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A View from Jerusalem

Shiri Yadlin, a junior at Washington and Lee from Irvine, Calif., has been spending the current semester studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Shiri is  majoring in global politics and religion at W&L and is active in the Bonner Leader Program; Volunteer Venture, which is part of the Leading Edge Pre-Orientation program; and the Shepherd Alliance. She had a Shepherd internship in Washington, D.C., last summer.

Since she arrived in Israel in mid-January, Shiri has been blogging about her experiences — from the orientation program to the intensive Hebrew learning program called Ulpan to the four courses she’s taking (Modern Hebrew, Orthodox Judaism in Modern Times, Foreign Policy in Israel and Radical Coexistence in Judaism).

At one point, she remarked on how nice it was that everyone knew how to pronounce her name correctly: “It’s kind of fun to watch the Israelis I meet struggle with names like Alyssa or Jackie but then hear my name and say “Oh that one’s easy”. That certainly doesn’t happen every day back home.”

Shiri’s most recent blog entry, posted Thursday, was especially poignant. Titled “Not the post I was planning to write,” she talks about the bus stop bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday that injured 50 and killed a Scottish Bible translator named Mary Jean Gardner.

Although Shiri was nowhere near the bombing, she soon discovered that the woman who was killed was actually in her class. “All of sudden this attack that I was beginning to cope with and get past, took on a whole new meaning. Now it’s personal, close to my heart, and much more of a reality.” She goes on to write that while she certainly recognized the history of violence in Jerusalem, she has never felt unsafe there, including riding the bus around the city. She adds: “While I still don’t think I’m in any kind of real danger, having this happen so close and in a place so familiar is a chilling experience.”

But there is much more in Shiri’s post itself worth reading, especially as she explains how the university has responded and the attitudes that she sees in the people.

Of course, everyone at W&L sends best wishes for her continued safety. If you do get to Shiri’s blog, be sure to read more than just the most recent one to get a flavor for the range of her experiences thus far.