Sunday, March 3, 2013

Arava!

It's been a while since my last post. Apparently, graduate school essays are a bit of a time-suck.

In any case, here are some pictures from my school's trip to the Arava in January. We went all the way to Eilat in the southern tip of Israel for a few days of hiking in the beautiful Israeli desert.

We had the pleasure of staying at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava rift valley. This kibbutz, founded in 1973, thrives as a collective, socialist community, and is of the minority of kibbutzim that have not privatized. 

Kibbutz life means a strong emphasis on community: eating, working, and living together. Also, finances are communally-controlled. This means that paychecks go straight to the kibbutz, and every member earns the same salary and receives the same benefits, regardless of their job. As someone who has trouble sharing milk with my roommates, I'm fascinated by this concept!

Kibbutz Ketura is home of the The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an environmental education program that prepares future Arab and Jewish leaders to solve the problems of the region together. The program enrolls Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, and students from around the world, on the belief that "nature knows no polticial borders." Pretty awesome stuff.

In the way of most beautiful things, these pictures do not do the Arava scenery justice. The colors were amazing, all kinds of reds and browns. It certainly beat last year's winter trip to Poland!




















Negev chic? (thanks, Becca!)





After a great day of hiking, we stopped at Yotvata to buy fresh, home-made ICE CREAM!

Bellies full of ice cream = happy campers


Kibbutz Ketura

Laundry at Kibbutz Ketura. 
Kibbutz members each have a number that they tag on to all of their clothes, and then it all gets washed communally. 

Kibbutz Ketura

Mary-Brett and Honi feeding the cows at Ketura :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jerusalem of White



Splish Splash

This week, Jerusalem saw A LOT of rain.
1. The rain in Jerusalem blows sideways because of the wind. This means that umbrellas are useless, because they just turn inside out and make you look silly. I learned this lesson after 4 umbrellas.
2. For the most part, buildings in Jerusalem are poorly insulated. This means that if you get wet in the rain (which you will...see #1), it's hard to dry off and get warm. The best thing to do is wear 5 layers of clothing and embrace the "drowned-rat" look.
3. Because of the water problem in the Middle East, rain in Israel is an incredible blessing, and vital to the people and the land. With that in mind, #1 and #2 seem insignificant (but we'll complain about it, anyway). 
Jerusalem of Gold White

Israel rarely sees snow, and when it does, it's not too much (certainly not what this Northeastern girl is used to!). So when we heard it might snow, we were excited, but skeptical.

But with even a little snow in the forecast, survival instincts kicked in and everyone headed to the grocery store to stock up for the impending storm. Bread, eggs, milk, hummus... you know, the essentials.

And what do you know, global warming delivered, and we woke up to a winter wonderland! Schools canceled, workplaces closed down, and everyone took to the snow to build snowmen and have snowball fights... it felt like a holiday. 

I can only imagine how exciting it was for the kids here who have never seen snow. By looking at these pictures... you might think we haven't, either. 

Happy snow day!


Snowy night at Na'omi 9 ! Wine, popcorn, chocolate...perfection. 
Time to play!!

View of the Old City in the snow

Laura's Toronto-soul is smiling :)
Roomies on the tayelet (promenade)
Snowy Jerusalem streets 
Olive tree in white 
Snow angel

The only time you can walk in the bus lane? Snow days and Yom Kippur.



Making new friends




When you only pack for one year in Jerusalem, snow boots don't really make the list.


Snow, sleet, rain... Israelis still need their coffee.




Frozen oranges 
Snow day pancakes! Nom nom nom