Scott Morrison ’14

Scott Morrison ’14 – Tonight is our first night in Israel. We touched down after a long day and a half of travel with the time change included. But the sights we saw in our first hour walking near the old city of Jaffa near Tel Aviv made all of the travel worth it already.

With our rooms not quite ready for us (because the Sabbath ends at sundown on Saturday and they were yet to be cleaned) we students set out to get our bearings and dip our feet in the Mediterranean Sea.
Jaffa Clock Tower is one of the seven clock towers built during the Ottoman period in Israel.

We quickly learned a lot about the everyday culture here in Israel. For starters, pedestrians have the right of way here, so we had to become brave in how we crossed in front of traffic. Israelis boldly walk in front of moving cars, and the cars stop every time, sure enough. We got the chance to peer into shops and attempt to exchange dollars for shekels. We even saw our first Mcdonald’s. We observed buildings and a minaret in the old city, and saw a clock tower built by a sultan hundreds of years ago.

Once to the sea, we took in the breathtaking views of the Tel Aviv skyline and a few of us dipped our feet into the cold sea and felt the soft sand between our toes. We returned for dinner which was quite different from what we are used to in the United States. There was a wide variety of salads, fruits, and pastries of different types. We did not really know what we were eating, but it was mostly all delicious.
Tonight is a little different from the rest of our trip, because Jaffa and Tel Aviv have a more historical than religious focus. Tonight is a night to see a little night life and catch up on sleep before the real trips begin tomorrow at Caesarea Maritima and the University of Haifa.
The cultural shock is pretty big from the food to the language, but you can kind of feel the power that this place has. The antiquity and religious importance permeate the surroundings, and it will only increase as we move east.
We all look forward to what this week has in store, but before I go, I will leave this post with a common Israeli verse, “Tel  Aviv is for play, Jerusalem is for pray.”
– Photos by Ian Baumgardner ’14