Tuesday, July 15, 2008

JLM if I forget you

Am finishing up things in JLM today and head back to Haifa this afternoon. In my travels the last 2 weeks I think I have discovered a secret that will help facilitate peace in the middle east. In the words of an old advertisement, I would like to buy the Middle East...a deodrant! I am confident that the small gesture of buying everyon one in Israel and the greater Levant region a stick and require them to shower and use it daily would greatly help faciliate an air of cooperation and greater tolerance. If you have ever sat on a public bus in Israel, Turkey or behind the green line uin the summer time, you know what I mean! But I digress.

Yesterday was Hebrew Univ. day for me where I spent the day meeting with Several Profs in the Comm department to talk about my research and academic life in Israel. Also spent time in the library and working with my friend Oren and exploring Orthodox use of the Internet. Last night we ended the day with some of Oren's friends watching a very silly movie and eating non-kosher pizza (the pepperoni is made of beef as pigs are not able to live on israeli soil). Now it is off to meet with an Israeli Scholar who works on Shas & Sephardic Judaism. More later


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back in Eretz Yisrael

So I have now been back in Israel for a week and it has been a full one at that. Landed in TLV July 5 and spent 24 hours with a friend in JLM mostly visiting the mall for some esentials and then doing a facinating interview with the editor in chief of Aish.com. Sunday night I headed to Herzylia and visited friends there for a few days while attending a conference at IDC on Communicating Across Borders. On Wednesday I headed to Haifa an settled into the dorms in CRI so Thursday I could get down to work. On Friday I headed back to JLM for a working shabbat with my friend Oren as we together are trying to explore the Jewish Orthodox use of the internet. Yesterday I headed to the UltraOrthodox neighboorhood of Rama Eskhkol for another interview with a couple who are religious web designers and then to the old city to meet a dear friend Ina from Scotland visiting Israel this week. We had a good catch up after not seeign eachother for 1.5 years, wandered the old city together and visited her favourite artist Motke Blum and slurgged and bought art! Today I head to Hebrew Univ for meetings while my friend Oren lectures on fandom in a class on internet culture. So as you can see never a dull moment!

What I learned in Turkey

Well due to computer filtering issues I wasn't able to blog in Turkey and have been so busy my first full week in Israel that I am way behind in blogging, so this is a catch up entry on my time in Istanbul.

What I learned in Turkey:

- My name Heidi sounds like the Turkish phrase for let's go, so when I was introduced to new people, they took much joy in saying, "Heidi, Heidi"!
- I love the Asian side of Istanbul, which has a much slower pace of life, but the European side though it has the history and grander architecture is too crowded for me.
- Come to Turkey to eat great meat and salads, but for those with a sweet tooth the selection of deserts is somewhat disappointing.
- I love Turkish coffee, but can live without Turkish delight!
- The Turkish people are very friendly and helpful esp. to people like me with no Turkish and a deficient sense of directions.
-Having a cell phone and a local friend to call for help is essential when travelling!

I successfully managed to navigate public transport in Istanbul on my own on several occasions and excet for getting lost in the new town for 2 hours on the 4th of July manag4ed to get aroudn quite successfully. Some of my trip highlights were:

-A Bosphorus cruise with my friend Rebekah (who I knew in Scotland) and her 3 month old Emily.
-Visiting the Haya Sophia and marveling at the grand architecture and mosaics.
-Eating dinner with Nuri's family and learning about the Muslim celebration surrounding the conception of Muhammed.
-Attending a concert of a Band led by Rebakah's husband Charles at a coffee shop in a 7th story bulding and watching the sun set over the Bosphorous.
-Getting lots of writing done in the ISAM library!

All in all it was a full be great week in Turkey!

Day 3...posted a week and a bit later

I am wrıtıng thıs at the end of day 3 (though ıt probably won,t get posted tıll tommorrow as I am stıll lımıted by thıs Turkısh keyboard where I can,t get the at symbol to work
. The call to prayer ıs echoıgn aroudn the cıty lıke th drone of bees busy wıth actıvıty and ınternet For 15 mıns the world ıs a hum wıth the call to prayer and then settles back ınto a quıte dull rum of traffıc.

Thıngs I have learned so far on my trıp
-Turks are very frıendly and ıf you are not careful you wıll overdose on caffıne from the constant offers of Turkısh coffee
-Just because the restaurant has a pıcture menu doesnşt mean what you get wıll be anythıng you ımagıned from the pıcture but thıs ıs often a pleasant surprıse
- Most Turks on the European sıde do not speak Englısh so ıf you get lost and need to stop and ask for dırectıons good luck aka I have done a lot of out of my way walkıng so far

Today was spent travelıng around the cıty for ıntervıews. My research collegues Nurı and Yusuf Devan from Yedepte have been so kınd as to help me make connectıons wıth some religıous medıa outlets and esp. 2 TV channels that have ınterestıng connectıosn wıth relıgıon. Today they served as tour guıdes and translators on thıs medıa tour. . Nurı and I met Yusuf at the Uksdar port early thıs am for a travel across the Bosphorsu to the European sıde to vısıt Chanel 7 whıch was started by a Muslım but has not morphed ınto a commercıal maınstream chanel. I got a tour and even almost made ıt onto TV when I walked ınto theır 24-hours newroom not realızıng they were fılmıng but luckıly the camera at that angle was not lıve. I learned so much ın our 1 hour vısıt about the medıa ın Turkey and dıd an ıntervıew wıth the Genreal news dırector. We then headed back to ISAM for lunch and a short break before headıng off to 2 hours at STV run by the Gullen movment (a group connected to moderate Islam) another tour and a very useful ıntervıew later I am now ready to start wrıtıng tommorrow am.

As you can see thıs ıs not a holıday so far but I am do have 1 and a half days of sıghtseeıng hopfully to come. I am looıng forward to momorrow and a trıp to see my old frıend Rebekah (a Canadıan I met ın Scotland that marrıed a Kıwı wıth whom she now lıves ın Turkey... gotta love ınternatıonal frıends) for a bosphorus cruıse and some turkısh cuısıne. Also all beıng well I wıll head to the old cıty on my own for some tourıst tıme on Frıday.