Sivan’s Onward Israel Experience

Tags: Federation, Onward, Israel, Overseas, Young Adults, Women, Blog, I-connect

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Meet Sivan. She’s a Cleveland native, but this summer she’s living and interning in Israel! Sivan is a participant with Onward Israel Cleveland, a program that allows 20-25 year olds to spend their summers living and interning for 8 weeks in Tel Aviv. Follow Sivan’s journey every week to see all the amazing things she’s doing while in Tel Aviv! To learn more about this experience, visit our I-connect page.

by Sivan Mills

Week 1

Arrived for orientation in Jerusalem. Here is Jennifer K. sitting outside enjoying the sun before during registration!

First iced coffee in Israel!! These iced coffees are reason enough to love Israel!

First night in the Hostel where we stayed for one night during orientation. Here is Alex R. getting ready for bed with all her luggage for the next two months.

Week 2

On Wednesday we took a trip as a group to the Negev and got to each make soap from scratch! This is the final product and it works amazingly!

Then we drove to Beitshevit to listen to a speaker explain her experience creating a social business by working with a group to change the community. Sydney K. was playing in the water outside the building before we headed off to our next stop.

A short bus ride later we made it to the caves to go hiking. Sarah K. and Ariel S. were sitting here getting excited to start the hike!

Another moment from inside the caves of Sam A. and Maxie N. exploring!

After a short hike, we made it inside the caves and got to crawl through them or explore around. The caves were amazing and so extensive! It was interesting to get to learn the history as well as explore them. Here is Lindsey A. and I inside the cave.

Week 3

Before work one day, Abbie C. and I went exploring in Tel Aviv. This is the temple right around the corner from us.

Before work every day, I have been running to the beach and then exploring. I found this great view from the beach.

Here is another gem I found while exploring around the beaches. The different sculptures all around are breathtaking.

After rappelling down the cliff we got to look out over this amazing view. Here I am standing on top of the rock looking out.

As a group on Wednesday, we all got to rappel down a cave. Here I am half way down. It was amazing getting to do this activity.

Here is Jen K., Sarah K., and I standing on top of the cave before we rappelled down.

Roommate bonding on top of the mountain. Jen K. and I taking in the scenery.

Week 4

Shabbat Shalom from our sister city, Beit Shean! Friday night we got all dressed up and went to this park for a drum circle and dancing!

Jen K. and I were pretending to play the drums and clearly Jen thinks I'm doing it wrong.

Black is in right now clearly. We all had such a nice Shabbat together and it was so peaceful in Beit Shean.

On Saturday we hiked over to the ruins and got a tour of them. They were really cool and were apparently only uncovered semi-recently. Here is Sam S. and I overlooking some of the ruins.

This was one of the more well-preserved section of ruins. This is where the plays and shows were held.

On our Wednesday trip this week, we went to Haifa. It was beautiful! This was taken from the roof of an art gallery we went to.

After the art gallery we went to this old mosque to get a taste for the different religions in the area.

We took a quick stop to see the Bahai gardens in Haifa. Here is Samantha A., Mitch N., Ali H., and I with the gardens and water in the background.

Carbo loading!! We ate this amazing lunch at a Druze house outside of Haifa. The food was amazing and we all ate so much we couldn't move after!

To burn off some of the massive amounts of food we ate, we took a short hike to go see an old temple. The hike had all these stunning views of the water. Here I am doing a handstand on top of a bench on one of the overlooks!

Week 5

This weekend we took a trip to Nitzana and got to go biking through the desert. Here is Brooke A. and Lindsey A. about to go biking.

We got to pick and eat these home-grown grapes which were so tasty!

During the day, Jen K. and I walked around the desert to explore. There were the coolest views!

Shabbat in the desert was beautiful and we had a small service on top of the hill. Lindsey A. and I took pictures on top of the hill.

On Monday we had an Onward Israel connections conference and the food was amazing!

Week 6

On Friday we went to the art market in Tel Aviv. All my roommates and I bought these arm bands to match. Here is Ali H., Jen K., and Abbie C. modeling their arm bands!

