Surprises in the Holy Land

I have now been in Israel for over a month and a half. I have been having an incredible time living here and exploring such a powerful country. Living here is wildly different from living in the U.S.A. and not just because the weekend is Thursday night through Saturday, or because football starts at 8:00 pm every sunday. It is the customer service and spiritual power of Israel that has surprised me the most.

As a kid from a big Disney family, who regularly visits Walt Disney World, my expectations for customer service might be unreasonably high, but this country has consistently disappointed with their customer service. As an American whose Hebrew is mediocre at best, it doesn’t even feel as though these workers care to speak with me, even while I am trying to purchase their product. My initial experience was at a gas station, my program was on its way back from a trip early in the year, and the people working the register were so pushy and aggressive with all of the customers. It was them telling all of us ro move faster that stuck out to me. It is just an easy way to ruin a day here if all of the workers are rude and aggressive. 

The other shock was positive. While I have been here only a month and a half the spiritual presence in Israel is felt constantly. I lost my faith in religion a few years back and just by lifting here I feel my connection once again. I was able to push myself to fast, attend services for Ne’elah, and go to the Western Wall on Yom Kippur. Those being things I haven’t done in years, but just by being here I once again felt inclined to participate. Right by our campus in Jerusalem we have possibly one of the nicest views of the old city and the Western Wall, I am there daily, just soaking in the beauty.

Overall being here is a blessing, I love the city of Jerusalem and can’t wait to explore more and more as the year goes on. Maybe I will really rediscover my connection with Judaism, I seem to be on that path already.

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