The September Study Tour began on Sunday, but before class started, all of the new people arrived on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, we had a group pizza dinner/Shabbat dinner. The Dominos pizza was alright, but meeting everyone was definitely the highlight. Finally, after a month of Ulpan, more people have arrived who will be staying for the full semester. And the good news is that they are all really sweet and fun to hang out with!
After meeting each other, shaking hands, and exchanging the typical information about where we are from, where we go to school, our major, etc., we talked about what we are hoping to get out of the study tour and the semester and why we came to Haifa. It was really cool to hear about the different paths that people are on that all led us to meet here in Israel. Also, among the new arrivals is my friend Noah who I met on a program earlier this summer in Washington, D.C. I was so happy to have him arrive!
On Saturday morning, we had a breakfast activity and watched a movie. The movie was called The Bubble and it was absolutely incredible and heart-breaking. It is about two gay men, one who is Israeli and the other who is Arab and their relationship, immigration issues, leftist politics, and radicalism. I wont spoil the end but it takes a huge unexpected turn and it definitely worth watching. To take my mind off of the sad movie, I went to the gym for a bit and then met up with people from the program and took them on a hike. I felt a bit like a tour leader, but in a good way. It was kind of nice to see people at the same, less settled place where I was only a month ago, and to now be the person telling them which busses to take and restaurants to go to. I feel like I have come pretty far in a short amount of time. We ended the day at the beach with shawarma, falafel, watching waves, and strolling the boardwalk.
Class began again on Sunday, and the teacher is really engaging, which is important because it lasts from 9-3pm every seminar day. The professor covered centuries of history in a concise and clear manner that kept most of us really attentive. Tomorrow we are going on our first field study day to Nazareth and Safed and somewhere else...I forget...but I will update again soon!