This past weekend Amir, Jen, and I made our way to Rehovot, Israel. This is where we will be living, along with one other girl, for part two of the OTZMA program.
A great part of OTZMA is that they provide you with an adoptive family. These lovely people are available for you to go to their house whenever you like/are able to, to eat a home cooked meal, do your laundry, or just relax in a nice, home environment. When the three of us got off the train and met with our ‘dad’ I instantly knew I would feel like I was home.
Both of the parents were born in America but moved to Israel when they were four and seven. It is nice because the language barrier isn’t as hard, but their home is still very much Israeli-styled.
When we arrived at their house our ‘mom’ who was cooking greeted us. It sure smelled delicious. She showed us the rooms we’d be sleeping in and I got really excited when I found out I could sleep in an actual bed. After some schmoozing, Amir, Jen, and I decided to go do a little walking tour of the area and get some coffee.
We landed at this adorable coffee shop on one of the main roads in Rehovot. We thought they were closing for Shabbat but the waitress said she would stay open for about 30-45 more minutes so we could sit and enjoy our time. Amazing.
After ordering the waitress asked us where we were from and what we were doing there. We told her how right now we’re living in Ashqelon but come January we will be moving to Rehovot to live and do volunteer work. She was so excited and told us Rehovot is a great place to live, especially for young people our age.
A little while later when we received our coffees the waitress also gave us each an extra spoon. We were a little confused why we needed to have two spoons per one cup of coffee but we decided not to question it. Soon enough, the waitress came out with an ice cream sundae and gave it to us as a “welcome to Rehovot and thank you for taking your time to volunteer here.” Even more amazing. After the good talks and delicious drinks and ice cream we made our way back to our adoptive family’s home. There we relaxed, played ‘Where’s Waldo’ (which was actually ‘Where’s Ophie?’), went to Friday night services, and came home to eat a delicious home-cooked meal. I could have not asked for a better Friday.
Being the young 20 year olds that we are, we all went to bed by 10:30 p.m. We got a great night sleep and woke up Saturday feeling refreshed. Keep in mind that waking up feeling refreshed is not something I am used to here so I made sure to not take the feeling for granted. During the day Saturday we hung out, read, relaxed, and played a little bit more of ‘Where’s Ophie?’ We also shared in some great conversation with our adoptive family, and ate some more delicious home-cooked food.
I feel the need to just mention the fact that I wasn’t able to watch the Yankees last game of the 2009-2010 season because I was staying with an Orthodox family and could not use electricity. But I want to honor the Yankees with a little quote. “Fans do not stop being fans because their team has lost. We may yell, scream, jump up and down, lose our voices…curse…and some even cry, but we never stop believing that OUR team is the BEST team. I got lucky…my team just happens to be one of the best sports teams in history. We never lose hope that we’ll pull off the big win, make the great play, and ultimately save the day. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee. So, until next season…goodnight from Yankee Stadium.”
Once the sun went down we decided to go to Tel Aviv to attend a Yitzhak Rabin memorial. We thought it would be good to go to since it is the biggest yearly ceremony for him in Israel, honoring both his life and his accomplishments. Unfortunately while on the way there we were told the memorial is in fact next Saturday.
The sherut ride from Rehovot to Tel Aviv is a mere 13 shekel (around $4.00). We were recommended a great vegan restaurant by one of Jen’s friends who is now living in Tel Aviv and we decided to go in anyway and have a nice, healthy meal with some good friends.
The vegan restaurant was right up my alley. They had a salad bar inside filled with all kinds of sprouts, tofu, tempeh, seaweed, and other amazing and unique vegetables. There were quotes hanging on the walls and on the menu, all about social action and the importance of not eating meat. There were especially some interesting facts about how by not eating meat you are helping to save the environment. This made me happy to see since one of the major reasons I gave up red meat for good was to help save the environment.
If you are wondering what some of these facts are don’t think that I won’t share them with you.
– Eating 1 kilo of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving a jeep for 100 kilometers
– You save more water by not eating a kilo of beef than you do by not showering for two years
– 30 times more water is needed for the ‘production’ of meat compared to wheat
While Jen and I were eating lunch yesterday at our adoptive families house we were served some chicken. There were three dishes of it, all cut and cooked in different ways. I don’t know if it was how I felt when I saw the three different styles of chicken, or how I felt after I ate it but either way Jen and I both looked at each other and were thinking the same thing. We just feel better when we are not eating chicken.
I dislike how chickens and other animals are treated. They are given way too many steroids and are always tangled all together in a coop. Meat is bad for the environment when it is produced, and I love the environment. Due to these reasons others I realized yesterday that I just feel better when I am getting my protein from sources like tofu and tempeh.
I do not want to yet say I am 100% deciding to become a vegetarian. I know I am the type of person who once I dedicate myself to a cause I will stick by it. I gave up eating pork 6 years ago and have not touched it since. I have given up eating beef 1 and ½ years ago and have not touched it since. But giving up chicken and turkey will be huge and I want to make sure this is the right path for me to take.
I by no means am trying to impose my thoughts and feelings towards meat on anyone else through these entries. I just want to treat this blog like it is my journal, and this is how I feel. Although, I have to admit that I will never give up fish, so I assume that means I am on my way to becoming a pescetarian. Who would have ever guessed this? Anyway, after dinner I got apple cider and it was incredible: