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To begin, I want to say that I love Israel and the Israeli people so much.

To begin, I want to say that I love Israel and the Israeli people so much. Although you would not be incorrect by assuming the stereotypical “Israeli” is the manners and behavior in which Israelis would uphold, but you would not be correct either. I remember that before we left, Rabbi Litcofsky sat down our group and showed us cartoons illustrating the differences is Israeli culture and American culture, and addressed the stereotypes that Israelis are often labeled with. At that time, I thought of this as an overreaction and that they can’t be that different from Americans. However, after being here for about 2 weeks, I can say that I was wrong, but in a good way.

So far, most of my interactions with Israelis have been in town. There, I have received nothing but smiling faces when they learn that I am an American interested in learn about the country they love and call home. In restaurants they will be accommodating; having someone translate the menu to us and deal with our problems of not being able to read the bill. Recently, we stayed in a youth hostel when we hiked to Masada. Here, I had my first real interaction with other Israelis my age. Typically, most Israelis know enough English to communicate with us, which is good because then we are able to have basic conversations, since most of us don’t know Hebrew. We sung songs together, danced, and overall had a great time. I am not going to lie though, they definitely made gestures and were much more forward about the amount of fun they were having and things of that sort, but nothing that a little laugh couldn’t shake off. I have connected with some of them of social media, and I am so excited we will be able to stay in touch!

A typical stereotype of Israelis is that they are pushy, and this would not be wrong. I have walked into markets where they wave produce around my face, saying 30 shekels. I walked into a clothing store in town, where my friend complimented the workers pants and she proceeded to take them off so she could try them on. As an American, this was a very different scene from the typical grocery store or American clothing store. However, this does not mean that I did not enjoy the experience or want to change it in anyway. It's something that I have become accustomed to. Now, I will quickly say “lo” or “can” depending on response to the situation. You just have to remember that there is no ill intent, and everything that they are doing that is foreign to us, is out of the good in their heart. Going into week 3, all I have to say is I cannot wait for what’s to come!!