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Day 16/04/2013

Shalom [Hello!] from Israel: Reflections from my Spring Break – Part I

I spent my spring break visiting my friend Laura in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the week was a whirlwind of excitement, cultural immersion, and hummus. This was actually my second time in Israel- I went on Taglit-Birthright (a 10-day free educational trip to israel) six years ago and did the more typical tourist trip.

This time around, I enjoyed more of an authentic experience in Israel, specifically the more liberal, secular experience of twenty-something native Israelis and American ex-pats. Tel Aviv is on the Mediterranean coast,  small (population 410,000), and known for its party scene, youth culture, and importance as the business hub of Israel. Laura is actually making aliyah – immigrating to Israel- because she loves it here so much. It is easy to fall in love with the culture and natural beauty of this place, and many Jewish Americans make aliyah each year.

One of the principles of design thinking is seeking analogous situations and looking outside the box for inspiration when rethinking a how might we situation, and I feel as though I walk through life with the constant goal of how might I make my life more enjoyable/efficient/fulfilling. As I explored Israel and this amazing city, I was struck by many traditions and cultural norms that I wish we had in the states, or that I wish I had in my own everyday life. So, as my reflection on this trip, I would like to describe a few Israeli traditions and cultural aspects that I hope to integrate into my own life in New York. I’ll also include some of the photographs that I took during my trip. I’ll be blogging this in four sections, so stay tuned for more over the next two weeks!

#1 Standing weekly hangouts with friends

Israeli groups of friends develop standing weekly hangouts that they prioritize. For example, a group of men that Laura knows have a weekly brunch at this incredible hummus place at the same time, same place, every single week. Getting together with multiple friends at one time in NYC can sometimes feel like a crazy jigsaw puzzle, between hectic schedules and last-minute cancellations, and I really really love the idea of a pre-established weekly hangout time where I can catch up with friends.

[A variety of customers enjoying hummus at the amazing hummus place]

I’ve already put this one into action, establishing a regular Tuesday half-off sushi night with two of my friends and we plan to invite more people into our little group after we see how it goes. However, I’m away at a conference next Tuesday so I’m already missing our 2nd session, and I hope this isn’t indicative of how hard it will be to schedule a standing date with my sort of schedule.


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