The first Fellows arrive today. Claudia, from Mexico, and Sofia from Brazil had the longest flights so we had the house ready for them a day early so they have a chance to get on “Israel time”. Anna comes tomorrow. Vibha had to delay her trip for medical reasons – she arrives on Friday.
The house in Musrara is ready. Clean as a whistle. Beds beautifully made, fresh towels, a full frig. I’m bringing flowers and fresh bourekas this afternoon. They are so lucky to be able to stay in this incredible home – from 1905. Stone. SO much light. A lovely enclosed garden. (a beautiful place to stay while in quarantine for 24 hours.) And they’ll have a “virtual tour” of Jerusalem via Mekudeshet while they’re home.
The house is within a few minutes walk from East Jerusalem, the Old City, Mea Shearim, and the City Center (and a fabulous music venue called Ha Maskekah) and the light rail and multiple bus lines are down the block when they want to go further.
Thursday is when orientation officially begins. Or as I like to call it “disorientation week.” They will have so many views from vastly different expert perspectives – Jerusalem far and near, east and west. Our Host Organization leaders are each taking them on tours of their own favorite places in Jerusalem – which is really a city of neighborhoods. More on that once we begin.
I’m looking out the window from where I’m staying. It is a beautiful morning. I should be pinching myself that I am here and this program is happening but in fact this all feels very “normal.” Like it was supposed to happen and now it is finally about to begin. I am so grateful to so many people for making it possible. The immediate circle includes Ruth Cummings, our incredibly thorough and organized Program Manager, Elana Ben Haim, our wonderful Social Media/translator Nermeen Shweiki, Maya Halevy at Bloomfield Science, Matan Israeli at Muslala, Melhem Bader at Ibdaa, Elad Schechter at Catamon, and James Snyder and Ruth Diskin at the Jerusalem Foundation, Idana Goldberg at the Berrie Foundation and so many generous contributors. Todah Rabbah. Shukhran.