Last night, we had the opportunity to meet with Israeli students from the Hebrew University and Hadassah College. They visited us in our apartment building. The interaction with our Israeli counterparts was insightful. We learned that students at the undergraduate level are usually older and may almost be in their mid-twenties as a result of required service in the military for a certain number of years before they begin their undergraduate studies. The Israeli students also talked about how they are personally affected by the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict as several of them have a friend, relative and/or loved one who is currently deployed in the more disturbed areas of the country. Additionally, we talked about the differences between the American and Israeli education systems. Law students in Israel are fortunate to have the opportunity to begin their legal education at the undergraduate level and finish in three and a half years; whereas in the United States, one must complete a four-year undergraduate programme before he is qualified to pursue his legal studies. Furthermore, final exams at an Israeli institution of higher education are spread out rather than being condensed into one week as done in American universities. Israelis therefore study for one exam at a time. Each of their exams lasts longer and may be more challenging. However, instead of aspiring to a high letter grade, Israelis only have to worry about scoring above a certain percentage in order to pass.
As several of us stayed up late socializing with the Israeli students, this morning’s lecture on Israeli demographics, conducted by Professor Elan Ezrachi, was held in our apartment building. This allowed those who were up late to rest for a while longer instead of having to wake up early to walk to the Hadassah College.
After the lecture, everyone spent their day in a leisurely manner. Many of us worked on our personal blogs. In the afternoon, Stephanie, Carlos, and Maggie went to a cafe. There they enjoyed crepes and worked on their blogs as well. As the cafe was going to close for Shabbat, they went to another cafe near Jerusalem’s old city and continued to enjoy refreshments and work on their blogs.
Per Jewish practice, shortly before the start of Shabbat this evening, Tali lit a candle and recited kiddush. This ritual was observed by Stephanie, Carlos, and Jonathan. The ritual is typically followed by refreshments. Carlos had made spaghetti, hot dog, and kosher chicken, which the four of them subsequently enjoyed. Tali explained that during Shabbat, no work is to be done; one must only relax, eat, and drink.
Others members of the group also engaged in such leisurely activities: David and Hannah visited the old city and each bought a pair of sandals, and Alex and Tedi went for a walk.
– Anuphab Phraewphanarai