Here is another picture of is modeling our arm bands. This is Ali H., Abbie C., and I posing for the camera!!

In the market on Friday, we also saw this woman dressed head to toe as a fairy. After we put a few coins in her basket, she gave us these masks to wear for the picture. Here is Ali H. and I posing with her.

I met up with my little sister on Tuesday and the two of us shared a falafel plate for lunch. It was so fun getting to meet up with my sister in a foreign country.

After lunch, my sister group went to the beach so the two of us got to walk along the beach and catch up together.

Here is one more picture of my sister and I going into the water for a bit together.

I went for a walk with some friends and this fountain in Dizengoff with the big buildings in the back was beautiful. We sat and people watched for a while.

Week 7

On Saturday, we went to the Yafo beaches! Yafo beaches have a very different vibe than the ones in Tel Aviv. It was cool exploring new parts of the city!

It's the baby turtle from Finding Nemo! Abbie let me see her work for a few minutes and I got to hold a baby turtle. It was the most amazing thing. The turtle clearly loved me based in its facial expression.

Here is a view of the Bahai Gardens from the top!

On Tuesday before work, Abbie C. took me to where she works and the beaches were amazing. There was nobody to be seen for what felt like miles!

Here is me casually doing a handstand on my private beach.

We also explored the wildlife and felt the need to pick up this jellyfish! It was so slimy and yet so cool. Here is Abbie C. looking grossed out while holding the jellyfish.

On Wednesday we went to Jerusalem and I got to help make the bread on our food tour. Hats off to me because I didn't burn it. Israel is making me into a chef!!

In Jerusalem we went on a underground water hike. Here is Spencer Y. and Madison K. walking in the tunnels.

Here I am walking in the tunnels! The water was freezing which was very refreshing after a long day in the sun.

While in Jerusalem we also went to go pray and see the Western Wall. Here is Sydney K. And I after we prayed at the wall.

Week 8

Sydney K. And me on the roof of our place in Acre watching the sunset!!

After the sunset Sydney K. and I went to a fancy dinner overlooking the ocean. Best dinner I have had in Israel!

In the morning after Acre the three of us went to Tzvat to see the artist market!

Before work on Tuesday, Madison went to the deserted beach to swim! It is my new favorite place in the world!

Madison K. met us in Acre so we took her on the speedboat – mostly so we could go again!

Dipping my feet in the water and loving it!!

Under the umbrellas!

The roommates of apartment 3 get all dressed up for one more fancy dinner together.

Week 9

Leaving my amazing co-workers at the clinic! Here I am on the last day at my internship with the doctors and other staff! It was an amazing experience to learn and be a part of the amazing work they do for refugees in Israel.

Apartment 3 takes a trip to see Abbie's work, but mainly to see the turtles!

We went to watch the sunset on the beach as an apartment because we are going to miss how beautiful they are when we have to leave.

We had a farewell night on the beach as a program and here is Sydney K. and Brooke A. sitting on a tapestry enjoying the beach at night.

Just a simple example of how stunning a sunset in Tel Avis truly is!

Our last beach night as an apartment obviously entailed goofing off in the water and pushing each other in! I am so sad to be leaving the my quirky apartment.

Believe it or not we went swimming between those rocks after we took these pictures.

Here is Abbie C. and Ali H. being goofy on the rocks!

Some of my apartment roommates took a day trip to our favorite beach outside of Tel Aviv where we swam and ate lunch in total privacy!

Here is Abbie C. and I being weird at her beach!

The moment we all dreaded...Leaving Tel Aviv. I had the best roommate and couldn’t have imagined living in the holy land with anyone else!

Bye to this amazing place and city! Thanks for an amazing summer that I truly will never forget! Tel Aviv, I will be back!

Sivan Mills is a student at University of Pennsylvania. She is currently interning at the Medical Clinic for African Refugees, an umbrella organization for harnessing low-cost and effective innovation to improve the health of the migrant community in Israel.

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