Many students found families to host them for Shabbat dinner through Shabbat.com (http://www.shabbat.com/default.aspx). Students did this both in Tel Aviv, and in other cities in Israel. Students went on day and weekend trips to Jerusalem, Haifa, Caesaria, Eilat, Acco, The Dead Sea, and more locations in Israel. NYU also sponsored weekend group trips to Jerusalem, Northern Israel, and The Negev Desert.
Some students attended HaPoel Tel Aviv soccer games (http://www.red-fans.com/En/).
A few students went to evening lectures on different aspects of Judaism at Tel Aviv University (http://www.jeffseidel.com/index.php/student-centers/tel-aviv-u).
Many students had Israeli movie nights in the student lounge. Some favorites are “Waltz with Bashir” (http://waltzwithbashir.com/), “Ajami” (http://www.kino.com/ajami/), “Strangers No More” (http://www.strangersnomoremovie.com/), and “Walk on Water” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0352994/), (director Eytan Fox teaches the Israeli Cinema Course at NYU in Tel Aviv).
Some students went to concerts of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (http://www.ipo.co.il/eng/HomePage/.aspx), and various theater productions at the Cameri Theater (http://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=1&lang_action=change_lang&to_lang=en).
A Few Students created an NYU Tel Aviv Journal, which included a collection of students’ writing, photographs, and artwork from Israel.
Upon return, a few students wrote articles for Baedeker, NYU’s travel publication (http://nyubaedeker.wordpress.com/). Many have also become Global Ambassadors – you can contact the site representative and express your interest in the position.
-Catherine G Cochran
Our group in Tel Aviv was fairly athletic, so many of us sought out places to exercise. A popular gym close to Bnei Dan (NYU campus) was called Klona Pe’er, which has weights, exercise machines, and a variety of classes. Some students and staff members also ran the Tel Aviv Marathon in the spring (http://marathons.ahotu.com/race/tel-aviv-marathon). Other students took African dance, modern dance, and yoga classes at Studio Naim (http://www.naim.org.il/english/) and Studio B. Many more bought bikes to use for transportation. This was a lot of fun and an easy way to get around the city and stay in shape. Most of us bought our bikes from a place called O-Fun, which I do not recommend because many people had problems with their bikes soon after we bought them. Nonetheless, there are many other bike shops in Tel Aviv where you can buy used bikes and sell them back at the end of the semester. I highly recommend doing this, as biking is a great way to get to know Tel Aviv. There are quite a few bike paths, my favorite being one that leads down the coast from northern Tel Aviv to Jaffa, with great views of both the city and the beach. NYU Tel Aviv is based in a hostel next to HaYarkon Park, which is also a great place to bike, run, walk, or have a picnic.
– Catherine G Cochran