First Days in Tel Aviv

First Days in Tel Aviv – Tia Di Salvo, CLIP Onward Israel, Tel Aviv

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since we’ve arrived in Tel Aviv! Time seems to fly when you’re having fun, which is exactly what we’ve been doing. After settling into our apartments, we began to explore the area outside of our new, central TLV homes. Dizengoff street and Sarona market are just two of the many walkable places for us to hangout. Not only did we get to know the area, but we got to know each other. Although we may all have ties to New York (which by the way, doesn’t mean we’re all close to one another) we’re all from different parts of the country. From Boston to Colorado to Miami, our group is demographically spread out and it’s interesting to learn about everyone’s personal neck of the woods.

Tuesday morning, we spent the day at our orientation where we got to really know our madrichas: May and Smadar (who by the way are super awesome). After a tiring day of team bonding and going over program details, we went home to rest for our first day of work Wednesday morning. Because we’re living on our own, it’s up to each individual to figure out how he or she will get to work. Some of us chose to walk, while others ventured to take on the Tel Aviv bus system. The day was filled with a lot of wrong turns, Google maps, and sweaty interns, but at the end of the day we all figured out where we’ll be working for the next two months.

On Wednesday afternoon we left the city for an overnight camping trip up north. After a few too many hours of driving (gotta love Israeli traffic), we made it to the campsite just in time for dinner. This is the first time we got to meet the CLIP Jerusalem group, so it was exciting to once again, meet new people. While we were enjoying our evening together, we received news that a terror attack occurred very close to our apartments in TLV. The shooting took place a Sarona market: a market filled with restaurants ad bars. One of the interns on our program even works in the exact building where the shooting occurred. After assuring our families that we were safe and nowhere near the city, we played ice breakers and sports while remaining thankful to be with one another and have this amazing opportunity. 

While the lack of sleep may have seemed torturous in the moment, it was worth it in the end. We had a jam-packed day full of hiking, rafting, and finally the beach! Living in Tel Aviv definitely has many perks, however it’s always nice to get away and explore everything else that Israel has to offer.

After an exhausting day in the sun on Thursday, it was nice to sleep in Friday morning. Because of Shabbat, we don’t work Fridays or Saturdays. Our first Shabbat in the Holy Land was definitely a special one. Some people went out of the city to spend dinner with friends and family while others organized a potluck style dinner at home. Regardless of what we did for the holiday, we enjoyed each others’ company and had lots of laughs and good food along the way.

This weekend brought an extra special treat because it was also the holiday of Shavuot. Sunday night May and Smadar organized a picnic for us centered around dairy products. The picnic took place in a park overlooking the beach. Our view featured the beach at sunset which was truly breathtaking. It was just another reminder of how lucky we are to be here.

After a very eventful first week, we began to take to a routine going into Week 2. Our mornings and early afternoons were filled with interning while our late afternoons and nights were spent exploring our new home. With Tel Aviv beach being less than a five-minute walk for most of us, we’ve been spending a healthy amount of time catching waves, getting tan, and figuring out every clever way possible to not drag sand into our apartments (where are our moms when we need them). We’ve gotten a look at the cafes, restaurants, and nightlife that Tel Aviv has to offer and I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be getting bored anytime soon!

As you can see, our first few days in Tel Aviv have been nothing less than amazing. We’ve had the opportunity to learn, explore, and begin to create memories along the way. I’m very excited to see what else Tel Aviv and the CLIP program has in store for us.