Shabbat Shalom! Friday was an exciting day!

In the morning, we had a look inside the landscape of marriage in Israel. It is a highly complex system that forces Jewish couples to follow ultra orthodox rules and discriminates against many including divorced, LGBT, and non-orthodox. Hearing from the different couples really highlighted how out of touch these laws are with the average Israeli.

From there, we had the opportunity to choose from three different tracks to experience Israeli culture.

On the Newsroom track, an intimate group went to the newsroom of Walla to meet an incredible journalist, Tal Shalev. Tal taught us about the Israeli media landscape, and also gave us a look into political coverage in the media.

On the Start Up Nation track, we visited the Israel Innovation Center. We learned that Israelis truly embody the concept of Tikkun Olam, or making the world a better place. We heard from four inspiring Start Up leaders from Agrint, Access Innovation, Medivisor, and Hop On.

On the culinary tour, surprise surprise, we learned Tel Aviv has some amazing food. We had an off the beaten path tour of the Carmel Market aka the Shuk. Cheese shop, Yemen foods, hummus, falafel and babka were a couple of the highlights. When Israelis want to go eat hummus with their friends, they don’t say “hey, want to go eat some hummus?” They say “Let’s go ‘wipe’ some hummus'” So next time you’re discussing hummus, think wipe.

After the tracks, we spent time at the Carmel market, a bustling street selling everything from t-shirts to hummus to Israeli Jewelry.

We were treated to an amazing shabbat service with a Reform Congregation in Jaffa. After the lively service, we had a Shabbat feast with all of the JFNA trip participants.