Reflections on my time at HU
By Sharon Strosberg, Windsor
I was a student in the One Year Program at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1991-1992. In the days before the internet and cell phones, I set off to Israel to study for one year abroad, not knowing one person who was going to be there with me. Nevertheless, I set off on the adventure of a lifetime in the summer of 1991, occasionally calling home “collect” and writing letters to Canada sent by airmail.
The year was filled with such education and adventure. I loved learning Hebrew and studying with the wonderful professors at the Rothberg School. Together with my friends, we travelled the country. I slept on the beach in Eilat and visited friends on a kibbutz.
I spent Shabbat with families who took me in even though I was a stranger. I reconnected with my mother’s first cousins and their families in Haifa and discovered cousins who looked just like me with dark hair and green eyes. I spent many weekends with my Strosberg cousins in Tel Aviv. I ventured to places that were dangerous and delightful and savoured every minute.
I experienced the great snowfall of the winter of 1992: you haven’t experienced Jerusalem fully until you see the City of Gold under snow and try to make your way through Mahane Yehuda under half an inch of snow. I saw the sights, hiked the country, ate the amazing food and fell in love with the country and the people. My love for Israel has never waned.
There were so many highlights from that year that it is difficult to list them all. I made friendships that still hold strong today, especially with my next-door neighbor in the dorm: Natalie Levy (Sopinsky). Natalie made aliyah and I visited her and her family in Sussya and we still stay in close contact, often still sharing our most deep secrets with one another. Thank you Whatsapp!
British statesman Benjamin Disraeli said that “the view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven.” For me, the view from Hebrew University of Jerusalem made my Jewish identity shine bright and my lifelong love for Israel blossom.
- Sharon is a partner at the law firm Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP with offices in Windsor and Toronto. She lives in Windsor with her husband and two daughters.