More Tel Aviv/Upcoming Excursion to Haifa

In short, life has been still busy but very good. I’ve met a bunch of American and other international friends through the overseas program. If I have any regret, its that I haven’t met as many Israelis I wanted to. One thing I didn’t realize until a few weeks before I got here was that only the Fall semester internationals and the one’s who study all year round live with Israelis.
However, the TAU’s student union has a cool Buddies program where they pair TAU students with internationals. I had dinner with mine, Yuval, the other night and he’s gonna introduce me to more Israelis. Also I’ve reconnected with one of the ex-soldiers who was on my Taglit Birthright trip. Speaking of which, registration for summer trips is coming up soon: any of you Jews 18-26 who haven’t been on an organized trip, nows your time! 10-day free trip- absolutely no cons.
Next week, I will be playing in my second Isreali tournament up in Haifa. My Ulpan friend and I will stay one night and I might stay an extra one… Any advice on places to stay, food, stuff to do etc would be appreciated. I was there for a few hours on Birthright but clearly thats not enough.
Until next time, here’s a photo of a funky sculpture/ writing tool that is part of the Diaspora museum on campus. I haven’t been around the museum yet but thats definitely on my bucket list:)

Overdue First Israel Post!!!!!

So its been almost 3 weeks since I’ve arrived in the Holy Land and until now, I’ve yet to make a blog post. Life has been busy. Ulpan 4 days a week is tiring and having class on Sunday is something to get used to.

Last Sunday, (יומ ראשון ) I played in my first Israeli chess tournament at the Isreali Chess Federation’s headquarters in Ramat Aviv…. yeah thats the same area as my university (only a 10 minute walk away). It was a little bit of a roller coaster.. I started out well beating two strong masters. I lost a tough game against a strong IM Dan Zoler. I then beat an expert giving me a solid 3/4 score and a chance to likely tie for first as Zoler gave up one draw already. Things were looking good for me as I was up two pawns in the last round against another expert but then hallucinations kicked in and I hung a queen… At the end of the day though, I tied for 4th place and won 150 shekels, double my entry fee and about $30 profit. Here’s my up and down first round game against FM Ari Axelrod:

A funny little tidbit was the way I recorded moves kind of ridiculously. I bought an Isreali scorebook: hence לבן (white) is on the left, rather than left of שׁשחור (black). I didn’t know the names of the chess pieces in Hebrew so I wrote in English but right to left:Yesterday I studied the names of the pieces in Hebrew so I shall try to record in Hebrew the next tournament I play here. Much more to come later but for now are some of the few photos I’ve took since I’ve been here:
I just had to show this awesome quote Jack Bruce said in an interview for Uncut Magazine, which also has a incredible 40 year celebratory article on the Allman Brothers. On that note, I downloaded Gregg’s new album that I previously mentioned on the blog on Itunes and he’s still got the blues down pat!!!!

Last Monday, the Overseas Program organized a group trip to Jerusalem. It was cold and raining but it ended up being a great time. We saw a 3D Time Machine Movie, ate lunch at the Shuk ( which has a ton of cheap food,clothes, jewelery, luggage….. etc you name it), toured the Old City a bit, and enjoyed a nice dinner buffet before heading back to Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me but here’s a shot of the Old City from my I-pod.
More Shall come Soon!!