One highlight of my summer so far has been traveling around the country with my Boston program. The first place we went was south to Beer Sheva. We started our day at the crawling cave. These are small tunnels in the desert that Jewish rebels used to use when they fought the Romans. One by one, we got on our hands and knees and crawled through these tight spaces to understand how our ancestors lived.
After the caves, we made our way to an Ethiopian village. There we learned about Ethiopian Jews and heard stories from women who emigrated as children. We learned about their culture, how they build their houses, and the journey they had to take to get to Israel. Best of all, we got to try Ethiopian food for lunch. It is gluten-free and vegan so it’s a delicious option for people with dietary restrictions. Next, we visited a Bedouin village to speak to a female entrepreneur. She told us about how she started her business selling herbal remedies and then made our own lavender rosemary balm. The whole process, start to finish, was incredible to see. We ended the day at a kibbutz and spent time as a group.
The next day, we went to the West Bank to learn about the conflict. We participated in a dialogue between an American Israeli Jew who made aliyah in his 20s and a Palestinian who grew up in Jordan before moving back to Bethlehem. It was interesting hearing their stories and learning more about a very precarious situation.
For my last few weeks, I hope to travel more around Israel and continue to meet people from different backgrounds and learn about their culture.
Annelise Lemaire, University of Michigan ’24, is a chemical engineering major from Needham interning at Hyfit wearable fitness trackers through the Boston Onward Israel program. 125 students from schools across Massachusetts have professional internships in their fields of interest in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa this summer. Visit onwardboston.com for more info.
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