Three Israeli natives are visiting the Evans area this week to expose others to the Jewish culture.
Three Israeli students, Tal Tsiezler (from left) Zohar Tsuk and Hila Ben-Elie, are visiting the Augusta Jewish Community Center for two weeks this summer.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Since July 9, Zohar Tsuk, 26, Hila Ben-Elie, 16, and Tal Tsiezler, 18, have shared personal stories of what it's like to live in their country and walk in their shoes with campers at the Jewish Community Center in Evans.
"Our experience here has been nice," Tsiezler said. "We love the kids."
For about 20 years, the group called the Israel Scout Caravan has visited the center through an exchange program. During the two- week camp, the group sets up an "Israeli Room," where campers are introduced to Israeli songs, stories, games and food.
Although most of the campers aren't Jewish, Tsiezler said many of them show a continued interest about the culture.
Hila said some campers ask questions based on what they've seen on television.
"Someone asked me if we went to school on a camel," she said with a laugh. "I told them, 'No, we have cars like you do."
Tsiezler said he even had someone ask him a historical question about the Holocaust.
Tsuk said Israelis' share many of the same interests as Americans.
"We imitate your culture," he said, adding that everything in America is bigger, such as cars and houses. "We like the same things you like."
Contrary to many beliefs, Tsiezler said, a big misconception many people share toward his country is the idea that people are constantly living in a state of fear and are attacked by terrorists.
"It's definitely not like it sounds. The press is making it sound bad," he said. "There is war and no peace, but we can go out in the streets and have normal lives."
Most of the attacks, Tsuk said, are far away from their homes, which are near Hadera.
Still, when attacks occur such as those recently in London, Tsuk said the tragedy does hit close to home.
"It's very disturbing," he said. "I feel pain because we know how it feels."
That said, Tsiezler's biggest fear is his future.
"The fear is knowing what I'm going to do in 10 years,after I finish college and become a mechanical engineer," he said.
The group's visit is set to end on Friday. Derinda Shapiro, who played host to the group at her Evans home, said the experience has been pleasurable.
"It's been easier than we thought," she said. "The kids are loving our guest."
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