Arise and Seize the Day

A tour of Mount Scopus – Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Happy Wednesday to all!

I have been quite lax this week regarding blogging.  (A fact that shall be remedied forthwith!)  I shall start with my on-campus walking tour from Sunday and go from there.  Shall we venture on this journey together?!?

Here is a basic map of my campus:  (It’d probably be best to open in another tab/window so that you can compare location to the pictures. 😉 )

Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).  [No complaints, Grace]  Here is my very tall building.  I represent building 7.

And from the other side:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

My room is on the top floor…right tower.  Window on the left.  The one that looks smaller because the blinds are closed.

Here’s the center courtyard in the Kfar.  Chances are, if I talked to you online in the first two weeks I was here, I was sitting out here leeching off someone’s internet.

Here are the not-so-awesome dorms next to us called Bronfman that are on the way down the very tall hill.

Taking a left at the roundabout, the next major attraction is the Jerusalem War Cemetery.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThen, working our way back up another hill…we pass a very large on-campus hospital which students…aren’t supposed…to go to?  o.O  Don’t ask me how that works.  Here’s the sign for it.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Here’s the somewhat ghetto back entrance to the hospital:

And lastly, continuing up the hill, you finally get to (what we think is) the pedestrian entrance.

Finally, the sight for sore eyes…we get to the actual campus!  (It’s like the Hollywood sign!)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWe go through a security checkpoint and spot this building on the other side.  Crossing under the sign:


we go in the doors and are immediately in the Forum.

The Forum has anything and everything you could possibly need in it…a post office, internet cafe, falafel shop, print shop, travel agent, bus station, day spa, barber…etc.  Here’s the escalator to the buses:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAs evidenced by the map…the entire school is one long connected building.  With the Forum being the center, it’s possible to leave the Forum and enter the courtyard which connects two sections and diverts you through a long curve in the building.

There are many signs throughout the confusing campus…but most of them are in Hebrew.

No worries….if you get too lost, you can always find a helping hand in our buddy Al Einstein who helped found the university way back when.  He can be seen riding his bike ALL around campus.

From here, we go up a steep but short hill and find ourselves in the (currently being renovated) Nancy Reagan Plaza.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHere is the other center of the campus.  From here, one can visit the Hillel, the Cafeteria (which I’ve yet to visit but I hear has HUGE portions…I must try this out!- in the Frank Sinatra Student Center), Rothberg International School, the Dean, and many other important people who warrant very important offices in the center of campus!  There is also a memorial in the plaza.  In 2002, security helped a terrorist smuggle in a bomb that detonated right outside of the cafeteria (behind the tree) killing nine and injuring over a hundred.

This tree was left as a memorial of the massacre.

Moving on to happier things.  Here is the building in which ALL of the English-Speaking classes are held.  Welcome to Rothberg!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the logo.  Tis a pomegranite!

Onwards on the tour.  Now journeying to places never visited by Alison’s feet before!  Exiting from the back entrance of Rothberg, I took a right instead of a left and walked all the way to the end of campus.  Here…we find the Canadian sponsored Mount Scopus forest.  Admire the sign:

Here’s the forest.  Isn’t it grand!?

Or something…  Pulling the longest U-turn ever, we come across the Wall of Life.

It is totally tucked away, completely hidden behind shrubbery.  Yet, once at the wall, the view is astounding.

Continuing on along the street, I FINALLY came across my very first EVER view of Jerusalem.  It might look vaguely familiar…if you can’t place it…feel free to scroll up to the top of this webpage and look at the banner.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERALet me elaborate.  When I was here the first time with NFTY (youth group), we reenacted the post-holocaust journey to what was then called Palestine.

Shall we have a short history lesson?  Let’s have a short history lesson!

When the Jews (and others, let’s not exclude the gypsies and the homosexuals…they were there too…but this is a story about the Jews.  Moving on.) were liberated from the concentration camps, most attempted to flock to Palestine.  However, the British had closed the borders back in 1939 when Jews had begun flocking there in the early stages of WWII.

That said, in the 14 years after the war when immigration into Palestine was illegal, over 110,000 Jews were secretly smuggled into Palestine.

Now, I said all that so that I could tell this story.

