Shabbat shalom! It’s Friday night in Israel and that means that the entire country begins to wind down and enjoy the weekend. Shabbat is the day of rest for the Jewish people, and Israel is the only country in the world where people come together and truly rest- by shutting down businesses and transportation from sunset to sunset between Friday and Saturday. Some consider this respectful, appropriate, and peaceful while others consider it too traditional, expensive, and inefficient. One of the main points for this long going debate revolves around the public transportation that also stops on Shabbat. Many Israelis rely on trains and busses to get around and cannot afford to cab or own a car, causing a dilemma for the many non religious Israelis who need to get from place to place during Shabbat.
On the other hand, Shabbat is a great time for family and friends to gather and spend time eating and enjoying each other presences. I’ve spent 2 Shabbats with families who have taken my friends and I in to share their holiday and delicious traditional meals with us. Tonight, I am joining the friends I made at Pickspace, where I spend my time interning, for a Shabbat meal and to get to know each other outside of the workplace!
Earlier this week, I had my first and possibly only experience spending Fourth of July outside of the States! It seemed like all of the American students who are here for the summer congregated in the same place to celebrate our country in a foreign place. Between barbeques and chanting our national anthem on the bus, I definitely felt a sense of America while in Israel.