Editor’s Note: Sarah Meisenberg lives in Be’er Sheva and she will play defense for the blue-and-white. She is competing in honor of Ramot Shalom. Sarah is one of the three returning members from the squad that placed 8th at the 2013 World Cup in Canada. The following is Sarah’s reflection on what representing Israel means to her and includes an explanation of why she has chosen to support Ramot Shalom in conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program. Follow this link to support Sarah, Ramot Shalom and Israel Lacrosse.
“In the time that I have lived in this incredible country I have learned many remarkable things about it. I am going to try to tell you why I think Israel is an exciting and unique place to live, and by the end I hope that you can understand why I love living here; it is a place where people don’t say please; it is perfectly normal to yell at each other; the hummus is the best in the world; and when walking down the street it is common to hear Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, English, and French. Hitchhiking is normal and almost encouraged; there are bus stops on the sides of the highway; cars park wherever they want; there are no rules; and dogs are allowed everywhere. People are never on time, and always stop for at least three coffee breaks wherever they are going; and it is quite normal to wear jeans to a wedding.
The list continues: There is never any toilet paper in public bathrooms; whenever you take a shower, the water spills everywhere because there is no lip to hold in the water; and brooms are a common tool used to mop the floors. Everyone calls you by a nickname, for example, ‘Saralee, or Sarush,’ and ‘Mami’ is used as a term of endearment for friends or for a random stranger you just met. In the Hebrew language, there are about 24 different ways to say ‘because’; when you buy eggs from the store, you don’t have to refrigerate them; it is completely possible to end up sharing a hostel room with 75 and 80 year old women; and when the bus is full, they let you sit on the floor. Also, when you are shopping at the Arab Shuk in Jerusalem, people jokingly try to buy you in exchange for their camels because you have blond hair.
More reasons why I love Israel: Shabbat meals are like having Thanksgiving every weekend; you will meet people on the street who will invite you to their homes to eat, or you will meet people on the street who will ask you for your phone number so you can meet up at the park and teach them English while also working on your Hebrew (and this is perfectly normal and not threatening). People are extremely generous with their resources, whether it is with food, time or people; and chocolate milk is sold in plastic bags! I also got the opportunity to live on a Kibbutz and perform Justin Beiber’s “Sorry” dance at the Purim party of the century, and I was a member of the Israeli national women’s flag football team.
I have met friends from England, Cyprus, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Canada, and Turkey while living in Israel. I like connecting with people from around the world that have something in common with me — being Jewish — but I also get the chance to learn about other religions and cultures. For example, in five minutes you can walk from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, to the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
These are the reasons why I love living in Israel and why I can’t wait to represent her in the World Cup. It sounds like a crazy place, but this country is a miracle and is filled with adventures, surprises and wonders. Come visit me.
I am competing in honor of Ramot Shalom, a small but growing reform community center in Be’er Sheva. After moving to Be’er Sheva, I found the community immediately, and I have been involved with Shabbat dinners and other events. The community welcomed my roommate and me and has been so valuable in helping me establish a life and making personal and professional connections.” -SM
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