Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Matt's blog

Here is Matt's version of our trip!

The Nile!


Sitting on a sphinx outside the Egyptian Museum!

After arriving last night, my only concern was showering. But today was great! Matt and I went to soooo many mosques and the people were really nice. We got hassled in the bazaar and found our we out...ate with some locals, a little boy actually rode his bike to get up food. He was very pleased about it. We went to the museum and wondered into the Modern Egyptian Art Museum, which I loved much more than Matt...took a night cruise on the Nile and had a great day! I'm exhausted!!!!!!!!!!


Yesterday, Matt and I flew to Amman. It is a whirlwind and I will expand later, but we went to Mt. Nebo, which is where God showed Moses the promise land, but of course, Moses dies and isn't allowed to go to Israel. It was incredible seeing what Moses would have seen, but Matt and I both agreed that it wouldn't have been smoggy like it was for us, God would have made the view very clear for Moses!

We also went to a town called Madaba that has a nice church with mosaics.

We headed to Amman and went to an awesome amphitheater, you won't believe the pictures when you see them! Then we went to a mosque where I got yelled on for not having pants on and no women were allowed anyway. But we had a wonderful and cheap dinner and headed for to the airport!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jerusalem for Yom Kippur!

Jerusalem and the Old City are incredibly beautiful, I don't think it can rival the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, but it's still very inspiring to see. After walking around Jerusalem in the morning, we met Monica, our lovely host who is a rabbinical student at HUC. She had made us a great pre-fast meal and I was completely stuffed, although right now, I feel like I haven't eaten for days. 

We went to Kol Nidre services at HUC in the room with an amazing view of the Old City (pictures to come) and listened to cantorial students, rabbinical students, and the first female rabbi ordained in Israel.  

This morning we went to a small reform synagogue close to Monica's house. We walked of course and so did everyone else in Israel. People were on bikes, but NO one was in a vehicle.  We could walk down the middle of the street with no worries, and we did! 

Now, we're biting some time before a Torah study and then more services, and then we'll have break the fast!!!! Just four and a half more hours to go!! =) 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More mosque.

Where the fountain should be to clean before praying, but it's not there.

Another view.

The mosque was beautiful, and I'm sure more beautiful when it was built and in use. They are turning the mosque into a museum, but I think it's a serious problem. There are not any other mosques in Beer Sheva, and I think this should have been restored instead. There are a lot of Muslims here and it would be nice to have, especially for Cuma. (Friday prayer.) The man who was guarding it and let us him was Muslim too, and I think he would have liked it if it was still a mosque...but in a Jewish controlled country, I don't think there are equal voices in decision making...
Posted by Picasa

Old Turkish Mosque


Outside of the mosque.

Totally looks Turkish.

The arches...except no carpet, but I bet there use to be. And the small door facing Mecca.
Posted by Picasa

Ataturk in Beer Sheva??????? EVET!!!


This makes me happy.

My man.
Posted by Picasa

Crazy engineering building and the old "downtown"

Engineering building = old space ship??

Nice little Beer Sheva plaza......
Posted by Picasa

Ethiopian Art

There is an Ethiopian population really close to my home and women make these sculptures/pots. And on Tuesdays they open and the public can purchase things.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 25, 2009

This would be so much fun!!

If the world just sang a little more and hugged and smiled...things would be so much better!! =)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What was I thinking?!?! =)

Today was normal enough. I went to class, went to the bank to get a check card and a check book (so I can pay rent.) I went to workout as usual, went back to campus to buy a book I need to read before classes even start...then went home so I could relax a bit..or so I thought, but I had an email saying that I had mail on I headed back (which was nice because it was from KAYTE!!) Then I bought a tennis racket and played for the next 3.5 hours......

I hope I can get out of bed tomorrow....afternoon?


The produce man gave me a cookie!! I LOVE HIM!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's only 3:30 and today was already SO great!!

Getting up at 7:15 to workout was a great way to start my day!! I came home for a quick shower and ran off to a meeting with an organization that helps Arab women gain their rights. It was explained to me that many Bedouin women are abused, one of many wives, can't gain a legal divorce, etc. Or if they get get a divorce, they are ostracized from their community, or since they were property, their children still belong to the man, and in order to keep/stay with their children, they don't get a divorce. So this organization, of all women, is designed to empower these women to take a stand. Their are lawyers who work free of charge to help this women legally.

