Have you seen three tall, tan and friendly looking men strolling through the Weber hallways? Well, even if you did not realize it, you probably have. These three men have traveled to America from Israel in order to share their visions on their beloved homeland with us. Lets ride into the lives of these three men.
In Israel, when one finishes their high school studies; they typically will go into the army at age 18 or go on a gap year. After finishing their early studies, each of these young gentleman came to Atlanta, more precisely The Weber School. These three men are known as Zohar Chem, Sagi Shulman and Dor Almog.
Zohar was born in a small town called Tzoran, Israel. When asked what he liked, he said, “I enjoy music as well as playing guitar, piano and drums. I also write and compose music. I think music for me is the best way to express who I am with the world. It helps me build a bridge linking me to various cultures that help me grow as an individual.”
Sagi was born and raised in a city called Herzliya. Sagi said that he liked to play the drums and percussions and sang occasionally. When asked about what was a huge part of his life, he stated, “I was an Israeli Scout in Israel. Israeli Scouts is part of who I am. It is so important to me because it helped me grow into the person I am today.”
Dor is from a small town near Tel-Aviv called Neve Monosson. Dor stated that he likes playing piano and enjoys drawing. He then followed that statement with something he felt helped him grow by stating that “[he] worked for the scouts for 9 years. It felt like a second home to [him].”
Coming to the United States from Israel is a big change for many reasons. Some being culture shock. When I asked Zohar if he had been to America before and what has stuck out most, he answered by saying, “For me, it was my first time in the US. It was very surprising to see the power of community here. Here, to be Jewish, you have to want it and it is nothing obvious here. People want to be Jewish here, and therefore they fight for it. Being here has made my Jewish identity stronger and has given me a stronger connection to the Jewish world.” Sagi then stated “This is my second time in America, it was pretty shocking because I was first in New York and St. Louis. They are very different. The people here are so nice and welcoming. Every time I ask for help, I know someone will assist me. The kindness in the hearts of the Jewish community have embedded within them is very warming and humbling.” Furthering this conversation, Dor added that it was his “first time in the US, so when I came here, I thought it would be different. I had such a preconceived image before I came here that I made from seeing movies and pictures. It is pretty funny to come see it in real life after fantasizing about coming for so long.” Through these quotes, it is easily exemplified to see the fact that each one of these three men have been introduced to new concepts and parts of society in just a few months of being here.
Coming to a new country means being introduced to new foods. As these three men have traveled around Atlanta and have embarked on a culinary journey, they have found favorite restaurants. Zohar said that breakfast was and has always been his favorite meal. His mom’s famous waffles for breakfast was his favorite part of the morning. “Leaving that behind was definitely a struggle,” he said while discussing his moms culinary talent. Zohar did not know that soon he would discover a restaurant that comes close to his mother’s waffles. Waffle House is a known breakfast location around the south. He truly enjoyed the waffles and hash browns. “It was so good and really gave me a taste of America” he excitedly stated. As Sagi spoke about his love for his dads buttermilk pancakes, he said that his favorite restaurant is IHOP because of the “vast variety of different flavors they offered” and the fact they “come close” to his dads. He said that he “got confetti pancakes and they resembled more of a sweet dessert rather than breakfast, but I enjoyed it. It had a very American style to it, in the way that it was full of action no matter the time of day, it is crazy how it is opened for 24 hours everyday!” As Dor grew up loving traditional Mexican delicacy, he said that he loved eating at BarTaco because it provided him with a completely different aspect on Mexican food. “The tacos were so small, but they were plated nicely. They found a way to make messy Mexican tacos look fancy and elegant.”As they each explore new parts of Atlanta, they all enjoy eating new and exciting foods.
Although they are all having a blast in America, soon they will have to depart on their next journey that awaits them. For them, their next journey is the army, also known as צהל. When I asked Dor what he wanted to do in the army he replied “I do not know what I do yet, but whatever it is I know I will make a huge impact on my country.” Sagi has been aware of what he wanted to do for a while, he said, “I really want to do a special program called Havatzelet. It is a nine year program. The first three years are designed for a degree in psychology or philosophy. For the next six years you do service in different units, for example, one being the intelligence force.” And to conclude, Zohar said “I will be a combat soldier, and it is really exciting for me because I think it is the best way I can serve my country.”
There is so much knowledge that one is able to gain through talking with these young men. As they are enjoying their time at Weber creating fun and interactive activities for all students to participate in, they also want to meet you. Engage in conversation with the Shinshinim, who knows what you could learn, they are not as intimadating as they may look!