“Sometimes the only way to create something new is to go back to the beginning.”
Inscribed upon the walls of a beachside café in Tel Aviv, these words echoed in my mind as I walked along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea last night. Listening to the waves gently crash, I felt the day’s weight on my shoulders; I had begun completing my law school applications. Having spent the day preparing for the next chapter in my life, my evening stroll to the port allowed me to connect with my present state of being. The writing on the wall in this café struck me, for I seem to have a special affinity for coffee shops. Not only do they represent places of social interaction, but they also provide me with a place to type, write, read, study, create.
Thus, following my morning beach run, I packed my bags and ran out the door to Rehov Hayarkon. Equipped with my laptop, I spent the majority of my day at a rather unconventional study spot. I am not the type of person that requires pin-drop silence in order to be productive; instead, I thrive while surrounded by energy, life, and chatter. So, I stumbled upon a this gem of a café embedded in the sand…
Symbolically, my time in Israel has allowed me to reflect upon my unique beginning—my Jewish heritage. Perhaps this beginning will allow me to create something new out of my life. After all, it not only connects me to my Jewish background but also my personal foreground. Like many Jews experiencing life in Israel, I feel a strong affinity to the ancient history yet admire the modern culture as well. The convergence of old and new, especially in Tel Aviv, inundates me with motivation to succeed. It not only makes me want to be a better Jew but also a better sister, friend, daughter, and global citizen.
I have come to appreciate the Jewish tradition with a greater level of respect. For instance, I spent Rosh Hashanah in Hashmonaim, a yeshuv in the West Bank, where my friend Atara’s family lives. On Rosh Hashanah, the family and I walked to the security checkpoint, and we delivered copious amounts of apples, honey, chocolate cakes, and other treats to the soldiers working on the holiday. Since the soldiers could not be with their families, the father, David, had the beautiful idea to give back to the soldiers on the new year. A few rabbis had also walked miles to visit the soldiers, and while we were there, they blew the shofar, providing a special gift of celebration.
After having been in Israel for month and a half, I have come to the conclusion that one of the country’s hallmarks is Jewish hospitality. Because Jews tend to view fellow Jews as family, this warmth comes through in many forms. Today, as I was writing this blog, in fact, I had my own experience of this.
As I sat down at The Streets Café on King George St. this afternoon, I ordered my new favorite staple of café menus—te im nana (tea with mint). After about five minutes, some flighty girl knocked the burning hot tea over with her backpack. (Can you tell I’m slightly bitter?) The boiling water flew directly into my lap, singeing my thighs. Inevitably, I was more concerned about the few water droplets on the keys of my MacBook Pro instead of my legs. After the kind gentleman next to me helped me clean up the mess, I calmed down and began to write again. Back in the zone. The waitress brought me a fresh tea and smiled at me with her red lips. I thought that was the end of it, but I thought wrong. Two minutes later, a glass of sparkling champagne magically appeared on my table. One of the waiters saw what had happened and delivered this special gift. Cafes truly are magical…
Wishing you a week of productivity, tea, and bubbly,