Masa Israel Journey Blog

February 18, 2015

By Chloe Newman, Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Ashdod

 

My first [few] months here seemed a flurry of realizing how many small, everyday items I had taken for granted in Pittsburgh. Many small kitchen-wares (a proper spice collection being one very important one), some nicer clothing items, art supplies, some school supplies, and general household items were purchased before my first stipend arrived, halfway through the month. My bike was the most significant, and perhaps my best, purchase, and when I started exploring the country, I noticed I was again dishing out cash for travel expenses.


Although my spending was not so extravagant in retrospect, I was discouraged at the time, having to dip into my savings so much. I vowed that once the madness had normalized, I would have a plan, to live comfortably and reasonably on my stipend. Now that I feel I’m establishing my flow, the idea...

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February 13, 2015

Jessica Band and Jonathan Gerafi in northern Israel

 

In September 2011, WUJS Israel participants Jessica Band, 26, and Jonathan Gerafi, 28, lived in the same city, in the same building, just one floor apart. Yet, they never spoke to one another during their first month in Tel Aviv. A month later, their friends went out on the town and the two strangers, who both happened to stay in for the night, met by chance and have been together ever since.

 

As Jonathan explored the quiet halls that October night, he paid Jessica an unexpected visit. “I was like, ‘oh man, I don’t want to talk to anyone right now,’” Jessica, a native of Rockville, MD, remembers. However, after a long and entertaining conversation, she was extremely happy that Jonathan, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, had stopped by.


Over the next few weeks, they continued talking and growing closer, until Jonathan asked Jessica out...

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