My NFTY trip was a reenaction of the liberation of the concentration camps.  Our trip started in Prague where we visited Terezenstadt, one of the nicer concentration camps that was a “staging” camp.  Basically, it was the “Look!  We aren’t being THAT bad to the Jews” camp.  Whenever the Red Cross investigated rumors of bad-happenings…this is the one they were shown.

So!  We started at Terezen.  From there, they flew us to Cyprus whereupon we got on a boat and floated around in the Med. Sea for three days.  (The trip could have taken three hours according to the ships captain…but we were running on 1/2 an engine…and going in circles.)  When we finally spotted “Palestine” in the distance, there was joyous singing of traditional songs and yadda yadda.  However, the “British” saw us and immediately started attempting to get us to turn back around.  A plane flew overhead and dropped fliers on us, a boat came in and threatened to physically turn us back around and take us back to “wherever we came from”.  [All an elaborate act, mind you…it was kinda cool.]

We, as a group, decided to stick it to the British and continue on to Palestine.  When we finally docked in Haifa, we had about an hour of celebration before we were hurried onto buses with boarded up windows and given “passports” to fill out…because we had to change our identities.  From here, we drove straight to Jerusalem (we weren’t allowed to look out the windows) and onto the Hebrew University Mount Scopus outlook (though I didn’t know it at the time…).  We were allowed off the bus with closed eyes and a holding-hand chain…  When I opened my eyes, this is what I saw:IsraelAll that said, I was DETERMINED to find this outlook again.  And I DID!  Oh, how the trees have grown!

Directly behind the outlook is the Hecht Synagogue with an enormous chanukia on top.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, shall we call this tour complete?  No day would be complete without Aroma!  Aroma is the Israeli version of Starbucks.

Here’s a fun fact that’ll help you win Who Wants to be a Millionaire some day… Starbucks used to have stores in Israel.  However, in 2003, they decided to close all of their doors and leave the country for good.  Here’s the alternative (yes, it’s a crappy photo.  I am well aware.):

Rounding out the trip back to the Kfar, we examine the shady path that is so lovingly called the Rape Path after dark.  It is a shortcut that seems less steep than the hill you would otherwise have to trek straight up.  It’s great to take during the daytime…but no one’s really stupid enough to take it at night due to the high grass on either side and the strange whispers of “Hey honey” as you walk by.  I kid you not…SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASO!  That’s campus…and otherwise.  Welcome!  (Finally)

That was Sunday.  What a blast it was.

On Monday…I started classes!  However, my Israeli Literature professor was already taking a sick day.  Apparently she had…fallen?  I don’t know.  She had injured her leg in some way and couldn’t make it to campus.  As a result, Monday consisted of me sitting in bed reading fanfiction until my second class at 6:30.

I met up with Esther at 6:00 and walked to campus.  It gets cold after dark…just FYI.  >_>  I walked into the lecture hall and awaited Yoni’s arrival.  (Yoni is my advisor…the awesome one who got me my $780 refund from Hebrew University.)  After sitting in class for two hours, I can safely say that Yoni has no filter and does NOT stay on track.  If there was a visual representation of Yoni’s thought process…it would look somewhat similar to this:

complete with snow to make it slippery and dangerous to try getting back ON track…

That said…he’s energetic, loud, and easy to understand.  He knows SO MUCH.  So, either way, I will learn something…whether or not it was mentioned in the syllabus.

Tuesday, I did laundry and swept my floor.  I also watched Newsies for the first time since 6th grade (Mr. Goolsby’s choir class…oh the memories…o.o).  Two of the songs came back completely…but I was SHOCKED to see Christian Bale running around, dancing and singing in the streets.  Coming soon: BATMAN:  THE MUSICAL!

…All in all, Tuesday was a very productive day.

Wednesday!  TODAY!  Today was quite busy.  I woke up at 11:15 and got ready for my first Israeli Literature class.  I was thoroughly excited to go to this class.  I had extremely high expectations because of my Young Adult Literature class with Professor Johnson at UTA.

Expectations were not met in the slightest.  I spent the entire class time figuring out what I could take instead of Israeli Literature.  However, all research brought me back to the reason I chose to come to Hebrew University in the first place…which was disappointing.

