A Commute To Work
By Margot Lurie
As an intern for The Israel Forever Foundation, I undoubtedly have the best commute to work. I leave Kfar HaStudentim (the Student Village) in Mount Scopus and step aboard Egged’s 68 bus to Givat Ram, which drops me at Tachana Merkazit, or Central Bus Station (CBS). Along the way, many other passengers board the bus; though unspoken, the glances between us feel like “hellos” exchanged in many languages as familiar faces take their seats. I am privy to conversations in Spanish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, and more languages that I cannot distinguish. I once overheard a group of teens teaching each other Spanish while speaking in Hebrew; I consider my time on the bus to be a window into the lives of individuals who are part of the people of Israel.
The best part of my journey, however, lies beyond the CBS. After winding my way through a metal detector and bag x-ray, purchasing my favorite bagel sandwich at cafe Ma’afe Ne’eman, and window-shopping the gorgeous fashions on display at the iconic women’s fashion store Ha’ayin HaShlishit – The Third Eye – I finally make my way to one end of the third floor, where I find the bus company Superbus. Now a ‘regular’, I wave to the bus driver as he opens the door to the building, having aptly maneuvered an incredibly boxy bus through a hairpin turn into the angled slot alloted for the bus platform. At 9:10, those of us waiting for Superbus’ 184 get on board, exchanging greetings and smiles with our driver. I no longer need to explain my destination in my fractured but improving Hebrew – he knows I’m headed to moshav Nes Harim.
The same skills that allow our driver to maneuver the bus in the station enable him to wind the hills of Jerusalem with ease. The view is absolutely breath-taking every time: precise lines of agriculture and crops greet me, the many shades of green glowing amongst the rich red rocky soil. Ancient terraces in the hills create natural lines for the growth of trees; the terra-cotta red shingles of houses peek out from behind the leaves, blossoming from a small cluster to a larger neighborhood. We wind up the hills, passing historic fortress ruins and new houses living side-by-side. It takes me two hours from the time I’ve left Kfar HaStudentim until I reach Nes Harim, but it’s always a gorgeous journey through which Israel’s beauty has again left me speechless.
Being an intern at The IFF means putting all my passion and creativity into projects that I adore. I love Israel and I am so excited to be working towards promoting it in an apolitical and proactive way. I am constantly challenged to think outside the box and to apply skills that I didn’t think I had. Israel and her allies are so frequently forced to defend her and themselves, and promoting Israel pro-actively takes much more thought and energy. Have you ever tried tweeting an apolitical, pro-Israel message in 160 characters or less? I suggest you try it; it’s an excellent challenge in brevity and activism!
In the process, I’ve learned so much about Israel. Between scouring the internet for awesome soundbites – did you know that Israel ranked 14th in global innovation? Or that Israeli doctors brought over $1million in hearing aids to over 1,000 Palestinians in need? – and reading as much as I can get my hands on, I’ve continued to learn about Israel. My work brings me closer to Israel, in every dimension. The people, the histories, the traditions, the land, the state… Imagine working at a job where work almost never leaves your mind, because you’re constantly dreaming up ways to do something you love! When I go to Jerusalem’s weekly Friday Bezalel craft fair, I wonder about how to represent these talented artisans through Israel Forever, or to connect them with Virtual Citizens of Israel. While ordering felafel from my favorite stand, Moshiko, on Ben Yehuda Street, I am focusing on how to get the Taglit (Birthright) participants, so eagerly chattering away next to me, involved as IFF Ambassadors and registered as Virtual Citizens before they head home and, consequently, more connected to Israel.
Working with IFF is unlike anything I have ever done before. It’s exciting and invigorating, and I invite you to come join us!