Humans of the IDF

The “Israeli Soldiers Tour” began like any other Lecture Series. A confused freshman speeding to an unfamiliar classroom, anxious to have enough time to find the proper room and choose a seat that is not too far or too close to the front before the lecture actually begins. Indeed, this extra time was necessary, for I spent the minutes preceding the lecture frantically strolling through Tarbutton hall and consulting my phone to ensure it was not yet five p.m.

The flyer for the event, which was posted in my residence hall.

When I finally found Tarbutton 111, I realized that this would not just be any other lecture. Relieved, I walked into a small room full of familiar faces –my best friend, Hebrew classmates, other Emory Jewish community members, and even my Sophomore Advisor. In contrast with previous lectures I have attended, the buffet dinner and informal seating arrangement fostered a comfortable and casual atmosphere. Refreshingly, the age of this audience would bring down the average age of any other lecture by at least half. As opposed to knowledgeable graduate students and professors, the room was enlivened by passionate and committed undergraduate students. In fact, this lecture was so casual that the presenters arrived ten minutes late, attributing their tardiness to “Atlanta traffic.”

Two Emory seniors initiated the lecture, reading the bios of Eden and Joey, the speakers who would be recalling experiences from their military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). This student-led introduction demonstrated the active role students took in the presentation, as opposed to passively listening. The event itself was held by student groups – Emory Students for Israel, Emory Hillel, and the Emory Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Eden and Joey, the two speakers, analyzing a photo of a threat that they stopped.

Following the introduction, Eden began her presentation by projecting photos of her best friends, boyfriend, and the city in which she grew up. She wanted to establish that soldiers are more than their green uniforms, advanced machinery, or media coverage – they are normal individuals who treasure their loved ones. Yet again contrasting most lectures, Eden and Joey’s PowerPoint was full of vivid pictures, lacking any text at all. Their visual presentation demonstrated the engaging, well-rounded nature of the lecture. Eden continued by describing her childhood, which she deemed pretty typical. However, she added that living in Israel, she always entertained additional worries. With every brown envelope delivered in the mail came a chance that her father would be called to the army reserves. Furthermore, Eden dreaded the day that she herself would be recruited to join the IDF, which relies on a mandatory draft. Her parents reassured her that by the time she was 18, Israel would not have a draft, but this has yet to prove true. Eden now finds herself sharing these same words of reassurance with her younger brothers.

When asked about her biggest takeaway from her army service, Eden responded that “the word responsibility gets a whole new definition.” Only in her young 20s, Eden commanded 70 female soldiers and led their basic training. When her soldiers were granted weekends at home, Eden felt responsible for ensuring that they all arrived home safely, demonstrating her care and the seriousness with which she approached her job. With Eden’s responsibility came an increased sense of worry. When bomb threats went off, she could not console herself by referring to the slim chance that it would directly affect her or her family. She was responsible for 70 soldiers that spanned the map of Israel, and a bomb threat meant that any one of them could be in danger.

Eden’s thick Israeli accent was then replaced with a strong and unexpected American voice. In his presentation, Joey immediately addressed this surprise, sharing that he grew up in Las Vegas. He jokingly clarified that no, his mother was not a stripper, his father was not a casino owner, and he did not live in a hotel. Joey’s involvement in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), a Jewish youth movement, inspired him to enlist in the Israeli army. On a trip to Poland, Joey visited Jewish death camps with a Holocaust survivor. As the survivor was sobbing and grieving for his lost relatives, Joey watched a group of Israeli soldiers march through the camp. This juxtaposition of Jewish pride and strength in the face of the sadness and loss of the Holocaust hit Joey. He knew he must enlist.

During college, Joey remained involved in Israeli causes, and immediately following graduation, he made Aliyah (Hebrew for “the act of going up”), officially becoming an Israeli citizen. At the beginning of his service, Joey did not even know Hebrew. Since all army commands are delivered in advanced Hebrew, Joey learned the language by doing endless push-ups as punishments for his inability to understand or perform the orders.

