Hey Everyone! My name is Juliet Supowitz and I was lucky enough to participate in Career Israel from January to June 2020. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2019 with an exciting post-graduate plan to teach English as a Foreign Language, but my first stop was Tel Aviv. This is where my story begins.
In summer 2019, I went on Birthright Israel where we were told about the different opportunities that programs like Israel Experience had to offer. There was nothing about a 5 month stint in Tel Aviv that didn’t appeal to me, so I applied. With one of the top tech industries in the world, I knew I would have ample opportunity to work in a sector that’s vital in every vocational field. In addition, it was an incredible way to connect with people from all over the world, as my group had a diverse group of young Jews from Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and North America.
I interned at GKPR, an international public relations firm that works with a range of businesses, from some of the biggest technology companies in the world to local startup’s just getting off the ground. Even though I only worked in the office for 6 weeks before going remote, I was thrilled with the experience. My office was located in a WeWork, which was a unique and expansive experience that allowed me to branch out beyond my company (I’m also a sucker for fruit infused water, available on every floor). Once restrictions were put in place my internship went online, and my office became Beit Leni. Working from home taught me valuable attributes I did not expect to acquire prior to arriving in Israel, but the world is changing rapidly and the skills I learned at the beginning of the COVID era will surely benefit my future.
Our last weekend of freedom was Purim (ladybug/bee wings not pictured), although it was scaled down comparatively because of the looming threat of a lockdown. The Career 28 group had spent a fun and action packed 6 weeks together, full of Shabbat dinners, a trip down south, Ulpan classes, beach sunsets, and lots of bonding. When we first got news of the lockdown, the Career Israel team provided us with a care package and was available 24/7 to answer any questions that we had. Things changed, but we made the best of it. Dinners and gatherings still happened, either outside or in smaller groups, and Career managed to get us on our North trip despite all the roadblocks.
It was scary; nobody knew how long it would last or how bad it would get, and everyone was left wondering what to do next. There was no universal way to correctly handle this, the situation was unprecedented and its effects were as extensive as any crisis the world has ever seen. Those are facts that would not change no matter where I was in the world, so I decided to stay and wait out this mess in Israel, not knowing how long it would last or how bad it would get, but sure that this was the right way for me to handle it.
The rest of my Career Israel experience was unforeseen, but extremely positive. Because of the lockdown, all the people living in Beit Leni had ample opportunities to socialize with groups other than their own, and meet other like-minded young professionals from all over the world. Through the different phases of restrictions we discovered great ways to safely enjoy Tel Aviv, the beach being an unparalleled prospect for socially-distanced-fun. There’s a great balcony and outside space at Beit Leni, and it’s right next to a big beautiful park, and the housing is in a supreme location…so even when there are rules in place about how far from home you can travel, residents have an array of spectacular restaurants to take away from (Miznon is my personal favorite, and the spicy red sauce at 6 shekel falafel is otherworldly).
Most importantly, I felt extremely supported. The team at Career Israel and Israel Experience were always available, open for feedback, and extremely adaptable. With no precedent, they were able to guide us through the beginning of the Corona crisis…and we didn’t just make it through, we thrived. I promise, you will too.
And I’m still here! After Career Israel 28 ended, I moved to Kishor Kibbutz in the Western Galilee, a community for adults with special needs, where I work in resource development. I’m going through the process of Aliyah, and plan to move back down to Tel Aviv next year and get my masters at TAU. There’s not one aspect of my Israel experience that I could have predicted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m extremely grateful to have been so lucky during these unforgiving and trying times. Thank you Career Israel, for the opportunity of a lifetime.