Post-Post

Even though I am writing this from the continental United States, there will be no entry entitled “The End” because for me, this adventure has no end, just different phases.

I spent my last week of the program traveling the country with my mom (on her first visit!) We had a short time, but managed to accomplish a lot: Jerusalem, Ein Gedi, Massada (sunrise hike), Tel Aviv and Ceasarea. Overall, I think she had a good time. Because it was not a formal tour, she had more of a “second-trip” experience.

It was once explained to me that on each trip to Israel, tourists get to see a different side of the country. Typically, the first visit is to family or on an organized program and therefore, visitors get a “glossy” perspective: they see the sites, hear the history, and are awestruck by the sheer miracle that is Israel. Trip #2 generally brings greater depth and understanding of the intricacy and complexity of Israel and the numerous conflicts that define it (please see older posts for more on that). Trip #3 is a “coming to terms” trip and one leaves having seen the good, bad, ugly and honest. Each successive (and initial) trip is unique to the traveler, but the first few visits often follow the similar pattern.

Never have I claimed to be a good tour guide, and for that reason, along with others, my mom got an experience very different from one she would have had, say, on an adult mission. But thankfully she plans to go back with my dad and then she can really get a true trip 1…the second time around.

Back to my opening line: TAMID’s 2010 summer fellows have all safely returned to America, but our work is not done. From here, we continue to develop and nurture the many relationships we built over the past 3 months: Consulting projects are being solidified and as the school year progresses, we will select companies for the 2011 fellows.

So, with the prospect of more to come, I conclude my blog with thanks to TAMID, my fellow fellows and everyone instrumental in making this program one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

If you have any questions about the fellowship program, TAMID, or anything in general, please feel free to contact me at allison.berman@tamidgroup.org.

תודה רבה. להתראות!

The Middle Part VI: Five AM, Farewells and Fiddme

So, I learned something new last week. Hiking up Masada is only allowed before 5:00 am. That’s just disappointing. If someone has to travel and only has one day to do it all, it’s not fair! Speaking from experience, it’s a let down–now you can plan your trips accordingly.

But it was really hot…

Hikeless or not, it was amazing. Masada has a fascinating history and was gorgeous.

Masada.

On Monday, Jon, Nate and I traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Fiddme founder Yosi Taguri. He is one of the most energetic speakers I have ever met and also has one of the most refreshing philosophies. Direct quote: “I don’t deal with money. I deal with happiness.” There are not enough people, let alone entrepreneurs, out there who start something simply for the intrinsic satisfaction it brings. I’m too young to be jaded, but it was still great to see someone really get excited about an idea because it is a good idea, not because of the income potential.

My last week at BioLineRX has hands down been my busiest. I’ve been updating the financial statements, debugging the shareholder analysis report, helping legal and recently, helping the chemistry department finalize a presentation. Tomorrow is my last day at work (by the time you read this I may already be done, but go along for simplicity here) and it’s bittersweet. I’ve gotten very comfortable there and everyone has been exceptionally friendly and helpful. Stay tuned for next week for the official recap.

This morning I was able to see my very good friend and former Wolverine, Andrew Solomon, for what may be the last time for a very long time. He officially became an Oleh (immigrant) yesterday and I am so proud of his decision to join the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), but will miss him terribly. בהצלחה חבר!

Tomorrow my mom FINALLY arrives to Israel for her FIRST visit. We will spend the last week of the trip traveling and showing her around the country I love so much. Hopefully she too will be taken in my the magic that is Israel…and be more keen to visit again. If you have any suggestions of things to do/places to go/food to eat, please, send them along.

Well, as always, I thank you for your time, patience and, hopefully, suggestions. I leave you with love from Jerusalem and the weekly blooper reel. עד פעם הבא!

ps–to answer the burning questions I posed last week: the lack of title had a reverse effect.

Maize and blue, meet Masada.


That's for you Steph!


Cheese!


The wine festival to go with that cheese.


...because everything is better with cake. Or cupcakes.

The Middle Part V

I’m conducting an experiment: will more people read my blog post this week if the title does not give away the contents? If I remember to check, I’ll update the results next week.

* * *

The responses we received from TechAviv have been tremendous. Between Jon, Nate and myself we have been in contact with dozens of entrepreneurs and CEOs of Israeli start-ups, followed leads on multiple potential consulting projects and set-up a few meetings to discuss future internship positions. We are all eagerly awaiting next week’s conference with the founder of Fiddme, the food sharing site.

At BioLineRX I have been working on organizing the company’s policies and procedures which involved nearly every department. It has allowed me to interact with different employees and get a taste of what exactly each level does. Next week will be my last of work, so I will be wrapping up last minute assignments–stay tuned for next week’s post for details.

