Our Second Day in Jerusalem

24 May

We began our second day in Jerusalem with our first taste of Professor Lefkovitz’s literature class. We inaugurated it by talking with Dr. Elan Ezrachi about the role of vision and imagination on the creation of the Israeli state. The discussion, which lasted around an hour, centered on perceptions of the “old” and the “new” Jew and how the Jewish population has changed within the past 130 years. As a non-Jew in a diverse student group, it was personally interesting to hear many distinct opinions about what each person thought the Jewish state represented, and what it represents now, along with how Judaism, as a cultural mark, has changed. We then officially began our literature course by going over Yehuda Amichai’s “When I Was Young, the Whole Country Was Young,” which furthered our analytical understanding of what it means to be an Israeli citizen in a newly funded country.

Following class, we were given some free time for food and drinks before meeting up with a group of students coming from University of Colorado. The students, all from different majors ranging from the German language to International Affairs, are participating on a trip similar to ours focused on learning about the conflict via direct dialogue with both Israelis and Palestinians. As such, they were able to get permission from their home university to go into several parts of the West Bank and meet up with diverse personalities that would allow them to give a face to the conflict. We compared our programs and shared discussions during a joint lunch and a tour of the “new” Jerusalem, where we were given a brief history of the expansion from the old city into what is now considered modern Jerusalem. We were also able to explore the Mahane Yehuda market, where both locals and tourists often visit for fresh food, species and other basic household items.

Students from Northeastern University and University of Colorado during lunch.

Students from Northeastern University and University of Colorado during lunch.

Nuts and dried fruits from the open market

We ended the day with my personal favorite activity. After a long day* of class, eating, meeting up with other American students, and touring around Jerusalem, we went back to the Mamilla Pedestrian Mall to meet up with Mike Brown and Anthony Silkoff, the founder and a representative of the One Voice movement. The One Voice movement is an organization started to promote peace talks between Israel and Palestine and to educate the youth from both nations about the possibility of the two-state solution. It educates 18-30 year olds to be advocates in their own communities for the creation of a Palestinian state, which would allow for peace between the two communities as it is the closest representative of what both societies desire.

After collectively combinging our in-class studies, we were able to further see them exemplified in Jerusalem itself with our walking tour and again with our discussion with Mike and Anthony.

– Maria Amasanti


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