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Week 3 of My Study Abroad Trip in Haifa, Israel

Hello Everyone! This week I am going to write about some of the Jewish traditions and holidays that take place here in Israel. Unlike the U.S, when there is a holiday the majority of places are closed including public transportation. This can be an issue if you plan to travel outside of the city or need to go somewhere and don’t have a car of your own. I will start by discussing Shabbat which is the Jewish day of rest. Shabbat occurs every week from sundown Friday to Saturday Evening. Most shops are closed and there are very few buses available. If you need to travel for the weekend you must leave to your destination by early Friday morning at the latest. Many times, people will travel to Tel Aviv early Friday morning when they plan on leaving the country for the weekend because the main airport out of Israel is based there. The first week of Shabbat was a struggle for my friends and I at the International School. We didn’t have enough food to last us, but luckily, we were able to find a restaurant about a mile away from campus that is open during Shabbat. You could say that we became regulars at that restaurant for 2 days. The next holiday that I will discuss is Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. I would say that this is the biggest Jewish Holiday of the year. During Yom Kippur, the Jewish people fast for 25 hours. Some of my Jewish friends from the international school participated in the fast and one of them didn’t use his phone for the entire period. Luckily, I learned my lesson from Shabbat and had gone to the grocery store in advance in preparation for the holidays. Upon my arrival to Israel, I was under the impression that the locals did not mind that everything closes on holidays and Shabbat. After some discussion, I realized that feelings are mixed on this issue. Several people that I have spoken with complain about this because they argue that everyone is not religious and shouldn’t have to observe this tradition if they don’t want to. Additionally, I spoke with one girl who works at a local pub and she has to work every day of the week even on Shabbat. She complained to me that she has to drive her car during Shabbat because there is no public transportation. Shockingly, she told me that when she drives through religious neighborhoods on Shabbat, the residents throw rocks at her car because the very religious people will not drive during it. Personally, I think it would be nice if there was more access to public transportation for those that are not religious or that chose not to participate in the holidays or traditions. I look forward to my next blog post and would like to thank all of you for reading this week. I am traveling to Jerusalem this upcoming week and I will be sure to take lots of pictures to share with everyone. Have a great week! 🙂

My friend Nicole and I
Mt. Carmel National Park

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1 Comment

  1. Great information Brendan. I feel we are all being educated from your trip to Israel. Again, thank you for the weekly update and lessons.


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