Over the weekend I again traveled north. This time I made it to Safed where I spent a considerable amount of time in the artist colony (and found an AMAZING souvenir for my dad–even if he doesn’t like it, I do). Shabbat and the remainder of the weekend was spent in the central Galil at my friend’s kibbutz. It was my first experience with a real, old-school kibbutz. The name escapes me at the moment, which is not good (to be updated when I remember), but they do everything there–agriculture, livestock, factory work, food production, etc. As always, it was amazing to see my Israeli friends. They’re the best.

Safed, so many stairs.

Back in Jerusalem I returned to my “routine”. Tonight we met with Ilan Wagner from the Jewish Agency. JAfI is moving in a new direction towards supporting short term programs for young adults. Short term being defined as longer than 10 days (Birthright), but shorter than 5 months (minimum for MASA funding). Basically, exactly what the TAMID Fellowship offers. Hopefully we will be able to work with JAfI to help move the new plan along and develop TAMID into a program on the scale of Birthright and MASA.

Happy Birthday Ilan!

Well, I guess this will be a short-ish post. Thank you for following me thus far. As always, I leave you with love from Jerusalem, and the weekly blooper real. להת!

Safed Candle Factory.

Streets of Safed.

(finally) at BBB.

Back to the delicious shuk restaurant.

The Middle Part IV: Trips, Tisha B’Av and TechAviv

It’s blog day again? Already? Oy veyzamer. To understand my confusion, please refer to my earlier post.

Anyway, our story last left with the final-full-five-fellow-fling. My day off for TAMID travels turned into a very long weekend and on Thursday I finally went traveling around Israel. And when I say around Israel, I mean all around Israel. Wednesday: Tel Aviv (I’m counting it, even thought it was for “work”), Thursday: Ein Gedi/Dead Sea, Friday: Haifa, Nazareth-Illit, Saturday: Ramat Ishay, Migdal ha-Emek and back to Jerusalem. Not only did I get to see the country, but I was able to meet up with some of the greatest people, Israeli חברים from previous trips.

Ein Gedi, with Sasha (Dead Sea in the distance).


Haifa beach with Daniel.


Sunday, as always, brought the return of the work week at BioLineRX. I have been updating the shareholder stock report, getting more experience with the very important and versatile (hence the name) pivot table, and generally floating around the office helping out various different departments. This morning I began a project compiling information about all of the chemistry-related vendors for the pre-clinical department.

Tisha B’Av began Monday night and I spent most of the first hours of the mourning day of observance with Jon and Nate. We went to a panel discussion put together by the Jerusalem Challenge and then made our way to the kotel. I have never seen it so busy. People were literally wailing at the wailing wall. Needless to say, it was a very eye-opening experience.

Luckily the fast was a relatively easy one, but that can likely be attributed to the fact that for the “difficult” hours of the fast (ie–the six hour home stretch) my mind was fully occupied by TechAviv: for, by and about Israeli start-ups. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pitch TAMID to a room full of innovative, bright and entrepreneurial Israeli business leaders. Nate summed up the experience perfectly: “Who else has a summer internship where people line up to see you?”

Nate's homerun pitch.

After our pitch we heard from three start-ups, my favorite of which was an enthusiastic gentleman who founded Fiddme, a food-photography sharing site. As an avid foodie, it was a delight to see how excited other people get about the same topic.

Well, that about sums up the week. It’s getting down to the wire and it’s starting to hit me that I really need to start making to most out of my Israeli experience.

As always, thank you for taking the time to follow my adventures. Until next time, I leave you with my love from Jerusalem (and all over Israel) and my blooper reel (enjoy the new food photos!)

Fountain at the Baha'i Gardens, Haifa. Ask me later about the fountains.


Real mint leaves in the tea.


Such pretty cappuccino.


My favorite Israelis.


With TechAviv founder Yaron Samid and Hod Fleishman.


Check out the pitch at http://www.techaviv.com!


The Middle Part III: Move, Meals and Meetings

Oh, how things can change in a week. Take for example, the location from which I am blogging: my new apartment. Last Thursday my roommates and I packed our belongings and trekked a half hour across Jerusalem to our new home. The reader’s digest version on the housing episode: about a month ago our land lady decided to evict us (illegally), so we were left with three weeks to find a new place, pack up and ship out. So that’s what we did. Thankfully I have some pretty fantastic roommates and we worked through the logistical nightmare to find a lovely apartment-house quite close to fellow fellow Jon.

