Happy Hanukkah from Israel

Dear friends and family,

Happy Hanukkah from Israel!! In the United States, some families have a tradition of sending “update letters” to let their family and friends know what they have been up to in the past year. I thought it would be nice if I did the same since I’m so far away and half of you may not even know what I am doing over here in the majestic Jewish homeland!

2012 has been a busy year for me. I have grown quite a bit from living on my own in a foreign country.  After graduating from UCLA, I initially came to Israel to pursue a five-month internship program called Career Israel.  After falling in love with the country, I decided to move here to gain full-time work experience and delight in the cultural richness.  Many of my friends from the internship program also stayed, so I have created a family of friends here, which adds a very warm, comforting element to my experience.  I currently live with Kesem, one of my best friends from Career Israel.  We live in a stunning, renovated apartment in central Tel Aviv, right across the street from Shuk Ha’Carmel—the city’s famous outdoor market overflowing with spices, toasted nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, glimmering tapestries, and more.  (This is where we get our groceries every week!) Also, my best friend, Atara, and her husband, Uri, are our neighbors!

I typically start my day with a run along the Mediterranean Sea and then take the train to Netanya for my workday.  I work for d&a Visual Insights (www.dainfo.com)—a business intelligence company (similar to a consulting firm).  As the Marketing & Communications Analyst, I have gained invaluable experience in competitive analysis, project management, business transactions, and more. I absolutely love my company! With approximately thirty-five employees in the office each day, my company’s intimate size allows me to learn volumes and truly get to know my coworkers. I have made lifelong friends from across the globe at my company.  At lunch, we gather around the conference table and chat (in Hebrew!).  After work, I usually come home and cook a healthy dinner with my roommate and then maybe explore the streets of Tel Aviv to enjoy dessert or a drink at one of the local cafés.

This year featured many milestones for me; here are a few highlights.  In 2012, I:

  • Ran the Nike Night Run—a 10-kilometer race with 20,000 fellow Tel Avivians
  • Earned a raise in my salary
  • Taught myself Hebrew – I’m almost fluent now!!
  • Published my company’s first international press release – Click here to read my article
  • Signed my first apartment lease for my apartment (independent of my parents—growing up!)
  • Published multiple articles for TasteTLV in the Jerusalem Post (Click here to read a sample piece) – This was for my internship writing for an Israeli food review company, www.tastetlv.com — a great way to get to know the city!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I appreciate all of your support throughout my life, and I am so thankful for you.  I miss you, and I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. I hope you have a wonderful new year filled with marvelous memories, lively laughter, and healthy happiness!

Much love,