Four AJLI Scholars (Danielle, Yannick, Adam and Eliyahu) joined Amy, AJLI’s Board President, for the first get together of the school year. The evening kicked off with dinner at DosaBar followed by a stroll through downtown Tel Aviv to the EscapeRoom. In the escape room, the team needed to figure out a series of unspoken riddles and – at one point – everyone was put in pitch black, and Yannick and Amy were taken “hostage” to a separate completely dark room, from which the 3 remaining scholars needed to guide Yannick and Amy through a series of activities in total darkness using a night vision camera. It was wild!


Bonding time at the Jerusalem Escape room – AJLI Scholars Jonathan and Zvi, and our knightly AJLI President, Amy (February 2018).


Dinner in the Old City, just outside Jaffa and Zion Gates – AJLI Scholars, Jensen, Jonathan and Emily and AJLI President, Amy (January 2018)


Special gathering of AJLI Scholars in Tel Aviv / Jaffa Port – Danny, Meredith, Leigh and Meirva (April 2017)

We gathered at the Jaffa Port at 6pm with four of the six AJLI scholars in attendance. The weather was gorgeous, and meeting early gave us time to catch up on life in Israel, academic studies and how each scholar respectively celebrated Yom HaAtzmaut. We were given an orientation just prior to our 6:30pm dinner seating at Nalagaat (Blackout), and asked to choose our selection from the menu as the meal itself would be in total darkness! We then formed a ‘train’ with hands on shoulders as our waiter Leah brought us to the table, and realized what pitch black meant – you couldn’t see a thing!

The entire experience was memorable and bonding – from learning how to pour (but not over pour!!) water from the table pitchers by touch to familiarizing ourselves more with one another’s voices sans sight to sharing a bit from our own lives. One of our scholars herself is visually-impaired. It was incredible how she opened up to share and all of us felt comfortable asking questions – the darkness creating a sort of slumber party and judgment-free type of environment. We also asked our waiter Leah questions about her life experience – she doesn’t see at all nor does her husband, but they raised two sighted daughters and now have three grandchildren as well.

The food was delicious and – after trying to eat our pasta a few times and coming up with empty forks – we dug in with our (pre-washed) hands and began to share dishes. At one point during dinner, the conversation went to deep political places and was subsequently lightened up by an Israeli birthday song being played for a nearby table as we all clapped and danced and celebrated in darkness. The meal was liberating, eye-opening and definitely memorable.

The theater show after was abstract and on the strange side, but gave us a lot to think about and boasted incredible costumes and a storyline that gave insight into human interaction, connection, isolation and the relationship between a service animal and its owner/guardian. All of the actors were part of the blind and/or deaf communities. The show was preceded by an Israeli sign language demonstration and we stayed afterward as a group to debrief.


Group get together – AJLI Scholars, Meredith, Danny, Leigh, Meirav and Zoe, and Amy, AJLI President (November 2016)