The last part of this reflection is based on what I learned from Christianity. This was probably the faith I learned the least about. Having grown up Roman Catholic and gone to Catholic school my entire life, I knew a lot about the faith before going on this trip.
I did learn more about the holy sites that Christians hold in high standards. It is interesting to see the sites that I grew up learning about. All of the sites were extremely crowded. I guess my reflection regarding Christianity can and should be compared between the two trips I did. The last trip I went on was to Italy and Vatican City. Both of the trips I went on are very special places for Christians. But the Christian sites we visited were very different. The ones in Italy were very empty and only had a few tourists. Even Saint Peter’s Basilica was not extremely packed considering the size and capacity. In contrast, every holy site we went to in Israel was packed to the limit. It maybe because Jesus lived his life in current day Israel and not in Italy.
But the reflection is on the tourists and their behaviors. The Christians I saw seemed much more devout and seemed to have a higher form of reverence for the sites than in Italy.
Continuing along with my previous post, I learned a lot about Islam. However, I learned much more about Judaism. Regardless, I learned a lot about the Muslim faith. There was one instance on the trip that really opened my eyes to the Muslim faith in Israel. When we met with a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Kababir.
I found the speaker at this location to be very interesting. He not only was a devote Muslim but did not necessarily follow the strict conservative practices of other Muslims. He also presented the real side of the faith and not the faith that the media portrays in the news. He really represented an interfaith community in his talk with us. He talked about how Islam is often noted to be a violent religion because of its roots, when in reality Christianity and Judaism also have roots in violence.
I also found the way he raised his children to be remarkable. He said he did and was going to send his children to three different schools. He said he would send them to a Christian, Jewish, and a Muslim school. It was not only the fact that his children would be educated in all three religions but the fact that he would allow his children to decide which faith they wanted to be.
His overall message was seemed to be learn about the other faiths. By learning about the other faiths, people are more likely to recognize the similarities in the faiths and not only notice the differences. I learned that the three faiths are more alike than they are different
While in Israel our group met with several speaker who help small business grow. Having never taken a business course but owning my own Limited Liability Company (LLC), I learned a lot out what the next steps are for people who want to expand their companies and make them into large corporations and such.
My initial feelings before going to Israel was that small businesses in the United States would operate differently from the businesses in Israel. My reasoning behind this thought was that since they are based in a completely different part of the world, they are constantly alert to war and invasion, the age of the country, etc.
But I was surprised to learn that they operate in the same way. It would appear that business is business. This really resonated when we met with a group that informed the group on how small businesses develop. They noted that there were six steps toward becoming a company: routine, trigger, ideas, opportunities, planning, and startup. Reflecting on my own company, I found it remarkable how my company aligned with these steps.
During our trip and some of our pre=trip sessions, we learned that every Israeli citizens at the age of 18 has to service in the military. Women must serve at least two years and men must serve at least three years but can volunteer for more. But after their required years of service, they must remain in the reserve forces until they are in their early forties. After their service, most Israelis will go on a few month vacation. Upon returning from their vacation, many Israelis will go to university.
This required military service, based upon Start-Up Nation, is very crucial to the economic success. One thing that comes from their military service is the infrastructure of the business. There is no hierarchal system in businesses, meaning that lower level employees can speak freely in to their superiors without fear of repercussions.
Another thing that Israel benefits by having required military service is a universal understanding of the military. This is beneficial when it comes to job interviews. As stated in the Start-Up Nation and by numerous speakers in Israel, when you talk about what unit you served in the army the business is better able to place you in a situation where you are able to be successful. This is very contrary from the United State military, very few people in business interviews understand what each unit in the military does. And as stated in the Start-Up Nation, even after a military person explains what they did, the interviewer often asks if the person has any real experience. Which contributes to more problems.
Lastly, business gain a lot from previous military experience because in the military the soldiers have to make serious decisions and in a very short amount of time. The best example of this was when the soldiers are in battle and have to make decisions about what to do, all while the bullets are flying.
