L’avant scène

March 5th and 6th

“We must all do theater to find out who we are, and to discover who we can become.”–Augusto Boal

Yesterday was the first day of my classes with the Alliance Française. This week our theme for the class is the theater, which cannot be more convenient for me because I plan to attend a play at the famous Comedié Française this Sunday. During the first class, we covered many vocabularies related to theater (the personage in the troupe, places in the theater, parts of play). As a person who had not worked in a Westtown theater production, I was only a little surprised to find that I don’t even know the English word for many of the vocabularies. As a result, I had to look up the English word for “the person who moves the props between scenes,” “the person who help the actor get dressed” etc. before trying to figure out the correct word in French theater. This means that I have to spend more time finishing my homework, but at the same time, I learned so much more about the different parts that go into a successful reproduction of a play and feel so much more prepared for my adventure to the Comédie Française this Sunday.

ff13492aecbb1830c8c37a588862e1df.jpgThe favorite idea I’ve learned from this first class is that “une pièce de théâtre n’est finie que jusqu’a les comediens le presentent aux spectateurs” (a theater piece is not finished until the actors present it to the audience). This quote emphasizes the important role of the director and the actors’ reinterpretation of the original script. In a piece of theater, the playwright only sets up the “body” for the personage, but it is the actual production and the people who participate in it that gives the characters their spirit. The life experience the actors, the metteur en scène, and the individual spectator can change the meaning of the play a lot. At the same time, our interpretation of the play can tell us a lot about ourselves. Thus, the quote, we must all do theater, as actors, as directors, or as active spectators to discover who we are and who we can be.

The same principle of active participation and interpretation can also be applied to my adventures in Paris. Paris is different for each visitor and inhabitant for it is so diverse that everyone can draw an unique connection with Paris. Given my interest in humanities, my encounter with Paris is more an exploration of Paris’ history and culture. In the past two days, I’ve explored Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-PrésÉglise Saint-Sulpice, Musée national Eugène-Delacroix, Jardin Luxembourg, Cimetière du Montparnasse, Musée Bourdelle etc. Because of my interest in languages, classics, and history, I payed special attention to the Latin inscriptions in the churches and cemetery I visited and was especially grateful to be able to do a complimentary guided tour in French about Eugène Delacroix’s oriental studies at the Musée national Eugène-Delacroix. IMG_6348.JPG

Middle: Latin inscription on the tomb of Descartes


Interior of Église Saint-Sulpice

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palace and garden of Luxembourg


my favorite work of Antoine Bourdelle at Musée Bourdelle

The past few days Paris has offered me many pleasant surprises. I’m super excited for my future adventures at Paris!


סבבה: sababa = awesome, cool

As the days go by, things get easier- being busy is good! I’m even learning a little Hebrew.

I went to Haifa (Baha’i Center) and Akko (Sufi monastery and a Mosque). It seems there is peace and tolerance and that Arabs have a good life there.

I spent the Sabbath on Kibbutz Magal. A Kibbutz is a neighborhood of communal living. It feels a bit like a university campus- with a dining hall, convenient store, a cafe, and lots of homes. Each Kibbutz has their own thing, and Kibbutz Magal has a Netafim factory that makes drip irrigation systems. This kibbutz also has an amazing stables (with jackals, bunnies, snakes, dogs, goats, birds, horses, and more) where mentally and physically disabled youth come for rehabilitation. I stayed with a wonderful family and enjoyed the sunshine and peace of the countryside. The Kibbutz lies between Arab cities and very close to Palestinian territories. I’ve been hearing a lot of different point of views because everyone I meet has one.

Today I met up with close family friends Arnie and Ellen in a residential area of Tel Aviv. We walked down on the beach and had many conversations about life in Israel, where they come for a few weeks throughout the year.

Here are some pictures from my travels!



All is well. Much love,


A Stranger in a Strange New Place: A Jewish Right of Passage

It’s 12 am, the end of my second day in Tel Aviv, Israel.  I just finished writing 15 pages in my journal and have yet to cover today… so yes, a lot has happened, and yes, I am exhausted.  The thing they don’t tell you about traveling is how challenging it is, especially alone.  At Westtown I can go into a friends room, but here I am my only support.  Thankfully I have wifi and can keep in touch with my friends, but in the end when I turn off my phone it is just me here.  I still try to dive into every situation with an open mind and have learned so much already.


The El Al flight was easy and, luckily, I slept through most of the chaos.  I have never been on a plane where people walk around so much.  At day brake, the Orthodox Jews stood in the aisle to do the Amidah (morning prayers) while crew maneuvered around passing out glatt kosher breakfasts and children ran around.


My first day in Tel Aviv was warm like the sun and cool as the sea breeze.  I had a wonderful roof-garden lunch with Nurid (with whom I am staying) and went out that night with some young Israelis.  The people here are so friendly and open, but they are very intense.  Everyone has served in the military and there is a sense of urgency about the impermanence of life.


Today I went to the Pelmach Museum and met young visionaries who work to improve the lives of Ethiopians and Palestinians. Tonight I had a very interesting talk with Avishay about Israeli politics and it is just as, if not more complicated than American politics.  I feel like this trip is a “right of passage” for a Jew because I am facing the contradictions of a Jewish state.  It is a state founded in the name of freedom, to be a refuge for the suffering, but has not fulfilled its promise to all its people.


I am safe and am in good hands.  My mind is expanding!  Part of me wants to run away and return to the safety of my own bed and the other part is filled with the adrenaline of the adventure.  Tomorrow, I am of with Amos to tour Haifa and Akko and then I will spend the Sabbath at a Kibbutz.


Until then, much love,









Israel: Goodbye “peace,” hello “shalom”

I can’t believe I’m actually starting my Senior Project. I’ve been planning trips in my mind since freshman year- and now I’m finally off.


For the past few weeks, people have been asking me what I’m doing. “I’m going to Israel,” I say. “But not on the school trip, I’m going by myself.” This is often surprising, so I elaborate, “I’m studying water in the Negev Desert, working with Jewish feminists, meeting Bedouin teens…” and that’s not even the half of it. I am going to be traveling the country meeting, living, and working with many Israelis from all different realms of life.


Tomorrow, my trip starts and I will arrive in Tel Aviv and meet Avishay. Now, however, there is much packing and preparing to do!


I will be posting all about my trip, so check back in often.