So that was fun…

We all spent a wonderful Shabbat in Jerusalem. Friday night we welcomed the Sabbath bride with Nathan’s brother’s family. He and his wife are relative newly weds and we had a delightful dinner at their home with them and some of their colleagues.

Saturday afternoon we spent with Lisa Barkan, who recently launched the Jerusalem Challenge and her family. That too was a wonderful experience filled with fantastic food (and she graciously shared her much coveted banana crunch cake recipe) and great conversation.

Sunday I returned to BioLineRX and resumed work on updating the archive and restructuring the index. I can proudly announce that on Monday the internal audit was passed and I graduated from that long, yet fulfilling assignment. Yesterday I once again worked with stock option information and was glad to get back to financial work.

That takes you up to the move and meals (sorry about the lack of pictures, but during the move I was too scattered to take many, and the meals were during Shabbat). Now to the meetings.

This morning Nate, Jon and I met with Ari Gorlin of Kramer Electronics who served as TAMID co-founder Eitan Ingall’s mentor while he was a PresenTense fellow. He has a fascinating history of entering the high-tech industry on the cusp of the bubble, then changing careers to a slower paced profession. He has a significant resume for someone so young.

After that meeting we Jerusalem-ites went to Tel Aviv and spent some time walking around the city and beach before meeting with Kevin, Idan and Bank Leumi’s Avi Ifergan. Again we heard his tech-boom past, as well as were given printed slides about Israel’s economic history. One of his main messages was that in the next 25 years Israel is one of the few countries whose population will be approaching it’s “maximum spending” age, while others, like the US will be full of the elderly who will put economic strain on my generation. That means that Israel is on the brink of major economic growth that we should take part in. Interesting food for thought.

At the end of the night we said goodbye to Kevin and Idan, who return to the US on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. It will be a much different summer without them here, but I am glad for the time we had as a full-fellowship program and am looking forward to spending more time with Jon and Nate.

* * * * *

Starting Sunday I only have three weeks of work left. This thought never fails to freak me out. Somehow I have already been here for so long, but it feels like I landed just yesterday. The “Jerusalem adrenaline” I attributed my constant energy that replaced jet-lag to has not diminished, although it has changed form. Israel is no longer the idealized Eden I had made it out to be before I arrived. Living here has awoken me to the harsh realities I knew, in the back of my mind, existed, but had never experienced. Still, I would not trade this fellowship for another teen tour. I am learning so much about Israel and myself by being able to live here and really see all this amazing place has to offer.

Well, there have not been nearly enough photos this post, so I leave you this week with an abbreviated blooper reel (sadly devoid of food images) and, as always, love from Jerusalem.

With Nate and Kevin.

A whole lot of fun with a whole lot of people.


With Naomi and Lydia.


Pizzaiolo in Tel Aviv.


Don't mess.


Oh, I love the Mediterranean.


Final Fellow Event.


Safe travels, Kevin and Idan!


...because I keep my promises.

The Middle Part II: Tel Aventures and More

This morning I had a terrible epiphany. On my way to work with Jon, it dawned on me that, as of tomorrow, the fellowship is 1/2 over. Already? So soon? Where has the time gone? I have done my best to live in the moment and appreciate where I am, who I’m with and what we’re doing…but where did it all go? Luckily I don’t feel that any דקות (minutes) have been wasted, but it’s still shocking to realize. Reality can be tough.

Anyway, enough of my existential mumbo-jumbo. Let’s get into what you are all really here to read about: the Israel experience. Last weekend we Jerusalemites made our way to Tel Aviv to join Kevin and Idan for the Leila Lavan festival. Due to car troubles Idan was unable to join us, but it was still an unbelievable experience.

Kevin, me, Jon and Nate in Tel Aviv.

Kevin was able to show us around the city he has been fortunate enough to live in and we had a great time. Tel Aviv is amazing in ways so different from Jerusalem. Most notably different: the water. Kevin lives right on הנמל (the port) and we spent a considerable amount of time by the sea.

Sunset over the Mediterranean.

Friday I finally went to the beach (side note: my first time swimming in two years) and on Saturday I was able to explore Old Yafo and the heart of Tel Aviv.

Old Yafo.

All and all it was an extraordinary weekend, but I was glad to return to the comfort of Jerusalem-stone clad buildings…although I do miss the sea.

Back at BiolineRX I began working on updating the company archives. There will be an internal audit next week, so I have been furiously reorganizing the archive index and checking the scanned documents versus the hard copies of files and vice versa. For a relatively small company, there are a lot of procedural documents. This job more than my others has given me an understanding of what BioLine does from the clinical perspective. Although I am not fluent is science-speak, I can appreciate the amazing things that are developed in their labs.

