On weekdays, the alleyways of Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market are a bustle of shoppers and sellers, a place bursting with sights, sounds and smells. Weekday evenings are similarly busy, with recently opened restaurants and bars attracting young people out for a night on the town. But on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest, the market has traditionally been empty and silent, with the shutters of the stalls rolled down and locked.
When the shutters are down and the market is closed, it becomes just as colorful as it is when it is open because of one artist, Solomon Souza. He started this project in January 2015 and throughout 2015 and into early 2016, Souza has painted over 140 of the shutters — some are of famous people, and others are of biblical and other scenes. Up until now, it hasn’t been difficult to get the permission of the shopkeepers to paint their shutters. Some have asked Souza to paint a favorite rabbi or the family patriarch who was the original owner of their stall.
The Sin of the Golden Calf
More Jewish John Travolta
Some Famous Rabbi
Two women carrying fruits and veggies
Moshe turning his staff into a snake
Working the land
So when you are in Jerusalem on Shabbat, take a stroll through the Machane Yehuda Market and see all different pieces of art. If you’re visiting it in the winter, make sure to bundle up!
The past month has been a rollercoaster for me. In the beginning of the month, I hurt my foot and had to go to the clinic for it. I went to the clinic and the doctor spoke English and she wanted me to get an x-ray of my foot. So I went to get an x-ray but the receptionist didn’t speak English and I had to get some kind of form from my insurance company. So I called my insurance company and pressed the option for English and when someone picked up, they spoke Hebrew. I asked if they spoke English and they told me to hold and then the line went dead. After that happened three times, I called my madrich and he helped me sort it out. So in the end, what should have taken about two hours, took four hours. ( I am fine. It was just a bad sprain)
Later in the month, I had issues with a student in the school I teach at. The students I work with have difficulties learning and socializing with each other. I can relate to them more than people know. I grew up in a therapeutic boarding school, I had difficulties and I was always around other kids with various difficulties. I know what it feels like to be misunderstood and left out of the group. I know what it feels like to be bullied everyday. I know what it is like to not fit in with any of the other kids. So when these kids misbehave or act out, I understand where they are coming from. I have 4 days a week when I teach and on 2 of the days I have 3 kids where I do one on one with and I can say that they struggle not only with English but also with being misunderstood by their teachers and other students. I have them one on one because they are behind in English but I can tell that they are behind because they don’t get the help that they need. They aren’t encouraged to do better and they aren’t motivated. But when they are with me, they try their hardest to know the right answer and if they don’t know it, they don’t guess, they ask what is the correct answer and why. I try my best to make them feel good about themselves.
Only a few days ago we had a Thanksgiving meal here in Beer Sheva. We all got together with some of our friends and celebrated Thanksgiving. It wasn’t the same as it is in the States with family but everyone here is like family to me and I am grateful that I have so many friends and family here to have celebrated it with.
In the end, I am happy to be here in Israel making a difference in peoples lives. Even though there are events that have brought me down the past month, being here in Israel has been an amazing experience so far. I have traveled to Jerusalem to go to the Kotel, I have traveled to Tel Aviv to see the beaches and gorgeous sunset and a couple of other places. If there is one thing I have learned so far since being here in Israel is that I don’t have to hide my past and that I should be true to myself. I have to be who I am and I should not be afraid to show my emotions. I have had many eye opening experiences in the past few months and I am grateful for them. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here and I will definitely be back for a longer stay!
So I spent this weekend in Tel Aviv with a few other people from MITF and it was the most fun I have had so far being in Israel. I arrived Friday morning and went to the Petak Tikva apartment and met up with Rachel and then we went to the beach and from there we met up with David and Colin. We really just chilled at the beach and then roamed around the quiet city being that is was Shabbat. Yesterday Rachel came back to Tel Aviv and her, David and I went for a walk to the Jaffa Port and it was an amazing site to see. I don’t regret not taking pictures of it because something’s are better in person than through pictures. Then last night at the hostel I was staying at, they did something called Bar Olympics, where we had teams and played beer pong with 2 liters of beer per team. My teammate didn’t tell me she doesn’t drink beer so I ended up drinking our 2 liters and with that they gave us 2 free shots of Arak and I can say that I just went to my room last night after that because I was so tipsy, lol. But I had so much fun and made new friends and had a great experience.
I do want to thank Paz and Asaf for everything that they have done so far. They have been great Madrikhs and we have not been an easy group but they still somehow smile and we always have fun with them. I look forward to getting to know them better!
So the past week has been full of new things and new experiences. So this was the first time I have been in Israel for any of the High holidays and let me say that it was a very enlightening experience. The way they celebrate them is really cool. For Yom Kippur, I went to a friends house for a pre-fast meal and ate more than I know I should of. On Yom Kipper, the entire country shuts down and the streets are completely empty besides for emergency vehicles when needed. I went for a bike ride/stroll and I saw kids playing soccer in the middle of the main road. It was just incredible seeing all that. For this Shabbat I will be in Tel Aviv and then I go back to B7 for Sukot. I am not traveling during Sukot because I want to explore Israel and this is a great time to do that. I am going to be hosting a few people from other cities that Masa is in and having a good time with them!
So the past days have been nice for me. I have traveled around B7 and explored a lot. I was able to go see the sunrise from the highest point in B7 and I will say, it was incredible and very beautiful. I spent some time at the Shuk talking with people trying to you my Hebrew and I had great success. I had a small conversation with someone. And then when I was at the bus stop on the way back, a guy approached me and started to ask me something in Hebrew. I actually understood him and I was able to respond in Hebrew! And then today in school, I was able to talk to the kids in Hebrew. So I can say that the Ulpan I have learned had stuck with me. I am very proud of myself!
So the past few days was my first holiday here in Israel, it was Rosh Hashanah. I spent it with my host teacher and it was very different than being at home in New Jersey. Her family welcomed me like I was part of them and the food was amazing. I ate some food a haven’t eaten before, such as lamb lung, lamb heart and lamb tongue. They were all better than u thought they would be. But honestly, I felt more at home here in Israel for the holiday than I did in New Jersey. Yes, all my family is in New Jersey but my heart is here in Israel. Besides for the holidays, it has been one month since I have been in Israel and I am feeling very at home here. I am loving it more than I thought and I am definitely feeling at home here.
So the past few days have been filled with fun and excitement. I have now been teaching for 2 weeks and am starting to get the hang out it, in terms of how to handle the kids and where all their reading levels are at. But also because I understand what they are saying, we’ll at least a few words of what they are saying. Being that I am in Ulpan and today is one of the last few classes, I am disappointed that I am not further along than I am but at the same time, I am impressed with how much I remember from it and how much of it I can speak. I am not as afraid to just say what I think is right and then be corrected with the correct term or the proper way of saying it. I will definitely continue to learn Hebrew even if I am not in Ulpan, I will learn it through the students that I am teaching and through every day interactions. Also this week, I confirmed that I am going to my teachers house for Rosh Hashanah and I will be meeting her parents. I am excited to be celebrating this holiday in Israel because Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and being in Israel for it is very special for me. This holiday is a time to reflect on last year and make new resolutions for the new year.