I Love Israel with Orna Drawas

Orna Drawas

This is the third post in a series featuring North Carolinians discussing their love of Israel. Thank you Orna Drawas for participating!

What is your most memorable moment in Israel?

In Jerusalem one evening after dark, we happened to arrive at the Kotel as the IDF was holding their swearing-in ceremony. Hundreds of young men and women marched in with their battalion, and the plaza was packed with thousands of spectators – family, friends and visitors – to see the newest graduating soldiers of the IDF. The Israeli flag blew in the night and the eternal flames burned brightly as thousands sang a most beautiful and meaningful rendition of Hatikvah. Many of us were brought to tears by the emotions and significance of the moment.

Best food you had in Israel?

Believe it or not, when I think of mouthwatering foods in Israel, I crave the classic Israeli salad. Let’s face it, you can’t get real Israeli salad anywhere else in the world, because no place has tomatoes and cucumbers as fresh, juicy, sweet and delicious as they are locally grown in Israel. I savor every bite!

Favorite place to visit in Israel?

A hidden Gem known mostly by locals, hiking in the Negev is a great adventure with hidden canyons, cool springs and breathtaking scenery. The weather is great all year long and the night skies are absolutely mind-blowing. I like to hike the Negev, stay in an amazing bed and breakfast and try to capture a glimpse of the Bedouin life.

Which one is your favorite and why? Mediterranean, Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, The Red sea.

The Mediterranean Sea represents Israel to me. When I grew up in Tel Aviv in the 1960’s, my family went to the (Mediterranean) beach nearly every Shabbat. We walked from our apartment, just a few blocks away, and spent countless hours with local family and friends eating, kibitzing, playing Matkot and swimming. That was our life.

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

Jerusalem. There is nothing like the Machane Yehuda Market (shuk) on a Friday afternoon. The amazing smells of fresh baked Challah, sweet cakes and a great variety of spices is nearly overwhelming. The hustle and bustle of orthodox men and women, combined with locals and tourists, adds to the intensity and excitement of the upcoming Shabbat celebration.

Orna Drawas was born in Israel to parents who emigrated to Palestine in the 1920’s and were part of the early Zionist movement. Growing up in the US, her home was Israeli in culture, food and spirit. Author of the book: PERFORM LIKE A ROCK STAR AND STILL HAVE TIME FOR LUNCH, Orna is currently an expert in the field of corporate leadership.

I Love Israel with Orit Ramler Szulik

I love Israel, Orit Ramler Szulik, Voice4Israel, V4I
Orit Ramler Szulik

This is the first post in a series featuring North Carolinians discussing their love of Israel. Special thanks to Orit Ramler Szulik for launching the I Love Israel series. 

What is your most memorable moment in Israel?

Every moment in Israel is memorable! I always remember when I was 9 years old and the Entebbe Operation took place. Everything in Israel stopped, and I told my dad not to worry because we have “Tzhal” and they will rescue the people. I remember my dad getting frustrated with my comment and telling my mom “only kids and crazy people can think that a rescue is possible”. Then, he sat me next to him holding a map and explained how impossible of a mission that would be. The day the rescue happened, my dad hugged me with teary eyes, and told me to keep believing and always feel safe because we have Eretz Israel. We all left our homes to go dance in the streets. That spirit is the one I carry with me every single day. I can’t think of another nation that would risk that much to save it’s own people.

Best food you had in Israel?

Watermelon with cheese at the beach and every single local chef that is opening up a small restaurant all over the country, they are incredible.

Favorite place to visit in Israel?

The grocery store and the “shuk”- market. The smells, sounds and tastes invades me with so much nostalgia of my childhood years and my global and diverse Jewish community.

Which one is your favorite and why? Mediterranean, Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, The Red sea.

All of them! But if I need to pick one, I would say the Mediterranean. Every Friday when my dad was back from work we will take a picnic to the beach… so many memories.

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

Can’t choose, they are both unique and special. Tel Aviv doesn’t stops to amaze me, the development and growth taking over are spectacular. The beach, the way life goes on after the times we had to run to the shelters, the night life, the food, the people… just fabulous. Jerusalem is sacred, it represents our vulnerabilities, victories and our struggles. Jerusalem touches my heart in so many ways.

Orit Ramler Szulik was born in Israel to Argentinean parents and has lived in seven different countries. Ms. Ramler Szulik moved to North Carolina with her family 20 years ago. Orit is a former Executive Director of the Durham Chapel Hill Jewish Federation and one of the co-founders of the Voice4Israel. She is a Learning Specialist and Certified Coach who founded and leads a Career, Executive and Leadership Coaching and Consulting Company.