בינה בפייסבוק בינה באינסטגרם צרו קשר עם בינה במייל

City Spotlight | Exploring Rahat / Be'er Sheva

We sat down with Sarah Rabinowitz to talk about her experience so far teaching in Rahat, living in Beer Sheva, and what she's looking forward to in the next five months.

 


 – BINA: What brought you to MITF Tel Aviv+?

 – Sarah: Well, I heard about it for the first time when I was on Onward four summers ago. Then last summer, pretty last minute, I found myself unemployed and not really sure what to do next. I was thinking of teaching English in Thailand or Bali and then I remembered, “Wait, I can do this in Israel!”

– BINA: And then how did you decide on the Tel Aviv+Rahat track?

– Sarah: I originally chose Beer Sheva; I knew it was a college town and I'd get to meet Israelis my own age. But, I also thought it was really interesting to be in a school with a different population. I feel like we interact with Jewish people on an everyday basis, but when else would I have the chance to go into a Bedouin community and understand their lives?

Sarah Rabinowitz, teaching in Israel, teaching, Rahat, BINA, MITF Tel Aviv+

– BINA: What has it been like so far, has it lived up to you expectations of getting to know Israeli?

 – Sarah: Yeah, it's really cool being here. A lot of our neighbors are our age and we get to talk to them on a regular basis about things like what growing up was like, what is dating like in Israel, and that sort of thing. It's been really cool to understand what life is like for people here.

 – BINA: That is super interesting. It definitely is a really unique opportunity to get to know people in Israel in a similar stage of life to you. Have they introduced you to anything fun to do in the area?

 – Sarah: Everyone has so many different interests and they really have shown us a lot of really fun places. Someone took us to a really beautiful park where lots of people like to hammock and slack-line and kinda showed us where to hangout.

 – BINA: Are there any other things you're excited to check out?

 – Sarah: Yes, there's actually a climbing gym close by and we're hoping to get memberships and go and climb all the time. There's a really cool park by the University where all the college students like to hang out. There's a river, well more like a stream, but it has a biking and ATV path that I'm really excited to check out. And, the street we live on is right in front of a main street. Hopefully, when the lockdown is over, the restaurant and cafes will all open up and it will be an interesting place to hang out. Honestly, I'm already pretty content. I have a hammock and my Kindle, and there are lots of cute parks nearby where I like to post up and read.

 – BINA: That sounds really great! I honestly didn't realize how much there was to do or how much nature there was in Beer Sheva.

 – Sarah: Yeah, even last night, I found this walking path right by the apartment along the stream and it's gorgeous. It has all these really pretty flowers and parks. And, if you do it during sunset, the sun sets over the river and it's amazing. I'm still figuring it out, but it seems like there's like there's a lot to do there.

Sarah Rabinowitz, teaching in Israel, teaching, Rahat, BINA, MITF Tel Aviv+

 

– BINA: That sounds beautiful. It sounds like there is quite a lot to do in Beer Sheva.

 – Sarah: Even when we're not doing anything, we hang out on the patio and somebody always comes and joins.

 – BINA: That sounds like a really great environment. What has been your experience in school so far? I know you've had a really unique experience starting out in an Arab school in Tel Aviv, and now you’re working in a Bedouin school.

 – Sarah: Working in an Arab school in Jaffa was really interesting. They initially had a lot of questions about who I was and my views, which were conversations I wasn't expecting to have, but it opened my eyes a lot to the perspective of the students. And, in all honesty, when I was moving to teaching in Rahat, I was expecting to have a tough time communicating with my students because I know there is an educational gap with the Bedouin community. But, my students are really great. I've been able to have full conversations. They seem really motivated and excited to learn, which makes teaching really fun.

 – BINA: How about your experience with your host teacher?

 – Sarah: She's really good. She's been a really great support system. In Rahat, I have been able to take a lot more control of my classes – I plan my lessons the way I want to, I make lists, and I ask all the questions – so I feel like I'm getting genuine teaching experience. At the same time, my host teacher or another teacher is always present to interject or provide translation when necessary. It helps to know I'm not alone; I know my students are going to show up, that  they'll be excited to learn, and if I’m struggling the teacher will be there. It feels really supportive.

 – BINA: Has language been much of an issue?

 – Sarah: I find my student's English is really good, but sometimes I forget how much English I know and I don't know all the time exactly what they know. So, it's really nice to have a teacher present to remind me when I need to speak simpler or we need to translate something.

Sarah Rabinowitz, teaching in Israel, teaching, Rahat, BINA, MITF Tel Aviv+

– BINA: Did you know any Arabic when you arrived?

 – Sarah: Well, I picked up a little bit when I was working in an Arab school in Jaffa. But so far, that's all I know. I am excited to be learning in Arabic classes now.

 – BINA: It sounds like you're already pretty involved in the community. Do you have your volunteer placement picked out?

 – Sarah: I'm looking into helping out at the community garden because I think it would be a cool way to connect with people and help the environment. I also think I might get involved in some clean-up programs just to help make the city look a little nicer.

 – BINA: Those both sound like really great projects. Now that things are opening up more after lockdown, do you have any places nearby you want to explore?

 – Sarah: I don't know much about what is around in the South, but I know I want to make it to the hot springs by the Dead Sea. I did go watch a meteor shower in Mitzpe Ramon when I was on Onward, so I would love to do that again. What's nice about having friendly neighbors is they know where to go. They've already recommended a bunch of places. There's this place called Monument to the Negev and we went there for my roommates' birthdays – it's all these really cool urban art pieces. The sunset was beautiful. We watched it as we were sitting on these massive art structures. 

 – BINA: You definitely have the right mindset for exploring the city. You lizrom (go with the flow) and you find yourself in these really amazing experiences.

 – Sarah: Yeah, a lot of things are last minute – like we decided last night to go and see the other MITF Fellows in Ramla.

 – BINA: That's awesome! How long did it take you to get there?

 – Sarah: Like one hour. We live a 15 minutes walking distance from the train and bus station – which is really nice because that makes it super easy to get places. From there it was super quick. I have friends in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv so I'm excited to be able to go see them easily, as well. Especially since I started my time in Israel living n Tel Aviv and making friends that are now all over the country, it's fun to know I have a couch to crash on in so many places.

 – BINA: That is really nice. It sounds like you have a really great couple of months ahead of you. I'm excited to touch base with you later and see how everything is going!

Click here to learn more and apply to MITF

More articles

Want to stay up-to-date? Sign up now for the BINA newsletter >>