56 days later, our experience in Israel has come to an end. We just packed up our bags and cleaned out our rooms before heading to the airport to catch our various flights back home and around the world. Not all of us are going back to the states right away, but what matters is we all finished our Israel journey together.
Before we could officially make our way back home, we had to make a few important goodbyes: to our workplaces, our madricha, Eden, and to our respective internship coordinators.
Most of us went back into the office for one last day this past Sunday and said farewell to our bosses, co-workers, and fellow interns. It was bittersweet because we had the chance to reflect on our work and contributions over the last few weeks but also had to leave behind our new acquaintances from work. Some of our employers left us with parting gifts, like a company hat or a framed picture from a team-building event, but we all left with invaluable experiences that will surely make an impact on our future career paths.
Sunday evening and Monday afternoon was our final programming session with Eden and the internship coordinators. Sunday we met at our apartment for an activity where we agreed or disagreed with simple statements about Israel, more specifically our summer in Israel (i.e: Israel’s public transportation is good), and then argued our varying point of views. This all was just a preface for our Monday at BINA, a day of reflection.
Our trip debriefing session lasted a few hours at BINA, where we had spent so much time this summer participating in programs. We started the day by expanding upon what we appreciated about and learned from our internships. This was very eye opening to a lot of us because we all heard bits and pieces about our jobs this summer, but this really made us think hard and open up about everything work-related. Then we did the same thing but for the program as a whole and the group activities Eden planned for us. We wrapped up the day by passing around anonymous compliment notes to each other that finished sentences that Eden wrote out for us (i.e: Something I admire you for is…). Everyone wound up with multiple notes and I thought it was a really sweet way to conclude our time together.
When it came time to leave Tuesday, it felt rushed and abrupt. It was a hard reality to face, but soon enough the 32 of us wouldn’t be seeing each other every day. We were all heading in different directions, with a few participants extending their trip and others headed off to school soon, but it’s not like it’s goodbye for long. The last several weeks bonded our group together so much that it will be hard not to reach out to fellow Onward participants any time we’re in Cincinnati.
Be on the lookout for a trip reflection at the end of the month!
Name: Hannah Zeidenstein, senior at Kent State studying Fashion Merchandise
Hannah interned for Shahar Avent, a local couture and bridal designer. Hannah was Shahar’s first ever intern and she took so much away from her experience. She helped out with all things merchandise, website/social media and styling the models. Hannah was able to also work with the studio manager, Karin, and Shahar’s five seamstresses. She loved every aspect of her job but especially appreciated being a part of Shahar’ big photoshoot for her latest collection.
“Just watching [Shahar] design was so amazing and inspiring. She made me love fashion all over again and I can’t thank her enough.”
Name: Noah Stern, junior at Ohio State studying Urban Planning
Noah spent time this summer working with Kedma Solar, an energy group eyeing to take advantage of “Israel’s greatest natural resource,” the sun. Noah’s work experience was one of the group’s most unique in that travel and physical work was commonplace. Noah would get new assignments each day consisting of panel installations and maintenance work that sent him all around the country. His favorite part of the job was the few times Noah’s was able to fly a drone overtop roofs with Kedma’s panels on them.
“My work experience this summer with Kedma has opened my eyes to the renewable energy industry and made me change the way I think about urban planning.”