Internships in Israel.

Want to come to Israel this summer? Want to build your resume? Want to gain hands-on experience in your field of choice?

Yavneh Olami is pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for our Summer Internship Program 2006!

Program highlights include:

* Job and housing placement in Jerusalem

* Shabbatonim

* Weekly shiurim

* Tiyulim

* Weekly group dinners

* Extracurricular programming

Program Dates: June 29th August 13th, 2006.

Yavneh Olami’s Summer Internship Program (SIP) enables students and recent university graduates from all over the world to intern in their fields of interest in Israel within a social and educational environment. Yavneh Olami works with over 70 different employers in Jerusalem. Last year, we had 150 participants hailing from 30 different universities. Dont miss this amazing opportunity to spend the summer in Israel gaining invaluable work experience!

For more information and/or to fill out an online application, check our website or email

No cold feet here.

It’s the days that start off gray and cloudy and dark and like all hell is about to break loose that I really feel like a permanent resident here. Maybe this is a bit terrible, but it’s kind of like that I feel when the weather is bad, there’s nothing I can do about it; I live here and I’m ‘stuck’ here now, a permament resident of the doom. And in my head that compares to if a war broke out and I was just as stuck – to take Israel with the good and bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and health.

That’s commitment!

Onward and forward…

You know what’s interesting? So now we have this Kadima party, supposed to be centered and all. We have political figures quitting their old parties to join from both the left and the right. This basically means that within the political party Kadima will be the neccesity for negotiations – level 2 negotiations, which happen internally, as opposed to level 1, which happen externally (between disputants). Now, level 2 usually is necessary first, even before level 1, and definitely after. But this is just tasteful irony: A party forms from breaking off of every angle, only to collect the center of Israeli public, only to end up having to negotiate heavily within the party to get to the outside of the party to vote to get things done!

Negotiation theory + political spectrum + bureaucracy = balagan.

When I grow up.

I’m in love. It hit me today, like a club, like an enormous brainstorm.

I want to be a mediator.

Obviously, this was something I thought I want to do. I thought I could do. But as of today, I know: This is what I will do.

I want to help people communicate. I want to help people express themselves and understand their opponents. I want to bridge experiences and thought processes. I want to show people how to bargain, how to negotiate, how to realize their dreams to the best of their ability while realizing their disputant’s needs and dreams. I want to help peaople ‘take into account’. ‘Walk a mile in another’s shoes.’

I’m so in love!

(I’ll expand on this later)

More than just a pretty 'tlush'…

Now that I am an employee in the Israeli workforce…

…hearing about today’s suicide bombing has a different take. Maybe it is because I have ‘more’ at stake? Maybe it is because I feel more settled here, so this is my fate more than ever before?

…Israeli politics have a different meaning. It’s not just about peace anymore. It’s about ‘living’ – as opposed to dying, but also making one…

Pay it forward.

Again, writing a letter to someone to help them out. Thought I’d share it, make the love go round:

It’s cool to hear from you, and awesome to hear your aliyah plans have started to take action… The application process should be the least of your worries… as long as you have all the paperwork (birth certificate, Rabbi’s letter, etc) in tact.

Ok, so the real stuff you need to think about is your initial 5-6 month plan for when you get there. And you need to have at least 1 or 2 plans. You have free 5-month ulpan and you want to join the army… The army is not a good plan A for two reasons: They don’t call anyone who is new up for the first 6 months – a year unless you volunteer early and even then it is not garaunteed; and since you’re a girl, there is a good chance they won’t even take you when you do volunteer (and girls don’t get called up as olim at all by default, so you have to push). I have a friend who is trying to get in as an olah; I’ll see how she goes and get back to you. But she’s been here a year.

Ulpan is a tough one. See, people need it and it’s a good way to absorb culture along with language and make a good first group of friends. It can give you a place to live (Ulpan Etzion, Kibbutz Ulpan) and it can give you something to do while adjusting to your new setting. It’s important. The reason I don’t sound more excited about it is… it kinda sucks. It’s a hard time for a lot of people. Some people get a bit depressed and frustrated: I made aliyah and I can’t speak the language! I majored in XYZ and here I am on my ass learning Hebrew! I was a teacher/doctor/lawyer in the motherland, and now I’m unemployed in class! It’s a challenge to get through but I think it’s an important first step. Your Hebrew must grow at all times… and even better if you already have a base. This is a great way to kick it off, and like I said make friends… Because aliyah – though you feel you are going ‘home’ – can be very lonely sometimes…

So let’s say you do that, Kibbutz Ulpan or Ulpan Etzion and live a Jerusalem kind of start… Hey, maybe volunteering in the afternoons, or taking classes at Pardes if that is your thing, or finding an afternoon/night job (I will warn you here: that will probably be babysitting or working at IDT/CSM which is a frustrating experience in itself). You still have to be thinking in the long term – not necessarily commiting. Like: army? university? full-time job? Think openly too. Who knows what might change when you get here? Always always be open to the plans changing – that’s also why it’s comfortable to have a plan A and plan B, etc… to know that there is more than one way to do it.

