What? People live outside of Jerusalem?
Guest blogger Rachel currently lives in Haifa and gives The Big Felafel a new perspective on living in Israel. Did you know that busses run on Shabbat in Haifa? Did you know that the anglo group is called Hanglo which sounds a little funny? Just some of the things I imagine you would need to get used to, living all the way up there.
I am that girl who walks around looking a little lost. I am that girl you come up to and ask if she needs help. I am that girl that sits in a lecture taking copious notes, and taping everything with her brand new digital voice recorder. I am the one who comes home and tells her husband they told us this crazy thing X and it was either 9% or 90%, I couldn’t quite catch it, but isn’t that amazing?
Before I began my MA in social work in Israel I knew it would be different than America, and I knew it would be difficult but I still didn’t know what to expect. So far, it is different and it is difficult, but there is a lot of good too.
I moved to Haifa to go to school and I am surprisingly among the minority of people in my class who live in Haifa . Most of them commute, even some from Jerusalem , my former safe haven of English speaking olim. Haifa is great for olim, if you are from Russia.
We had a week of orientation, visiting different institutions where social workers work, every day of which I got there a half an hour before my classmates, because I didn’t want to be late. The one thing that resonated with me was how every social worker we heard from talked about how there is no budget in Israel, but the thing that impressed me the most was all these people making do, making a difference and smiling about it. I met so many people (one of them male) who love their job and that is heartwarming.
And I guess the thing that is really throwing me for a loop though is all the striking. I remember sitting in ulpan and not being able to avoid two words shcitoot (corruption) and shvita (strike) because it seems that in Israel , unfortunately both are rampant. So I wasn’t surprised that instead of a fire drill or bomb-scare prep, we got a strike drill at the end of our orientation. Here’s how it works: if some of the university is on strike than you miss those classes, but you still have your field work. But, if the whole university is on strike, then you don’t have anything. So today, some of my professors were on strike, so I had two classes out of four. When I was a kid I prayed for snow days. Maybe I overdid it.