Unlike most American Jews, who probably spent Christmas eating Chinese food and watching Les Miserables, we had a really busy day today! We started the day with breakfast at 7am, sharp, which is no fun with jetlag. Breakfast on the kibbutz is really interesting (and delicious); we were all expecting Lucky Charms, but it mostly consisted of salad, hummus, and cheese. It was really good, though!
Then we left for Zefat, a city in the North of Israel known for its artwork and ties to Kaballah, or Jewish mysticism. There we toured several synogogues, learned about Kaballah, and went to a candle shop where they handmade all sorts of beautiful candles. Some pictures are below:
The Torah ark at one of the synogogues in Zefat
This is a handmade candle in the store at Zefat. It’s a giant Noah’s ark!
Also, now would be a good time to introduce my (particularly photogenic) Caltech companions:
That’s Jeff and Eric, both of whom live in Ruddock House with me
And that’s Ben, Alex, and Liana (also Rudds!)
We also visited the Golan Heights and learned about the history and strategic importance of the region for the Israeli military. We even got to go into an old Syrian bunker.
Finally, we went to the city of Kiryat Shmona and visited students taking part in the Ayalim program. The Ayalim foundation allows students to work in disadvantaged neighborhoods while they complete their studies and expand local communities. These students work with the youth in the area, offering tutoring services, after-school care, and other projects. Several years ago, they even rebuilt part of an old basketball court after it had been hit by an incoming rocket. More information about their foundation can be found here: https://ayalim.org.il/en/
That’s it for now! Hopefully I’ll be less tired (and more coherent) next time I write!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.