Breakfast, Bat-Yam, and Baku

The class began the day early with an outdoor breakfast in Jaffa. We enjoyed bread, fresh orange juice, cheese, hummus, Turkish coffee, cappuccinos, and omelets before heading off with our wonderful guide Itamar. After admiring the fishermen and walking down the coast for a bit, we found a place on the grass to sit in a circle and reflect upon what we have learned so far and what has surprised us the most. Some students expressed how they expected all Jews in Israel to be very secular, yet after experiencing an ultra orthodox city like Bnei Brak, this is hardly the case. On the other hand, some students believed Jews in Israel to be mostly orthodox, but after walking down the street in Tel Aviv, this again is not always true. It is with these surprises and revelations that our class has begun to see the worth of actually learning about a place and its people from within. Itamar also prompted the class to relate the social relations occurring in our own American hometowns to the conflicts we are discovering in Israel. It was a great time for critical thinking.

The beating sun eventually became unbearable, so we rose and continued to walk down the coast. It was not long before we found ourselves in Bat-Yam, a city just south of Tel Aviv. Bat-Yam, meaning daughter of the sea, has a very local feel and seemed much calmer than Jaffa or Tel Aviv. Bat-Yam is home to many immigrants from ex-soviet countries, and Russian accents could be detected from the Hebrew speakers surrounding us. Some of the street walls displayed beautiful tile art and graffiti which I gladly snapped pictures of. We made our way down to the beach where we sat in a hip outdoor restaurant and ordered food. It was a little hectic, as some orders were messed up and Ivy never got her food on time, but we were having too much fun to care. Upon finishing our food, we went back to the apartments in Jaffa to finish work and chill by the pool.

Tile art on Kedem

For dinner we ventured out to an Azerbaijani restaurant called Baku; it was a wild ride. The entrance was hidden next to a gas station. When we arrived, the server told us that we would need to sit outside, as they were cleaning up the restaurant from a previous dinner party. Surrounded by cement walls and freaky stray cats, we laughed as our strange dishes came to the table. Watery dumplings, bland potatoes, and suspicious juice were among some of the things served to us. It was so strange that we even came up with a plan to escape if needed. In the end we thought it was really funny and couldn’t believe our experience. If you’re ever around Jaffa, take a trip down to Baku on Yefet street. You will not (or you might) regret it.

Ivy with her peace sign trying to pretend like she’s not freaking out

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