This organization also has sub-organizations like the one I will be helping called "Women of the Desert." This organization helps women become self-sufficient. They give classes to teach woman how to sew clothes and then sell them. So the woman have an income for the first time in their lives. It's really awesome. They also teach them their legal rights as women and use the Quran to teach them their rights as humans, mothers, and wives. I want to help them create a website to gain recognition and to also sell their products, maybe even internationally! I will also be writing many grants (in English) in hopes of helping them monetarily.

Naheda and Rina (mother and daughter) are Muslim and Nadia is from Gaza...I am SO excited to be working with them. Nadia was a single mother in just this type of situation, not knowing how to help herself, which later lead her to establish this NGO. They are going to take me to the village soon so I can take pictures and get a real feeling for what these woman are doing and I'll be able to write about it with more passion and clarity, especially for the grants!

After our meeting, they dropped me at an office building, which of course, being Israel, was not successful in what I needed to do, but the building was write across the street from a mosque. It was completely gated, but I found a way in!! It was being renovated into a museum, but I have to go back with my camera, because it was built by the Turks and it looks just like the mosques I am use to in Turkey!! It really was beautiful and the structure too, with the high oval ceilings. I will have to go back soon with my camera!! (Since it was being turned into a museum, there were tile floors, not carpet, so that was weird! But otherwise, it looked the same!)

Thennnnn..I went to the mall to exchange a shirt and I passed an eye doctor, so I ordered new contacts, which was nice, because I am running out and he gave me some extras just to hold me over! THEN, I was walking to the bus and I passed the blood-mobile that is always by the McDonald's and since I was on such a high already, I decided to stop. It was hilarious! I just gave them my passport, he filled out the paper work, asked if I was healthy...and said, okay! He stuck my finger to check my iron, and took my blood pressure. Then I laid down on the bed, a lady sanitized my arm...stuck me...I waited for the bag to fill, I got a juice box!!!!!!!!!!! and I was done! It was two hour event like in the US, just a short 20 minutes! It was great, and a good mitzvah!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Challah French Toast!

I'm sure anyone who has made French toast from challah will tell you that it is the best in the world. Something about challah, maybe because it's a thicker bread, or that there are usually more eggs in it. I have no idea why, but it's fabulous all the time. =)

From the weekend, I was given an extra challah, so I invited some friends over and we devoured the French toast. I didn't find maple syrup at the store, so instead, I bought chocolate spread. Which made it even greater. Plus this was the first time most of my friends have seen my apartment, so that was fun to have them over instead of seeing them at the dorms!

Sorry, no pictures of the French toast, we ate it too quickly. ;-)

Shay Rabineau

This article was in today's Jerusalem Post. Shay was in the ulpan I took at Ben Gurion (except in a more advanced class.) Also, I know the two other guys who hiked this trail with him (his brother and friend) from Ball State. So it's pretty cool!

Steven Battles' music

My friend is making music now. =)

Monday, September 21, 2009

IAN!! and Matt's Birthday!!

Matt's AWESOME 24 candle birthday cake!!

Just blew out the candles, barely before the wind!

Matt and his new friend, the Dutch boy.

This is Ian's friend and Ian...this post has been a long time in the writing, because Ian should have made the blog at least a month alas..this is IAN and he is cool and he is in my Hebrew class and he pretends his Hebrew isn't as good as it really is. ;-)
Posted by Picasa

Address Change - a great start for the new year!

Yesterday I got to talk to my mom and dad, Katie (and Rick kind of,) and NELLY!!!!!!!!! It was a great holiday talking to all my family!! Nelly is so cute, and it almost breaks my heart because sometimes she's so lonely.

Recently I have gotten a great amount of mail!!! I have gotten letters from my parents, Katie, Mandy, Mathis, and Sevgi!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE getting mail. It makes me smile for hours after I have received it, then I put it on my wall and I smile every time I see it too!