To make a long story short, I LOVE archaeology.  Ever since I was here and found this:

(parts of a child’s jaw) while spelunking/digging in a dig site, I have always wanted to come back and learn more about the ancient city and artifacts hiding beneath our feet.  When I started doing research during the summer into classes I could take here, I discovered a class called Archaeology of Jerusalem.  I desperately wanted to take this class and planned all other class options around the assumption that I would take this class.

Then I got here and discovered that it’s a class that gets capped at 40 students.  I still waited with bated breath to see if I’d get to be one of the lucky 40.  I went in and talked to Yoni who….well…advised me that it wasn’t going to happen.  I am a part time student.  The wait list for the class was somewhere around 120 students deep.  I would get LAST PICK of my classes due to my part time status.  So, Arlene (the administrative assistant) and Yoni convinced me to pick another class (which became Israeli Literature) and give up all hope of getting into the class of my dreams.

Today, right after Israeli Lit, I went to the advising office and appealed to her better nature.  I basically said “I just sat through my first Israeli Lit course.  I cannot stay in that course.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to come up here since classes have already gone on a week and see if there was any slim chance that I could get into the archaeology course.”  To which her response was “Well, did you register for it?”  *facepalm*

I re-explained that I was a part-time student and she told me to drop it from my schedule.  I then kindly explained that I would understand if she couldn’t do anything…but that it was the ONLY reason I chose Hebrew U in the first place.  To which she went:

O.O  Really?

After looking at the current enrollment (44/40) she asked me to sit while she went out and did research.  She came back stating that the buses for the numerous field trips that the class would be going on held 50 people.  Not holding anything back, she immediately enrolled me in the archaeology course and dropped me from Israeli Lit.

I told her she was my hero.

She laughed.

I wasn’t kidding.

From there, I immediately went and purchased the books I would need and got part of the 411 (would that make it the…211?) on what I had missed from class on Tuesday.  (I’ll be receiving the last of my catch-up lecture on Friday.)  So, now my schedule looks like this:

  • Issues in Israeli Society – MW – 6:30-8:15
  • Archaeology of Jerusalem – T – 12:30-4:00

I am semi-glad that this puts me on campus one more day a week…I think being on campus twice a week would drive me barking mad.  Or more mad than I already am.  Which is pretty mad.  So that’s saying something.

I then went to my second Society class…during which I applied for 2012 Graduation at UTA.  It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.  I’m traumatized.  Eep!  Totally not ready for it.

But I guess with this semesters classes all sorted out, it’s time to start planning next semester.  >_>  I’ll write a separate blog post about that.  My goodness, isn’t this one long enough already?!!?!

Also, during class, I helped my mom commit her first (if not, I don’t wanna hear about it…plausible deniability and all that) slightly illegal deed.  xD  I introduced her to Megavideo so that she could watch the season premiere of Castle season 4.  After all…Castle is the ONLY acceptable reason for moms to semi-toe the line on the law.  xD

Lastly!  I had a meeting with the Les Miserables people today.  Finally got some dates and deadlines down for some of the things we’re going to do advertising-wise.  I cannot WAIT to see if some of this stuff actually happens.  With the laid-back Israeli culture and the sheer disorganization of….well…EVERYTHING…I don’t know if everything we have planned will actually happen.  It’d be AWESOME if it did.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Because I went to the Les Mis rehearsal to make advertising announcements…I didn’t get home until about 10:45ish.  So this was dinner.  Don’t judge me too harshly.

I think I’m FINALLY out of things to say.  Goodness.  Thought this moment would never come.

This is probably one of those times where I should double and triple check that it’s saved before I attempt to upload it to WordPress cause if this thing disappears, I’m going to punch a child.

On that final note…it’s 3:38 in the morning.  Can I go to bed yet?


Author: alisonlcohn

Graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications Advertising. Traveled a bit. Taught for two years. Administered aptitude tests for a while. Worked as a Training Associate for Guardian Mortgage and a Quiz Master for Geeks Who Drink. Obtained my Master's in Film, Television and Screen Media in London, England. Now working as a small-group travel coordinator. Nice to meet you!

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