Onward Israel 2017: Week 4

Shalom Cincinnati,
It seems like just yesterday that Yael and I were writing our very first blog post; at this point, half our trip has already passed! We are still so thankful for the opportunities that this program presents us with every day.

This week’s intern spotlight is Dan Ginsburg, and he will be discussing his role as a supply chain management intern at AudioCodes.

Name: Dan Ginsburg
University: Miami University

AudioCodes is an Israeli software company that works with voice-over internet protocols. As part of his role in the supply chain, Dan works directly with suppliers on tasks such as research and correspondence. He also spends time working on AudioCodes’ internal processes such as inventory management, item overviews, and purchase requisitions.

Dan enjoys applying the knowledge from his coursework to his internship work, and feels that the he was placed very well within AudioCodes. Outside of his designated tasks, Dan has been improving his Hebrew skills by working alongside the Israelis in his office. We wish him well with the rest of his internship!

This past weekend, we experienced a unique program in which all Onward students from around the world participate: the Breakout Session. This program allows Onward students to “break out” of their everyday routines, travel to a new region, and engage in activities specific to each Breakout Session.  The session I attended, the Judean Desert, took place in Ein Gedi: home to the Dead Sea and many more natural wonders.

Above: A view from our weekend home; the Ein Gedi Youth Hostel.

We took part in many exciting activities throughout the weekend, such as hiking to the King David Stream, floating in the Dead Sea, and participating in group discussions at the hostel. Although many of us had visited these sites before, the atmosphere changes with each visit and one can learn something new each time. Throughout these programs, we learned about the significance of the desert to the Jewish people in an active and hands-on way.

Above: The King David Stream, located in the heart of Ein Gedi.

Above: Talia Warm and Ilana Frankel enjoying a float in the Dead Sea.

Personally, my favorite part of the weekend was connecting with other Onward participants at the Breakout Session and embarking on our own adventures. Being separated from the rest of the Cincinnati group allowed us to branch out, and we quickly made friends with whom we have already made plans to reunite.

During our free time, we took our own hike down into a salt canyon of the Dead Sea. 

Following a weekend where many of us were apart for Breakout Sessions, the Cincinnati group was reunited Monday night for a late-night beach volleyball match.  Through friendly competition, we sharpened our skills, got some well-needed** exercise, and had a wonderful night of bonding.

Above: Our group enjoying an exciting round of beach volleyball.

Next, we participated in our third seminar through Bina, where we toured Sderot – the city located immediately outside of the Gaza strip. For many of us, this seminar was the most meaningful and informative thus far. Although the previous seminars had shed light on Israel’s complicated political status, this particular seminar gave us a new perspective on the complex range of issues Israel faces. During this seminar, we visited a viewpoint overlooking the Gaza strip, an animal therapy center for children facing anxiety from living near Gaza, and a kibbutz, home to over 200 families in Sderot. 

Above: A very brave Hannah Wise interacting with a snake at the Animal Therapy Center.

At this kibbutz, we had the opportunity to meet with a spokesperson for the community. She detailed her experiences with moving from Northern Israel to Sderot and interacting with Gazans in her philanthropic work, and how her community has been strengthened from living outside the Gaza strip. The experience was invaluable, and we were all overjoyed to tour the Peace wall outside Gaza with her as well.

“The mosaic project, located on the border wall, divides the Gaza Strip and Moshav Netiv HaAsarah. The mosaic project is created through the individual contributions of on-site visitors, in the hope that one day our collective desire for a life of tranquility and peace will be fulfilled.”

Finally, I had a different experience than the rest of the group; my family visited me in Tel Aviv for the week! While I enjoyed being a newly-established tour guide and showing them the city, my favorite part was taking a food tour of Levinsky Market. Previously, I perceived this market to be composed of nothing but small bakeries and spice shops, but I was entirely wrong. Our tour guide showed us numerous hidden gems and delicious surprises throughout Levinsky market, including treats like pickled Hibiscus flowers, vegan Mallabi (the Israeli desert detailed in Blog #2), and the freshest bourekas in Tel Aviv.

The only Israeli-constructed car in existence— now used for outdoor seating at a local shop serving homemade sodas and apple cider.

This weekend, my family and I will travel to Jerusalem for Shabbat in the holy city.  Don't worry; I am certain that Yael will update you next week on the group’s activities over the weekend! 

Shavua Tov,

P.S. For those of you who were paying close attention to my last blog, Blog #2, you will remember that I promised to reveal if jellyfishing would be featured in the next Olympics. The answer is finally here; jellyfishing will actually be featured in the next… Maccabiah games! The games have just started in Israel; be sure to tune in and support Team USA

** “well-needed” is specific to those of us who are still food-touring our way through Tel Aviv, one bakery at a time.


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