz system. Our tour guide told us that it was largely a movement of young people to both get away from global anti-Semitism and to embrace their Jewish heritage without embracing its religious aspects. This kibbutz was essentially Continue reading “Kibbutz”

Division

2/23/2012

I realized today that I have built a barrier between my mind and my emotions. I logically ingest the information I hear, but I have little to no emotional response. There are several reasons for why this happening: I am an outsider to the situation, I have very little if any power to impact the conflict in a noticeable way, and the emotional gravity of what I’m observing is so great that I am choosing to put it off. This feeling changed a bit when, tonight, I talked openly with peers on the trip about what I have been experiencing. Their views were quite similar. It is difficult to have a lot of information thrown at you and not know what to do. Like steam with no vent, my emotions have built up pressure and, given no way to escape, they threaten to break out at any inopportune moment. I am worried that my frustration might lead to unfair opinions formed out of anger.

 

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Opinions

2/22/2012

Last night we visited Orna and Rami, a Jewish Israeli couple, at their home, 20 minutes outside of Tel Aviv. While their views are considered liberal by Israeli standards, I found them to still consist of many stereotypes that stem from fear. For example, they believe strongly in the necessity for a Jewish homeland in Israel, and yet they also feel that peace much be reached and are willing to make some sacrifices in order to reach this goal. Orna and Rami embrace the idea that agreement will only be reached if Israel does make sacrifices.

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Contrast

While on Senior Projects I kept having difficulties with internet access, but I wrote my posts nonetheless! Here is my first, and others will follow.

2/21/2012

We just landed in Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion Airport. Tel Aviv looks nothing like what I had expected. Sitting in the tour bus, listening to the Middle Eastern music playing on the radio, I’m in a world I do not recognize. Warm air from the window passes over my parched skin left over from the 11 hour flight, and the tangerine sunlight casually flickers across the short, beige towers. Everything is green, but not the lush green of Pennsylvania. It is the dehydrated green of the desert with underlying tones of brown and grey. I know that Israel is considered 1st world but compared to the big cities I’m used to— Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Boston—Tel Aviv seems undeveloped, small, and poor. I guess this is just the beginning of feeling like I am in an entirely new world. 

-Elsa