I was going to ease myself into the first blog post I wrote about my travels in Israel gently, you know something about the food (which was a revelation I might add) seemed a good choice. However, in the spirit of the Israelis that I met, I decided to continue with the ethos of ‘go hard or go home’ spirit and write about what for me was the most fundamentally important thing that I learnt about Israel during my time…
The people, their passion and incredible pride! I couldn’t possibly mention everyone that I met here, so I am going to choose three, and then in my other posts, hopefully mention as many of the others as I can. If truth be told, I think I fell head over heals for many of the people I met, I’m honestly not sure where to start to convey to you the brilliance of them, and what an amazing place Israel is, full of vibrancy, rich culture and strong sense of family at the centre of everything. It felt like home…
Jerusalem – Image : Shani Sadicario
Firstly a little background as to why I was in Israel. The organisation, Vibe Israel contacted me many months ago, about whether I would be interested in applying to go on a trip to visit the country. It came as a bit of surprise, but a good one! Vibe Israel is a non-profit apolitical organisation, who send leading online influences, from around the world (in my case leading blogging Mums) to Israel for a week-long tour. Showing them the real Israel, a different side to the one portrayed in the news. I realise that Israel does for some, bring about strong feelings, and these posts I write will not reference politics, as that’s not really the idea behind the tour, or something I would write about either.
Kibbutz and Ecological Farm Harduf : Image : Shani Sadicario
These ladies are amazing, truly brilliant at what they do, and I felt humbled to be part of such an incredible team.
I’ve had a couple of days now to digest my thoughts, and I needed that to be honest, I felt overwhelmed. Israel is a country that is bold, its people speak up, they want and need to be heard. A completely different way to what I am used to, and one I needed to adjust to, if I’m honest. I’m a very typical British person, I think, who says sorry, even when I haven’t done anything about 100 times every day. Being in Israel taught me a lesson, and one I’m already putting into practise, I am brave when it comes to my family and injustices in the world, and don’t fear speaking out, I am a fighter, its in my blood. However I suppress it. I think I have learnt from the many people we met, the importance of speaking up for myself, to be bold and push and believe in myself. Life is all about being open and really listening and opening up to what people have to say. The Israelis I met were incredible entrepreneurs with ambition and an unapologetic drive and determination to succeed, it is no wonder that this country is so successful in so many of its industries.
So, and in no particular order :
Hila Ovil Brenner
Hila Ovil Brenner – Image Shani Sadicario
This lady was truly an inspiration. An incredibly successful serial entrepreneur, I know that in itself is impressive, she really does have the magic touch, especially in the high-tech industries, which tend to be male led in my experience. She is a team player, and a believer in innovation, and through her latest project as the co-founder of Google Campus for Moms, she is helping to turn dreams into reality through her determination and passion.
Image : Shani Sadicario
Google Campus Tel-Aviv for Moms – an award-winning community project for entrepreneurs on maternity leave. I absolutely loved hearing about this project and I’m so pleased that it is now an international project, at other Google Campus’ including in the UK. Hila really gets, that it is a struggle to start or develop a business and learn new skills whilst juggling kids and perhaps work too. So providing a supportive environment, to learn new skills is a fantastic idea, it has already had great success amongst its members. Well what’s not to love?
Tamar Hadar & Efrat Adviv – Founders of Luna-Da and interactive children’s museum.
These ladies had a vision, they could see that there wasn’t anything of its type in Israel, and so they were resolute they were going to make it happen. It was hard work, they were working full-time, but every evening for a year, they sat together from 8 until midnight making plans. Many doors were closed in their face, as the concept was so different to anything people in Israel had experienced before.
Me at Luna-Da, testing out the equipment – Image : Shani Sadicario
They achieved what others told them was impossible, they were determined to make it happen and they did it in a record amount of time, for a building of its size and complexity. It’s completely accessible, with a theme of the world around you.
The essence of this museum, is teaching a child (up to the age of 12) through play, and that this museum is one that you will visit time and time again and not get bored with. With great innovative ideas and challenges, it’s completely an interactive and fun experience. It has been much more of a success that Tamar and Efrat could have dreamed of.
Image : Shani Sadicario
We were lucky enough to spend time with Tamar Hadar and Efrat Adviv and their families for a traditional Friday night dinner, Aruchat Shabbat (ah-roo-chaht shah-baht). We arrived after sun down, which is when the meal traditionally starts. It was a beautiful setting, and we were so welcomed into Tamar Hadar’s home.
The importance of family, sharing and tradition.
I spent a very inspirational afternoon with Chedva, and her good friend Rinah Raveh in Jaffa, a highly desirable area within Tel-Aviv, where we stayed for most of the trip. It was so welcome to spend some one-on-one time with other Mums, who share my love of seeking out up and coming design, good food and friendship.
I felt that Chedva was my kindred spirit. We both have a love of design and interiors, are thoughtful souls, dedicated coffee addicts and completely devoted to both our families AND social media. She is someone I aspire to be more like though. Chedva has a gritty determination and strength, she adapts and moves on to accept new challenges willingly, and that’s what impressed me so much.
Noga Knaffe : Specialists in middle eastern traditional Knaffe – the most famous Arab delicacy, but made both sweet and savoury. Tastes amazing!
We shared a meal all together at Noga Knaffe, whilst chatting about life, work and family. I’m not sure where the time went, as I think we were there for a couple of hours, eating and enjoying the Arabic coffee which is strong, hot and extremely delicious with cardamom seeds as a flavouring.
Flowershop in Jaffa – All the succulents please!
Chedva is a very busy lady, she has taken on a new project alongside her writing and social media management, called Lean On – Chedva is the Co-Founder. Lean On is an app, which gives practical help and advice to women in the workplace. They have a bank of online mentors, who are experts in many different fields, to help with anything from maternity, bullying or even being passed over for a promotion, absolutely invaluable I think.
I can see such a need for this kind of app, and straight away I remembered a time when I was working for a company and the sole consideration for my promotion was whether I was planning on having a baby soon. If I wasn’t self-employed now, I would definitely use it this service. I believe it will launch in America soon.
Interiors Shopping : Jaffa
I hope this gives you a little taste of my time in Israel, I am planning on a few posts about the trip over the next few weeks, but I know that lots of you wanted to hear more about the people I met, so this felt like the perfect taster.
Disclaimer : This was part of my trip to Israel with Vibe Israel. I was not given a fee to attend. However all of my expenses were covered. A huge thanks to the Vibe Israel Team for let me see their beautiful country, its been life changing!
If you are a UK Blogger reading this, then VibeIsrael will be at the TOTS100 Blog Camp event coming soon to London on the 15thOctober.