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The Happy Ending of Romeo (Ihab) & Juliet (Ora) by Jacob Decter

We started off our day with a fun breakfast; we ate some flavorful eggs. Then, we went to Jaffa. We walked around, admiring the scenic views. We stopped by an art gallery that specialized in making jewelry our of clay. We continued walking and we reached a shuk, so we did a little bit of shopping. Soon after, we went to a person’s house, a man named Ihab lives there. We sat down and drank tea as he told an incredible story about how he met his wife and how it played out. It was almost like Romeo and Juliet. He, a man coming from a family of very religious Muslims, ended up marrying a women who came from a family of very religious Jews. It was love at first sight. They got to know each other for a while and decided to get married. They got married without telling anyone, they did it as just the two of them. Months passed and still no one knew. When Ihab got the courage to tell his family that he had been married it did not go well. He started off by telling them that he got married, his family was happy and excited saying “well you’re thirty five, it’s about time!”. Then it took a turn for the worse w

hen he mentioned that she was a Jew. His family was yelling at him, throwing things, it was not what he wanted to happen. He and his wife stayed together and they live happily together. Five years passed before he was even in the same room as his family, they had stopped talking to him for all of that time. His mother began to accept that he is happily married to a Jewish woman. He and his wife ended up making co-religious children’s schools because of the abnormal marriage that they share. More often than not, Jews had their own school, and Muslims had their own school. They created these schools so that children of both (and all) groups can learn to have their own religious beliefs but also to realize that they are the same. It was a surreal and moving story. After that, we went to one of these schools. We met his wife there. At this school, next to the playground, there were many animals. Chickens, rabbits, a duck, a two adult goats, and one goat that was born just two hours before we arrived. It was nice to meet them both and learn about how their religions affected their lives and about how they made good out of the experience by making co-religious schools. After that, we went to the Jaffa market for some lunch and some shopping. Lots of options for food, and an overwhelming amount of bags and clothing to choose from. After lunch, we got on the bus to go to a seminar about deafness. The seminar was led by two deaf women, Tal and Alaa. We learned a few things in sign language along the way. We learned about how hard it can be for someone who can’t hear to communicate with people who can’t sign. Reading lips is hard, sometime body language doesn’t reflect an emotion the person might be describing, and no matter how loud you yell, they are NOT going to understand you any better. It was interesting to learn about their experiences growing up being deaf and how it affected their lives. After a long day, we headed back the the hotel in Tel Aviv. Some of us rested in the rooms, and a group went on adventure with Francie to do some shopping in Tel Aviv. It was a nice walk to the shops. By the time we got back, it was time to walk to dinner. We went to a restaurant that had some delicious food. Good burgers, pasta, fish, and an unusually large schnitzel. When we were done, we went back to the hotel and met in Francie’s room for a group meeting. We went around the room and shared something that surprised us about the trip. Many of us were surprised how easy it was to bond with people that we previously didn’t know very well or at all. It was a great way to end a great day.

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