About freaking out… I totally know what you mean. So do a lot of people. You’ll find that you’re not alone in doing this, even though sometimes you’ll feel alone because your family and best friends aren’t here… It’s rough but there is a strong support system because we all did it… And you’ll start to feel like you’re a part of this chevreh you didn’t realize, Anglos/Latinos/French/etc single young people who came here alone… It’s actually fascinating…

But look, it won’t all be rosy. But that’s what makes it so REAL! Because aliyah is definitely not about being recognized for coming to Israel. This guy who made aliyah a while ago and is now in the Prime Minister’s office and married with kids once told me: “Your aliyah will be successful if you remember: Israel owes you nothing. Instead, you owe Israel something: to come and settle, to have a job, and to make a Jewish family in the homeland.” When you get here, you realize you’re part of a community, and it’s big sometimes and small sometimes, but however you see it, you’re not the only one here.

My parents were actually also supportive, and it was shocking for me. Obviously, they prefer on a practical level that I live near them… On the other hand, they are proud I am doing what I believe in. It’s hard. My parents grapple with it, but you know what? Just recently my dad told me he wants to start taking Hebrew classes in New York City, just so he can get familiar with the language… that’s huge… and my mom has never been here, so we’re working out a way she can come so she can see exactly what I’m doing… Work with them, you know? If they’re already supportive, then you’re already lucky to have them behind you… Just be understanding that they’re having a hard time too…

Also, it could be easier on you and them if you set a date – maybe 6 months, maybe 9 – that you will go back for a visit. I didn’t want to, but I promised my parents I would. You know what? It gave me a lot of perspective coming back to NY and realizing how much I belong in Israel. It really helped me become stronger.

Ah, long distance boyfriend… I could go on for pages about that but then I could also let you read my old journals… So I’ll refrain from that, to each his own when it comes to long-distance.

There are all kinds of little life lessons you’ll learn, totally new people you’ll come across… It’s a scary mix of leaving college and entering the ‘real world’ while doing so in a completely new country (because if you think you know Israel now, well, it’s very different when you have a mispar zehut…)

I could go on and on… What do you think?

P.S. make AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN before you get here!!!

P.P.S. I might have made this sound kind of depressing… but it’s not, really… I’ll write happier things later!

Do it in another country.

t: is the oleh process getting easier as time goes on? do u find urself much more adjusted now than u did months ago?
m: oh for sure… i have a job and school… i have no reason to return to america, and the only reasons i miss new york are superficial
t: wow.. that’s great to hear
m: the more time that goes by, the more i’m settled
t: i mean.. i miss u but that’s great that ure settled :-)
m: it’s pretty intense, gaining a real life within 4 months and doing it in another country

No more American express.

A ticket to the cinema on a Thursday night:
Free if you have a Cellcom line (35 shekel normally).

Popcorn and a soda:
Dunno, too cheap to buy it.

The Israeli movie-going experience.
Actually priceless.


So… Went to see The 40-Year Old Virgin on Thursday night. First movie I’ve seen in the Israeli cinema since I saw Snatch in 2000, and I guess I didn’t remember that experience much except for wondering how the Israelis were understanding the crazy British accents.
Well, a lot of the same. Young kids at a very naughty movie (am I getting old?), but that’s not nearly the point. The climax of the movie for me was the laughing: I found myself the sole person cracking up a lot of the time. The only times they laughed was during intense cursing or during slapstick. Makes sense, really. The Hebrew subtitles did a poor job of translation, and really, you can’t translate a lot of Steve Carel-American humor.
Maybe this is terrible, but I felt a bit of pride. In myself.

But pride in a language that isn’t primary anymore doesn’t last long in a different country. Last night I was watching “Eretz Nehederet”, sort of a cross between SNL and the Daily Show for Israel. I got a lot of the jokes, but not all the references, and I suddenly remembered to put myself back in my place.

Eh, so it goes. It’s fun to laugh at TV, whether in your language or not. Hell, it’s fun to laugh at yourself, always.