From August 2012 to January 2013 I lived in the small city of Be’er Sheva, on the northern edge of the Negev, Israel’s most expansive desert. I came here as part of a study abroad program with the promise of learning Hebrew and seeing a lot of camels. Though learning Hebrew was difficult, I did manage to ride a camel (named Sammy).
Living in Israel was challenging in unimaginable ways. In addition to basic concerns of living abroad, like finding grocery stores and exchanging bus fare, I had to adjust to seeing young men and women in army uniform and to periodic rocket attacks. Growing up in America, I had to adjust quite a bit. But in many ways I felt safer in Israel than I ever have in America. People look out for each other in a way that’s lost on my home culture of individualism, birth place of the assembly line and the rat race. Family is valued above all else, as are friends, traveling, and living life fully. Israelis don’t do anything half-way.
I learned more about the truth of the world, about myself and my purpose than I ever could have had I stayed at home that semester. I don’t regret a single bit of my trip; it changed my life. Not only did it force me outside my comfort zone, but it exposed me to so many cultures, customs, and complexities that I fell in love with. Living in Israel made me want to see the world even more.
The Fig Tree and the Shuk
Picture Highlights So Far
Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
A Trip to the Golan