Friday, July 26, 2013

Haifa Community Week: Getting to Know Haifa Day

Getting to Know Haifa- July 23 Written by Hannah Elbaum First full day with the Israelis! Today was a complete whirlwind of sights and experiences. As part of the Diller program, the fellows plan an entire week of activities and programs in the city of their Israeli cohort. Lucky us, Haifa is beautiful and has so much to do! it is frightening though, to have so much responsibility in a city you know very little about. The first group did an amazing job helping us get to know Haifa and be tourists, but also to get to know the community of Haifa on a deeper level. We began the day at Beit Miller, the meeting place of the Haifa cohort. I am lucky to be staying at a home near to Beit Miller, so we walked and stopped on the way for Shoko B'saqit. (Sp?) I have never tasted something so delicious that came from a bag! After the initial good morning hugs-even though we just saw each other 10 hours ago- we made our way to an gan ha'em. Our Maagal Boker (morning circle) took the form of water games! Despite the shock of cold water being dumped on my head, it was a refreshing, fun way to start off the day. Then we walked to the Carmelit, a subway that is known for being the steepest, and shortest, in the world. We took it all the way from the top to the very bottom, by the German colony of Haifa. From there, we walked around and learned a little about the unique architecture of the Haifa skyline. After a short free time, filled with iced coffee, we went to the Carmel center for a scavenger hunt! Acting out scenes from Twilight and taking pictures with eggplants actually helped us learn our way around, and was really fun bonding after such a long time apart. Plus, seeing lipstick on the boys was really funny! Lunch was more free time in Gan Ha'em, and then we took a bus to the rachbal, a cable car that takes you down the mountain and drops you off right on the beach! It was more than a little frightening, but the view was spectacular. The beach provided the perfect background for some artsy pictures! Next came my favorite part of the day. We walked along the beach until we came to a grassy area that had some blankets laid out with drums in a circle all around the edge. It was a drumming circle! We learned real rhythms and drummed along to call and response and real songs! The entire group was so happy and some people got up to dance in the middle. Before long, other beach goers came to check out the ruckus we were making. A bunch of little kids joined in on the fun, and even though it was difficult for them to keep up with the patterns, they were super adorable! Dinner was in the same place with a beautiful outlook over the Mediterranean Sea. We spent some time debriefing our day in separate Boston/Haifa groups. Throughout the trip we are working to continue to maintain our cohort of twenty, as well as the Boston-Haifa group, and the full Diller program that we will meet at Congress. These separate times, and our other programming as a full group will help us when we go to Congress, to feel confident and comfortable with the support system we have built amount the thirty-six of us. Finally, we ended the day with a Maagal Lila. It was a nice culmination to the day for us to give anonymous compliments to each other. I certainly left with a renewed sense of self-confidence. By then, the day of programming was over, but we were right next to the beach, so of course we had to go! I didn't end up staying long because I was so tired, and a good nights sleep was very needed. I can't wait for the rest of community week to see what the the other groups have in store! -Hannah E.

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