This is just a “quick-date” (quick -update. It’ll catch on.)
On Wednesday afternoon I scrambled to do last minute packing, said long goodbyes to my family, and set-off for Israel. A short 16 hours later I landed in ארץ ישראל. For those of you who have been here, you can appreciate the immense feeling of comfort and home that Israel brings (reason #1) . If you have yet to visit, get here soon. There is just something about the country that, whoever you are, wherever you are from, it feels like home (don’t worry mom and dad–I will still come back to Michigan in August).
My amazing roommate and fellow Michigan Wolverine, Naomi, met me by Jaffa gate (entrance to the Old City), and took me to our apartment which is 10 minutes away. Miraculously I wasn’t too jet-lagged, which I chalked up to being cured by the adrenaline and sheer joy from being in Jerusalem. The rest of the day I spent unpacking and getting the grand tour of the area. In the opposite direction, Ben Yehuda street and the shuk are 10 minutes away. Reason #2 to visit Israel for those of you who have not been (and those who have): Israeli shwarma. Can’t event describe it–you have to get here to find out for yourself. Best first-night dinner ever.
That night Naomi and I met up with a group of friends from Michigan who were here on the JRC Maimonides trip and fellow Fellow Nate Gilson . They had been in Israel for a few weeks at that point and it was great to see so many people from school. On Friday we again met up with the Wolverines from the night before for one last hurrah in the shuk before they went home.
Reason #3 to visit Israel: Shabbat. There is nothing in the world like Shabbat is Israel, especially Shabbat in Jerusalem. Nearly the entire city shuts down, people come out in their Friday-night best and a feeling of serenity envelopes the city. Because Naomi and I usually attend Shalva services at school, we went to the synagogue where the kabbalat Shabbat tunes were originally sung. Then the Sabbath meal was a concoction of things bought at the shuk. It was a very simple Shabbat, but that is what makes the holiday so special–it doesn’t have to be elaborate or lavish. It can be quiet, where kiddush is said over grapes instead of wine and still be meaningful.
Ok this is turning into a journal entry, so I’ll skip to the TAMID part: my first day at BioLine RX.
Everyone was very nice and helpful. The building is located in the tech park in northern Jerusalem and on my way there, I passed buildings bearing big-brand names like “Intel” and “Teva”. All I can say is there is a lot of brain power and talent in that neighborhood. Reason #4 to visit: Israeli ingenuity. Take BioLine for example: they do clinical stage drug development for medications that they believe have the potential to cure some of the most painful, ailing and fatal diseases. For more on how Israel is an idea-machine, read Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.
Day one was very introductory, getting to know the office, the employees, being set up with a cubicle (!), computer, etc. As the week progresses my tasks should become more clearly defined.
As that happens, I’ll keep you posted.
So my “quick-date” turned out to be a play-by-play of my first days here. Oh well. If you made it this far, thank you!