Continuing on the momentum from last week’s meeting with Hod Fleishman of GreenRoad we have been busy spreading the good word of TAMID. Last night we met with Aharon Horwitz from PresenTense. TAMID really began when co-founder Eitan Ingall spent a summer in Jerusalem as a PresenTense fellow. Aharon was able to impart upon us knowledge from his experience in the Jewish entrepreneurial world. PresenTense helps visionaries take Jewish values and translate them into the Jewish world. But more than just applying to Jewish communities, PresenTense enables people to take ideas and make them realities–it teaches methods of communication on levels beyond dollars and cents. He also stressed the importance of developing a strong alumni network while TAMID is still young so that we can keep the community close post-graduation.

This coming week I will continue working on the archives and will spend Shabbat in Jerusalem with my fellow fellows. We are fortunate enough to have Shabbat dinner with Nate’s brother’s family.

Again, if you have made it this far I thank you. TAMID and the fellowship need all of the support we can get and your interest does not go unappreciated. On that note, I ask a favor: please tell people about TAMID: friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, strangers–anyone and everyone who can become a part of this very real venture we are undertaking: http://www.tamidgroup.org.

And, as always, I leave you with love from Jerusalem and my weekly blooper reel. A hint of food, a dash of friends and a heaping helping of fun. בכיף! (Enjoy!)

Nate Gilson: the man, the legend.


Kevin's inner child.


4/5 of the group.


Does this remind anyone else of Aladdin?


למה לא? (Why not?)


One of my more endearing shots--but Ethiopian food was worth it.


Dinner party with Naomi, our neighbor Elon and his friend Ruthger.

The Middle Part I: Meetings Galore

Ok, I will concede that 4 weeks into a 10 week trip is no longer the “beginning”, but the middle is the bulk of any event, right?

We last left our story right before the meeting with Benchmark Capital’s Elie Wurtman. At the dinner we also had the pleasure of meeting one of Benchmark’s entrepreneurial success stories: Hod Fleishman, founder of GreenRoad. This meeting was much more business oriented and, as always, it was inspiring to hear from professionals in the field, as well as to see the proof that the right people with the right idea can turn a dream into reality. We spent a good portion of the evening discussing TAMID’s future and steps we need to implement while we are in Israel. The evening was also a success because we were able to get the first full-fellow-foto.

TAMID Fellows 2010

Shabbat was once again spent in Jerusalem with friends both American and Israeli.

And before I could say שבוע טוב, it was Sunday again and I returned to BioLineRX. This week was less finance related and I worked predominately in Human Resources. It was a change of pace different from what I am accustomed to. Tomorrow I will revert back from dealing with people to money and continue to update the system for categorizing investors’ shareholding. I’m very excited.

Tuesday night Nate and I went to see Sandy Cardin from Schusterman Family Foundation speak at PresenTense . He explained that the “cause du jour” for big Jewish philanthropists are young adult entrepreneurial endeavors. He then continued to list the attributes companies look for and essentially outlined TAMID and its goals (builds connection to Israel, non-denominational, action oriented).

One of the most inspiring events of the week was when Nate, Jon and I met with Hod Fleishman a second time at the beautiful Beit Ticho. It is one thing to hear from others how people respond to TAMID and another thing completely to see for myself the excitement TAMID inspires in people. Especially Israelis. Israelis love the idea of students coming to work and live in their country and then go back to the states with positive reports. Hod has been incredibly instrumental in helping us connect to key business people who can further aid TAMID in its quest for success.

Tomorrow the fellows will all go to Tel Aviv (a nice change of scenery) for some beach and bonding.

This past week was chock-full of TAMID meetings, so from here we can hope that the connections we made will bring good things, and continue to work on making TAMID a household name with substance behind it.

Well, that brings you all up to speed. As always, I appreciate it if you have made it this far (and for even clicking on my blog). For now, I send my love from Jerusalem (soon, Tel Aviv) and leave you with this week’s blooper reel and food photography. Enjoy!

PS: my mom made plans to visit me (and Israel for the FIRST TIME) at the end of my trip. If you have any suggestions of things to do, cities to visit, places to eat, sights to see or in general, great Israel attractions we CAN NOT miss, please pass them along. Thank you!

Fellows with Benchmark Capital's Elie Wurtman and Judith Phillips and GreenRoad's Hod Fleishman

Dessert at Mamilla

Fellows in Jerusalem

The fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish.

Nate, me, Jon. Beit Ticho.

Plum Pie

Jon, don't give me sass.



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