Excited to be chosen for the EDI GSL Experience in Israel

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 3 in Jerusalem: Dead Sea, Hebrew University, and Babies?

My first time on a bus in Israel, a busy mother asks me to hold onto her red-headed baby for a few minutes

Week 3 in Jerusalem

Hi friends!

Laura and I have been finishing up our project at the Commission for Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities. Next week we will begin our work at Israel Elwyn. For information, check out Elwyn's website by clicking here.

On Sunday, Laura and I took the green Egged bus #68 to Hebrew University to sit in on a labor law class taught by Judge Steve Adler. He is a visiting professor at Cornell University during the fall semester. As you can see from the picture, our first time on the bus was exciting! Not only do bus drivers make change for passengers while making left turns through intersections, but passengers who have their hands full might plop a baby in your lap!

During Judge Adler's class, we learned about child labor law violations in Israel. A guest presenter from a union in Israel told us that approximately 70% of small business owners in Israel violate child labor laws. We saw hidden video footage of employers making threats to their teenage employees telling them that the union organizers were frauds. Many of these employers make threats to the young employees or take away their shifts so that youth workers will be afraid to pursue their workers' rights. It was also very interesting to see the variety of students in the class and what they had to say about the subject. Hebrew University is very diverse: men, women, Jews, Muslims, Christians, young students, and older students all take classes together, mostly in Hebrew and sometimes in English.

Over the weekend, Laura and I decided to travel to the Dead Sea, Masada, and Ein Gedi. On Monday, we did the City of David tunnels which were narrow, had low ceilings, and had water up to our knees! Yesterday we did the Western Wall Tunnels. We plan on traveling a bit this weekend as well.

At work, surprisingly, we still have some trouble getting through security. We work in a high-rise government building where we have our bags searched upon entry and are questioned about where we are going and what we are doing. The other day, the new guards decided to ask Laura and me for our photo IDs. We showed our state driver's licenses and our State of Israel Border Control tickets, but the guards told us that we need to carry our passports since we are not Israeli citizens. We were a bit frustrated considering we have been working here for 3 weeks and it seems like every morning we get interrogated by various guards who act as if they have never seen us before and do not know about the Commission at all. All the full-time employees simply swipe and card and walk right into the building. Then we realized that these guards are being extra safe by trying to make sure that anyone who seems the slightest bit suspicious does not get into any government offices. While it can be frustrating and somewhat difficult to enter the building each morning, we both agree that we feel very safe (and that's how it should be).

Tomorrow is our last day working at the Commission. It has been a very rigorous and enlightening experience for both of us. We have a long itinerary planned by Elwyn, so we will likely have many blog posts to share with you in the coming weeks!


  1. Thanks for this post Lawrence! Good to read your work at the Commission has been enlightening. I can tell you are both excited for Elwyn! The picture that goes with this post is very funny by the way... the baby looks like it doesn't quite know what to make of the situation! :) - Irene

  2. Great story about the bus and a great picture with your new friend :D -Erin