But I have a small change in address:

Andrea Wiese
MAPMES - Department of Middle East Studies
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
P.O Box 653
Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shofar and Rain

I always think about Turkey and hearing the call to prayer. I miss it frequently, it was centering and nice. Today, sitting in my apartment, I heard the shofar being blown from my house. After I thought I was hearing a dying elephant, I knew exactly was it was. And it brought the same feeling of reflection and calm. And although, millions of people would oppose my view, I feel like Islam and Judaism are the same, and I have a very difficult time seeing the differences. Of course, there are minor things, but overall, it's the same. Now, after having the same feeling, I am even more convinced. True Jews and true Muslims (and true Christians) are praying for the same things to the same God. Then....maybe two minutes later, it rained. (Only for 40 seconds probably, but there were raindrop marks on the ground.) What a pleasant coincidence, right after the shofar being blown in the desert. =)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

President Obama: Warm Wishes for Rosh Hashanah

I love OBAMA!!

He released this statement about Eid too! (The end of Ramadan.)
"As Muslims in the United States and around the world complete the month of Ramadan and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, Michelle and I would like to extend our personal greetings on this joyous occasion. Eid is a time to celebrate the completion of 30 days and nights of devotion. But even on this festive occasion, Muslims remember those less fortunate, including those impacted by poverty, hunger, conflict, and disease. Throughout the month, Muslim communities collect and distribute zakat-ul-fitr so that all Muslims are able to participate in this day of celebration. As I said in Cairo, my Administration is working to ensure that Muslims are able to fulfill their charitable obligations not just during Ramadan, but throughout the year. On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslims in the United States and around the world on this blessed day. Eid Mubarak."

Rosh Hashana Dinner/Dessert

All the girl...Beth, me, Gia, Hannah, Nina, and Sabina. =) Beth is a great cook and she's vegetarian, so I had many options to choose from from dinner!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rosh Hashana Toast!

Staci's face is priceless!

Mark, the OSP director, saying some nice words.

Yum. =)
Posted by Picasa


"It may be all too true, that the best of us go young. I have spoken with Palestinians who say the same thing. For those of us left to grieve, there is a constant impulse to give in to revenge, to fury, to callousness. Heroism may be nothing more than defying all of these, and seeking, in our feeble way, to follow the example of our best and our lost."

I didn't find the article interesting because of the political stance, or lack of one, but I like this quote, and I think about this often, especially revenge. Why is it so important for humans to have revenge on each other? Why is forgiveness so difficult? And why is forgiving ourselves even harder?

Even something really silly like the movie Inglorious Bastards...everyone I know in Israel wants to see it! But why?? Because Americans take revenge on the Nazis?! I mean, I get it, the Nazis did things beyond most human's comprehension. But first, it's really violent, which I don't like...and secondly, isn't revenge for God or some higher being, or even destruction of one self...if someone is religious, they should technically believe that revenge is for God to take. But by humans taking revenge, I feel like we lose a little bit of our soul, that it lessens who we are every time we want to hurt someone else, even if they "deserve" it. How does killing the person who killed my friend make me better?

The sense of revenge is so intense here. I know that young soldiers die frequently and I couldn't imagine losing someone by means of an "enemy," but not forgiving (from both sides) does not benefit anyone's cause. And revenge makes it far worse and less managable than we could ever imagine.

Virginia synagogue doubles as mosque for Ramadan

This is so nice. =)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just whatever I'm all the way until the end!

