It’s week four here in Israel which leads me to ask you reader, “have you had enough of me yet?”
If you answered “yes,” shame on you! Don’t worry, I’ve invited a few of my Onward friends to help contribute to the craziness that was this week!
On Thursday, we set off for Netanya, which happens to be Cincinnati’s sister city just with better ocean views and overall prettier people, a harsh reality for us Cincy natives. We spent the sum of our morning at Kfar Idud, a residence where over 150 people with various disabilities live. The grounds cover a large amount of land where people can explore, visit dozens of mischievous kittens, or go see the guinea pigs anxiously awaiting feeding time in their pen. If they would like, residents living at Kfar Idud can help volunteer in the flower nursery, work indoors weaving baskets or make “plant at home” soil and flower kits.
People seem to have assumptions about what these types of “institutions” are like, assumptions that are likely both positive and negative. I understand that no place is perfect, but I would like to take a moment to acknowledge how comforting it was seeing the residents appear genuinely happy, a feeling many others wish for in their own lives.
“It was really cool learning about the neurotically divergent living situation here in Netanya. It seems really cool that people from all over the world come to live in the state-of-the-art facility.” – Danny P, Intern at Abba Eban Institute
“I really enjoyed the trip to Netanya. Our morning spent at Kfar Idud was really fun and opened my eyes to a lot of great things. I loved playing games and hanging out with all of the residents.” – Taylor M, Intern at Chimes - The Holland Center
We waved goodbye to our Kfar Idud friends after lunchtime and began our city tour.
“In Netanya, it was really interesting learning about the city’s economic history. I found the transition from agriculture to jewelry as the bedrock of the city’s economy pretty fascinating when we discussed it at the Well Museum.” – Matthew Y, Intern at NoCamels: Israeli Innovation News
Many of us were eager to get a good night’s rest after the long day of festivities because we had an inkling that Friday would be a day for the books. Pride! Various sources have reported that Tel Aviv is one of the top LGBTQ+ capitals in the world. Naturally, I set out to see if these rumors were true while hoping for the best.
Painted with layers of zinc and a face full of gawdy yet gorgeous glitter, I found myself huddled against other Onward participants along the beach boardwalk, a scene that resembled the wild Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. Overwhelmed by the crowd and blistering 90-degree heat, the only thing us Yankees could do was follow the clusters of Israeli locals and the beat of nearby music.
“During Pride, I was able to witness something few others get to experience in their lifetimes. Not only is getting to celebrate equality with thousands unique, but that was the first time since COVID that we were all able to be in a setting like that. Overall, Pride is just another experience I am extremely thankful for having on this amazing trip.” – Brad G, Intern at Linx Market Intelligence
“Being a part of a world-renowned display of support for the LGBTQ+ community is an opportunity I am forever grateful for. Seldom do we get the chance to express ourselves and our love in such a supportive environment. Thank you, Tel Aviv, for an unforgettable Pride celebration.” – Rena L, intern at Zavita, a science and environment news agency
Pride in Tel Aviv was a family affair where allies showed support for those in their community that have been polarized or unwelcomed in society. Even with such a tremendous celebration of love and acceptance, it’s important to note that gay marriage is still illegal in Israel.
Tel Aviv Pride is ahead of the game. It’s time the rest of the country catches up.
“I had an amazing time at the Tel Aviv Pride Parade because 100,000 people from around the world came together to celebrate love. I had such a fun time dancing in the streets with my friends that I made on this trip.” - Zoe G, Intern at The Natural Step