The NYU group is now safely settled in our hotel in Bat Yam and ready to go to Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah neighborhood to begin our service trip. We will start by painting and renovating a ‘babysitter’ center for children in the neighborhood. After lunch, we’ll head to the park to do a variety of fun activities with children from the neighborhood. We met today with leaders of several organizations that are instrumental in making our program working with these children a success. We talked about what it meant to be a refugee and an immigrant and began brainstorming ideas of how we can best serve this neighborhood and the children of migrant workers while they are out looking for work. We’re all very excited to begin our work bright and early tomorrow!
And since it was our first day together in Israel, we obviously had to do a lot of introductions. In order for the folks at home to get a better understanding of what we’re up to over here, we’ve compiled a short bio of each participant. Enjoy!
Aviva Stavsky is a senior at NYU studying English and Politics. She is from Teaneck, New Jersey and is a certified spin instructor. She loves Israeli soldiers and sunflowers! Aviva is also our student coordinator on this trip!!!
Keren Sharon is 19 years old and entering her sophomore year at NYU. She’s majoring in Social and Cultural Analysis with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Metropolitan Studies. She’s from Forest Hills, New York and once broke her leg ice skating, “not doing a special move or anything.” Her favorite part about Israel is having coffee on Rabin Square.
Alanna Miller is also 19 and a sophomore at NYU. Her major is Media, Culture, and Communications with a minor in Pre Business. She’s from Hewlett, New York and while has never been on an organized trip to Israel before. However, her favorite part about the country is the spiritual connection she feels at the Kotel (Western Wall).
Negin Hadaghian is 20 and is a senior at NYU with a major in Politics and minors in Metropolitan Studies and History and an overall concentration of Western European Immigration Studies. Her hometown is Roslyn, New York and she can recite MadTV’s “Darrell”/”Can I have your number?” sketch “anytime, anywhere, with no shame.” Her favorite place in Israel is also the Kotel and her favorite thing about the country is the people.
Yael Schonzeit is a sophomore at NYU in the School of Social Work. She is in a 5-year masters program with a major in Social Work and double minors in Creative Writing and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She’s from New York City and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro over winter break with her mom. Yael doesn’t necessarily have a favorite place in Israel because she points out that it’s not about where you are but who you’re with. However, she loves the North and its unique qualities.
David Zandi is 20 and a senior at NYU. He is a Sociology major double minoring in History and Public Policy and Management. David is from Great Neck, New York (wow we have a lot of New Yorkers on this trip) and an interesting fact about David is that he owns currency from every country in the world. His favorite place in Israel is either is grandparent’s apartment or the Bahai Gardens in Haifa.
Dixie Yestadt is 19 and a sophomore. She is majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management. She’s from New Rochelle, New York and loves meditation. Her favorite place in Israel is Tel Aviv- “the art scene is great!”
Hannah Novick is a 21 year-old senior at NYU majoring in Politics and Art History. She is from San Diego, California and spent her entire junior year abroad in Florence and London; she even skyped in on our orientation! Her favorite place in Israel is Jerusalem because it is a “culmination of so many cultures.”
Jack Jrada is 20 and a senior at NYU majoring in Politics. He is from Brooklyn New York, New York. An interesting fact about Jack is that some of his friends call him ‘George’ “even though it’s not his actual name, not even close.” His favorite place in Israel is Bnei Dan 36, stating “I know it’s just another Israeli youth hostel to the rest of the world, but to me, it’s SO much more.”
Lizzie Pantirer is 20 and is studying Psychology and Art at the New School. She’s from Short Hills, New Jersey and has been body surfing in the Jordan River! Her favorite part about Israel is hiking in the Negev.
Jessica Jaffe is from Newton, Massachusetts. She’s 19 years old and is a sophomore at the NYU College of Nursing. She hopes to be a pediatric nurse someday. She lived in Amsterdam for two years, loves working with children, and is “so excited about this trip!” Her favorite thing about Israel is the sense of community and “at home feeling you get from the moment you arrive in the country.”
Rebekah Thornhill is 21 and a senior at NYU. She’s from Austin, Texas (well Cedar Park but it’s a suburb no one has ever heard of 20 minutes outside of Austin) and is double majoring in History and Jewish History and Civilization with a minor in Politics. She is the oldest of 5 kids, one of whom was adopted. Her favorite place in Israel is Tel Aviv but she loves the people all over the country because everyone takes care of each other and makes you feel at home no matter who you are or where you come from.
Ari K. is 20, a rising junior at NYU, and will be posting photos from the trip here on flickr as well as to facebook and keeping a little journal on tumblr. Not surprisingly, he’s studying Media and Communications as well as dabbling formally in art history and informally in a dozen other things. He’s not as well-traveled in Israel as many of the other trip participants, but had a splendid time in the vomitorium of Caesarea when he was an 8th grader.
We’re missing a couple of bios but as soon as we get them we will add them to the blog!!!
Hope all is well back in the States!