My not so typical day:
7:20-7:45- This happens about 3-4 more times, but I eventually drag myself out of bed.
8:00- Realize that I have 15 minutes before I have to leave the house and jump in the shower and try to get ready as quickly as possible.
8:26- Leave the house
8:31- Watch the bus pass by me and then start running down the street in heals hoping that I catch it.
9:00-9:13- Arrive at work and thank G-d every time I enter the elevator and see that the floor we work on is still locked, meaning that I am the first one there, since I’m late and don’t want anyone to know. The truth is that I love coming to work. I just hate getting up in the morning, so I find myself running late most days, no matter what time I set my alarm.
1. Buy new desks (this went through various stages- shopping at IKEA and on Herzl Street to find the perfect desks for our Cyber Ninjas)
4. Set up ethernet connection so we can stop connecting via wireless
10. Copy Elevator Keys (there are only 2 people in all of Tel Aviv that know how to copy the keys to our elevator since the lock is probably as old as Israel itself- Rothchild and the whole preservation project of Bauhaus architecture apparently also is relevant for elevators and not just the exterior)
22. Get a copy of the key to a storage room on the same floor as our office, which happens to be home to our communications hub. This was no simple task since the owners of that storage room were not keen on this idea at all. I think giving them a Floyd sticker and bribing them with expense chocolates was what really helped me finalize the deal.
11:00- I leave to do errands. What is great about my job is that I am never just in the office all day. There is always somewhere that I need to go- bank, post office, IKEA, computer store, office depot, pharmacy (we can’t have sick gifters) and more. Most errands are so I can be one step ahead of everyone else- making sure that the office is stocked with all necessary supplies, bills are paid and that no one ever says, “I wish we had …” without it appearing in the office the same day. Sometimes I even read people’s minds and appear with what they wished before they said it out loud. Since for all intents and purposes, it is still summer in Israel, I am more than happy to stroll up and down Rothchild Blvd from place to place. Rothchild is my favorite place in all of Tel Aviv. Architecturally, historically and culturally it is one of the city’s gems. Before I worked here, I always came to the Blvd on days off to drink coffee and soak in the atmosphere. So you can imagine how glad I am to be able to do this every day. There is just one thing that I have to admit that is still a huge mystery to me. No matter what time of the day I get to the office, leave for errands or lunch, or go home, the coffee shops are always filled. Can someone please tell me what these people do for a living that they can sit in coffee shops all day?
12:00- The Lunch Ceremony. I get back to the office and then we start the “where are we going for lunch?” discussion. Despite the fact that we are a relatively small company (for now), it is the most challenging moment of the day to come to a decision regarding where to eat. There are several things that complicate the issue- actually two specific people who I will not mention their names. Let’s call them David and Adam (their names have been changed to protect their identities). David is a hard core vegetarian and Adam only eats meat. Eventually we come to a compromise, but it is not without a full on battle. It can get even more complicated when we decide to split via department or gender. Luckily I have a degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy and can use my conflict resolution skills to make peace. Once we have decided where we are going to go, another tricky issue arises. Between the declaration of intent to eat to the time where people actually act on this urge, it can take up to a half an hour. Everyone says that they are hungry and ready to go out, but somehow everyone still sits at their computer typing away, waiting for someone else to get up first. Then a few people get up, stand at the door and wait, yet others continue to work, so the originally people that took the brave move of leaving their desks, end up back on their computers.
15:30- I realize that I was supposed to leave a half hour ago—sometimes they kick me out of the office since I’m here past when I am supposed to be and sometimes they are just so busy working, they don’t notice.
There are countless non-profits in Israel, working on countless social causes. I have volunteered with many including an after school program for gifted children from low socio-economic neighborhoods, an organization that works with the elderly, national service program for post-high school students, a school for autistic children, and the list goes on. I chose to dedicate my time most recently to the plight of African asylum seekers and refugees in South Tel Aviv. Unfortunately this population is the weakest in our society today as they have no status and no voice. The Israeli government has kept a policy of no policy and does not check asylum requests. Over the years, the number of asylum seekers has increased with now close to 1000 crossing the border from Sinai each month. There is an estimated 30,000 African asylum seekers and refugees living in Israel today, mostly from Eritrea, Sudan and Darfur. Recently thing have become more difficult, as the Ministry of Interior began explicitly printing on their temporary visas that they are not allowed to work, therefore have no legal way to support themselves. At the same time the government has also said that they will not enforce this policy, however it still leaves asylum seekers at the mercy of employers who are willing to hire them. Asylum seekers do not have the right to national health care, therefore only when they get sick enough to be hospitalized can they receive medical care, as hospitals are not allowed to turn them away, even if they cannot pay the bill. The organization I volunteer for, ASSAF, provides social and psychological services for asylum seekers and refugees. I am involved with giving orientation lectures and tours, helping new comers understand their surroundings and Israeli culture. In addition I am part of the PR team, giving lectures and tours to Israelis and foreigners interested in this issue, and community management for our facebook page.
Most recently, I also helped organization a demonstration, in which over 1500 asylum seekers and Israelis participating in, calling to stop the building of a detention center for refugees in the Negev Desert.
I continue to be active with this team of volunteers to advocate together with the asylum seeker community for their rights and to help Israelis better understand who they are, as the Israeli government has worked very hard at branding them as infiltrators and work migrants. In addition, we are working together to create policy suggestions which will provide pragmatic solutions for this problem.
21:00- Get home from my ‘evening shift’ and get ready to go out with friends. I like to work hard, but the most important thing in life is finding a balance between work and play. I make sure to take advantage of Tel Aviv’s fabulous night life as often as possible.
00:15- Realize that my alarm on my phone is going to wake me in 7 hours and counting and start to walk home
01:00- Go to bed and dream about gifts, making the world a better place and the next day that awaits me."