Tag: Jerusalem

March 15th, 2013

Friday was an extraordinary part of our trip to Israel. It marked a departure from the majority of the trip, which was spent meeting with business leaders and government executives. Instead, we spent the day exploring the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem. Seeing the historic sites was incredible as many of these locations are the places you learned about in Hebrew School that have been around for thousands of years and have historical significance. One thing that stood out to me was that we were able to see the tomb and statue of King David. I was surprised to learn that King David was the only person with a statue in Jerusalem.

This trip through the old city was also an example of how this class doubled as a history course. I learned about the war of Independence and how the Jordanians at one point controlled all of East Jerusalem. This was knowledge I did not previously have.

Learning more about the history of Jews and of this country had been important to me and it was great I finally had the opportunity to learn about it. This also allows me to better understand the current context of Israel’s disputes with its neighbors. The other thing it was interesting to observe was the level of security in the city.
That night was one of the most exciting parts of the trip for me. We spent Shabbat at the Western Wall. This experience was eye opening for a number of reasons. First, it was amazing to see so many Jews praying outdoors in this single place that wasn’t a temple. Second, I had anticipated the mood at the wall to be very formal, with people focused on their individual prayer. Instead, there was a great deal of chanting and dancing. I found joining in to be a lot of fun and felt that I established a bond with the people there, even those who I didn’t speak to. This communal part of Judaism is something that I find greatly appealing. The one thing that bothered me was that even in our modern times the men’s section of the wall is significantly larger than the women’s and considered more holy.

On the whole, Friday was an extraordinary day that taught me a lot about my religion and allowed me to visit historical sites from thousands of years ago.

Class of 2016
Olin Business School
hometown: New York

Saturday, March 16th
I can’t believe that today was our last day in Israel! I still don’t know where the time went.

We started Saturday with a walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. We made our way through the Christian and Muslim quarters, and ended at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site many where many believe Jesus was crucified. The church featured countless portraits and articles with rich history, and I was enthralled with the thousands of people that had travelled to Israel in order to experience the church firsthand. I am certain that during our visit I must have heard a minimum of ten languages— it was definitely hard to keep track.

We finished our time in the Old City with free time in the Muslim quarter, where life continued as normal, even on Saturday. Many shops in the quarter featured both pro-Israel and anti-Israel memorabilia. Never before had I seen “Visit Palestine” shirts featured next to “I Love Israel” t-shirts.

Overall, Saturday epitomized the religious freedom that Israel allows and encourages in the country. As we entered the walls of the old city, people of the Jewish faith, the Islamic faith, and the Christian faith surrounded us. Each faith is present within the Old City, both with freedom of speech and expression. Where else in the world can you hear the prayers of each faith at the exact same time? As much as the quarters are separated, people of different faiths found no issues venturing into neighboring quarters.

As I look back at the week that was, I know that I leave Israel with a much better understanding of the business, the economy, and the religious history. Without the unique blend, Israel would not be the same. It is due to the distinct circumstances that Israel is able to function and emerge as the Start-Up Nation it has become. From the individuals at the IDC Elevator to the innovators at Given Image, there is a quality of persistence. As David Ben Gurion summarized the Israeli attitude, “If an expert said it can’t be done, get another expert” and that was clearly evident throughout the entirety of our trip.

Daniel, Class of 2014, College of Arts & Sciences, Boston

Photo by  Christyn
This photo was taken on November 17, 2010 in Armenian Quarter, Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, IL, using a Nikon D3000.

Waking up to greet our last morning in Tel Aviv, we all packed our bags, shuffled to breakfast, and then loaded the bus to head up North. After an hour bus ride, we arrive at Yokneam, an area outside Haifa where we visit Given Imaging to speak with Rafi Nave, the senior vice president.

Here, we learn about the pillcam—a revolutionary substitute for the colonoscopy and other internal probing devices. The pillcam is swallowed—and takes pictures at a rate of up to 35 frames per second from within the body. After a patient swallows the pill-sized camera, the physician can view the trip of the camera from start to finish to check for cancer and other infections. This company is extraordinary because it has revolutionized the GI medical field.

Over 500,000 deaths a year are recorded annually from colon cancer, and this pillcam can detect cancerous nodes in early stages to prevent them on a wide scale rate. It also encourages more people who would normally be turned off by a tube going in his or her body to get inspected. The pillcam is currently manufactured in Israel, L.A., and Vietnam—but it is distributed in many more countries. Given Imaging is worth nearly 200 million dollars today, and looks to continue expanding.
From here, we traveled to a different, more rural part of Yokneam to meet some people from Wash U’s Yokneam Partnership. We were lead to a rural farm. Not knowing exactly where we were going but trusting our Israeli Yokneam Partners—we students trekked through an area of lush verdure, garden, and avocado and orange trees.

Through the mystery, we finally arrived at a home on the farm. The home of a man named Pinchas. Sitting down in his backyard surrounded by tall flowers and greenery, he began to tell us his story. Pinchas was in the army when he had to eject from his plane midflight. Landing in Syria he was taken captive for three years. In captivity, he was tortured. Both of his legs were broken along with his elbow and all of his ribs. He was left underground in a prison cell alone.

From behind a ruffled mustache, brimmed farmers hat, and jovial smile—he explained that today at age 70, he lives in this home with his wife. He extracts honey from beehives on his farm and spends time with his children and wife. He tells us he is a happy man full of appreciation for life, love, and his country. He teaches us to appreciate every breath, every breeze, and every delicious bite of food. He teaches us that freedom is internal and cannot be stripped from you if you won’t let it. If you can maintain your core values within your mind, you’ll always be free. In disjointed English he inspires our class and all of us left with a renewed understanding for happiness.
Afterward, we traveled still a bit more north toward Haifa for a meeting at Intel. First, we learn about what Intel does and how they create hardware memory chips that are crucial for computers, games, and phones. We learn about the intricate process that goes into creating just one chip—and the expenses, too.

We learn that in the construction room where the chips are made—workers dress up in what looks like full astronaut gear so as to maintain a perfectly clean environment so that not even a spec of dust tarnishes the piece of hardware. Afterward, we get a walking tour of the huge, beautiful facility that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. We see some of the places were the chips are made and organized. Although much of the intricacies of engineering the chips went over our heads, one thing we understood was that Intel is truly an amazing company.
Writing this post I’m seated on our bus. We are traveling to Jerusalem from our day in Haifa. Tonight we will get dinner and adjust to yet another new city. Another day, another city, another experience. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Adam – College of Arts & Sciences – Class of 2014, Boston