May 24 2013
May 23rd was a physically exhausting day in the city of Jerusalem and today it was an emotional journey as our group visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. Yad Vashem is a reminder of the historic atrocities that were committed against innocent people, the recognition of the heroes that saved lives by risking their own, and a great reminder of the strength that keeps a nation going. The feeling as I walked through the museum was electric as it was full of life, busy with visitors from all over the world and Israel itself. All the movement was sometimes distracting in the museum but there was one moment when everything just slowed down and that is when we walked toward the cattle car. It seemed as if everything just froze in time. At that moment our group paid respect to 6 Million humans that were murdered in front of the whole world. At the end of the visit one thought stuck on my mind and that was life. Yad Vashem is a memorial to life, and for the hopeful future of humankind..
Today we visited Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The first scroll was found by a young Bedouin boy in one of the caves in the area. The Bedouins are an impoverished community of nomads. Once the discovery was made that the scroll was so important, the chase was on to find even more. I found it interesting and somewhat humorous that because the Bedouins are used to the nomadic lifestyle, they were able to get to caves on foot before archeologists were able to get to them by helicopter to find more scrolls. Despite their lack of formal education, the Bedouins acted as clever businessmen. When they would find a scroll, they would tear it in a few pieces and sell them each for a large amount of money – more than they would have sold a complete scroll for. Although that action would make historians and the rest of the world cringe, I think it was a smart move for the Bedouins, themselves. The extra money is really needed in that community.
One of the last activities that we had as a group while in Israel was a presentation from a speaker who conducts Business in the West Bank. He is a man that is working for a Qatari real estate firm, and they are investing billions of dollars into a new city in the Palestinian Authority. This new city, phase one, is scheduled for completion in 2014. Throughout the presentation, I was just amazed at how much went into getting this task accomplished. The man in charge employs about 3500 people, 32 different contractors, and meets daily with people all over the world to smooth out wrinkles that pop up. If its trying to secure free movement of materials and people from Israel, permits or funding from the Palestinian Authority, meeting with global companies to fill retail spaces within the city center and convincing them that the West Bank is a viable market, or any other number of potential problems that can arise, this man has been able to thus far achieve remarkable progress. Moreover, he discussed how his company has developed real estate on the Moroccan Coast, of which the Qatari’s own 50%.
Overall, from this speaker we learned a great deal about the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, and how that relationship has such an adverse effect on the Palestinain economy and ability to develop. Foreign aid goes to tangible things such as roads and other infrastructure, while the millions of dollars pouring in should be going towards programs or other types of infrastructure to help the Palestinians develop a sustainable and competetive economy. Throwing cash at them continually solves nothing. That is why this new utopian type society, that is already sold out and will have a ton of businesses eventually is a beautiful starting point for Palestine to become a success story. Harvard will come out when the city, Rowabi, is opened and will release a case study on the idea of this newest element of Palestinian society.
A view that I will never forget…
It is quite incredible to see how fast 2 weeks went by. As I am looking back through photos and small mementos from Israel is unbelievable all the things we accomplished. It has now been proven that both interfaith and business (the weirdest combination) actually go hand in hand in a country like Israel.
I personally learned and had the opportunity to appreciate other religions different than my own. I felt a closer connection to my Catholic roots as we went to the different holy sites in Jerusalem. But I think the day that stood out to me the most was the first Friday in Tel Aviv at Shabbat dinner. I had been to a few Shabbat dinners offered by Interfaith at Xavier but this dinner was different. Everyone felt like family at this point and the most touching moment was when Rabbi gave us all a blessing as if we were his children.
I am in absolute awe at one project that was presented to us that is in progress in Palestine. The project is called Rawabi. It is the newest and largest development in the West Bank. As we heard the Speaker give us a virtual tour of this new city for middle class families. Honestly the project at first sounded to good to be true but once the Managing Director, Amir Dajani spoke to us about the mission, vision, and how Rawabi was going to work once it was done made it more reasonable and quite an inspiring project. The profit made is nothing high for those who are investing in this project but it clearly shows the passion people in the West Bank. Now I plan to keep up with the progress of this city though their website.
-MariaElena Juárez :)
The photo was at the water plant; It was warning us not to swim in the waste water at the plant, because some people thought it looked like a pool or safe water to swim or relax in.