Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sukkot in Israel

Since the study tour ended and Sukkot began, life at the university has been relatively slow.  A lot of the Israeli students who were living here before went back home for the break, some of the other Americans decided to travel to Europe, and many people simply don't arrive until the end of the month. Still, those of us who are living on campus have tried our best to keep busy during Sukkot/the holiday break.

One nice thing about the holiday is that its focus on time outdoors translates into a lot of festivals and street fairs here in Haifa.  I walked from the university into the center of town (about a 1.5-2 hour walk) with a handful of friends to get froyo.  We ended up passing a film festival and stopping by after eating mounds of yogurt, fruit, and chocolate.  Not only did we see crowds of people all around, but an outdoor craft market was also set up, and we spent our time walking around the stands, checking out the art, and playing some really cool handmade instruments.  Another night when we passed by, on a mission once again for froyo goodness, we saw a Charlie Chaplin film playing on the side of one of the buildings, just one of the many free showings that week.

Ivri Lider in Haifa!
Besides eating froyo, we have enjoyed other meals in the center of town and had fun hanging out at pubs downtown.  We also go out dancing from time to time, but because there is only one club to go to, some of the novelty has worn off.  Still, I love dancing as opposed to sitting in a bar, so it is hard to convince me to get off the dance floor :)

Another night, I headed to a different part of town somewhat close to campus, and there was a music festival going on with a big stage, flashing lights, and loud speakers.  I got there with some friends just in time to hear Ivri Lider sing a song.  He is one of Israel's biggest pop stars, and certainly my favorite, and he is the face of gay rights activism in the country.  I was so happy to see him perform; that was definitely a goal of mine before leaving Israel.

Brown is always with me,
even in Haifa!
Otherwise, I have been hanging around the university, talking with friends here, keeping in touch with others back at Brown and those who are also abroad, and speaking with family regularly.  I also started work on my independent study project about women in the Israeli military and I have plenty to read and learn.  It is great to have the time to get ahead of some assignments before classes start here; that is definitely not something I get to do a lot back at Brown.  With all of the downtime I am certainly missing Brown and my communities there, but I am also looking forward to the start of the semester on Monday!

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