Last night we went to this bar to meet some more of my fellow MAPMES classmates. Our social coordinator told me I looked like Jennifer Aniston...I'm sure we'll get along just fine. Today was nice. I got up at 7:15 to go workout, which was a little crazy, I have to admit. Then Matt and I had lunch to discuss some travel plans. Then Matt and Loren and I went to the absorption center and I met the new Israeli Turks (and spoke what little Turkish I could after a year =( which was disappointing because it wasn't much.) The lady was excited that I could speak Hebrew and that I was Jewish and she kept telling me that she was Jewish. (This is probably significant because there aren't many Jews in Turkey, and they're from Izmir, so probably less.) Then we met a large group of Yemenite Jews. I sat far from the boys, it was clear that the men and women don't really mix in public. Then the lady motioned me to follow her into her apartment...then she proceeded to feed me......... and she fed me chicken.........and by this point I couldn't really say no. So I ate...a lot of chicken, but it was delicious. And I ate pita and some other really super spicy things they had...while the boys sat outside with only a little pita. Then I went to make Shana Tova (Happy New Year) cards with some other foreigners. We made them for our friends here, so I am excited for them to get there cards tomorrow at the New Year toast we're having tomorrow, with apples and honey (for a sweet new year!!!!!!!!!!!) THEN...I went back to Matt's so we could finalize our travel plans...and by travel plans, I mean we're going to Cairo!!!!!!! We're flying to Amman on September 29th for 11 hours then to Cairo until the 6th of October. So we'll leave right after Yom Kippur and then spend two days of Sukkot in Egypt. I'm really excited!! =)

Shana Tova from Ben Gurion University

Shana Tova from Ben Gurion University

This video is nice because you can see a lot of the campus...also, Shana Tova means Happy New Year. The Jewish biblical calander begins again this weekend on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year which begins on Shabbat this year. So I have been invited to spend Friday night with a conservative family who is from the US, but have lived here for 30 years. We're going to have dinner and relax and celebrate. Then on Saturday, we'll go to shul/temple. I am really excited to meet their family, the have a son and a daughter who are a close age to me. So, Shana Tova!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I was quickly corrected! Israel DOES have chocolate chips...I just haven't found them yet. And I was told that there is a different brown sugar here. So although people devoured the cookies as is, I think I can make them better!!

(And Gali is going to take my grocery shopping!! אני אוהבת אותך, גלי!)


This was my first attempt at making chocolate chip cookies in Israel. They aren't bad...but the brown sugar here is really wet and sticky. So when it cooks, it almost caramelizes and becomes hard...I don't know how else to describe it. I cut up dark chocolate hazelnut bars because foreign countries don't believe in chocolate chips.

In the next picture, you can see the inconsistency with the is really light and one is dark...almost burnt. Plus, the oven doesn't stay at an even temperature, it gets hotter and hotter the longer the oven is on.
Posted by Picasa

Three successes!

So, I don't really know how well I did on the final. My teacher said "lo tov" which means not good, but she didn't kick me out of class and I am still taking I don't think it was that bad. Or really, it was good enough. So one success! =)

Also, I opened a bank account today, which I need to be able to pay my rent. In Israel, you write 12 checks and then at the first of the month, the landlord deposits the check. Instead of paying every month like in the US. So, now I have a bank account, and hopefully next week I will have a check book, two successes. =)

Finally, I started working out everyday at the gym. I have gone three times so far. It's great because I wear my workout clothes to class and go right to the gym after, I don't even think about making time to do it. We don't have class on Wednesdays, so tomorrow I am getting up at the same time as class and going straight away. Even though I burn a lot of calories everyday because I am walking and riding my bike and sweeeeating in the heat, it is really nice to go and get my heartrate pumping and do a few weights, because muscle mass burns more fat. I love it and I feel great! So, three successes......awesome!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jason from Philly in Haifa!

So, we stopped in Haifa to eat some spectacular hummus and we quickly heard the English in the small restaurant. First of all, you don't hear much English all the time. Secondly, you don't usually see big tall black men either. I quickly realized he was a basketball player who was recently arrived in Israel to play for the Haifa team. Jason, also played in Italy for a couple of years. Seeing this stop as quite coincidental I had to document our meeting...besides, he could be famous one day and this picture could be worth a lot of money! =)
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I just washed a roll of toilet paper with my the beach, there wasn't a bathroom, so I had a roll of TP in my pocket the whole time...then I forgot to take it out......

advice...don't do that.


After two days of no shower and salt water and sun....

This guy was awesome...

This little bridge we crossed...yikes!

We went to a One Love Fest at HaBonim Beach......surreal, really! =)
Posted by Picasa

Government building in Haifa

Corn....on a kibbutzzzzzzzzzz...part of Indiana in Israel!

Libi's car got stuck in the sand...thank goodness for Israel guys. haha

Posted by Picasa