Like Eden, Joey’s army service was life-changing and informed all of his future endeavors. From it, he derived that “You are a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.” Joey has continued to pursue his passion for Israel by working at Stand With Us, an organization committed to Israel education and advocacy. He also volunteers at The Lone Soldier Center, where he ensures the physical and social health of Lone Soldiers, soldiers who voluntarily join the Israeli army from abroad, like himself.

The audience posed for a picture with Joey following the presentation.

While the Israeli army faces extreme media and political scrutinization, this event humanized the members of the IDF. Israelis our age are enlisting in the army and defending their country. Both Joey and Eden’s stories demonstrated the life experience that army service provides and how embedded this service is in Israeli culture. Hearing these relatable, well-delivered retellings in a communal environment made the message loud and clear: through their army service, Israelis gain a self-awareness and clarity about their dearest values that is beyond their years.

Fall for Emory in Autumn

As the spookiest time of the year comes to a close, the month of October gives way to November, and with it, the season of autumn firmly implants itself at Emory University. Growing up, autumn always had a special place in my heart. For me, it meant crisp fresh air, trees filled with vibrant plumage, and of course the sound of crunching leaves as I left Starbucks with my Pumpkin Spice Latte. In my opinion, the month of November just doesn’t get enough credit. It’s stuck right between the crown jewels of capitalist exploitation; Halloween and Christmas. The poor month never stood a chance. Don’t get me wrong, November has its core group of fans, but when compared to the amount of cash flow from pumpkins and pine trees, turkeys just don’t measure up. The argument for November as the best month of the year could be won solely due to the fact that my mom was born on November 5th (shout out to Mamma Kidd), but here are my top five reasons why November is so great at Emory.

  1. Emory Athletics                                                                                                                    November marks the beginning of championship season for many Emory sports including Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, and
    Emory Volleyball

    Women’s Basketball. Volleyball will compete at home in the UAA Championships on Friday, November 3. For a full schedule of the regular season and championship games for all varsity sports visit the Emory Athletics website.

  2. Emory Theater                                                                                                                        Emory’s theater department puts on
    The Anointing of Dracula

    four performances throughout the year.Its 2017-2018 fall show is entitled The Anointing of Dracula: A Grand Guignol, which will run until November 5th. General admission tickets are $22 per person, however, all freshmen received an Emory Arts Pass which they can use to receive free admission to the show. If you come in costume to the 11:00pm showings on either October 31st or November 4th you can get in for free. For a complete list of show dates and specialty ticket prices visit here.

  3. Emory Dance                                                                                                                           The Emory Dance Company’s Fall Concert will take place during November as well. The concert runs from Thursday, November 16th through Saturday, November 18th. All performances will be held at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Regular admission tickets are $15, but once again, freshmen are able to use their Emory Arts Pass. For a complete list of performance, times visit the Emory Dance and Movement Studies Program events page.
  4. Emory Film                                                                                                                                     The Emory Film Department conducts multiple film series throughout the year and during the month of November, the department will continue with this trend. Shakespear on Film will conclude with a screening of Titus (1999) on Friday, November 4th. The Emory Cinematheque will continue in November with The Tin Drum (1979) on Wednesday, November 1st and will screen a total of four films. A full list of showtimes, dates, and locations can be found here.
  5. Emory Celebrations                                                                                                                 While many students are looking forward to Thanksgiving Break, which begins on Wednesday, November 22, it is important to celebrate other holidays as well.
    Fiesta Día de Muertos

    The Spanish and Portuguese Department in collaboration with Casa Émory presents Fiesta Día de Muertos. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 1st at Casa Émory and will celebrate the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos.

Although not as flashy as October or December, the month of November still has a lot to offer. At Emory in particular, it brings with it classic traditions such as Emory Dance Company’s fall concert and it ushers in the beginning of championship season for the school’s varsity sports. No matter your interest, Emory offers a plethora of activities and events for its students to enjoy. The Emory University events calendar for November can be found here. I encourage everyone who reads this article to not only attend events you’re interested in but to also explore events that you normally wouldn’t go to.



Nature with Makeup

Michael and Sandro stood anxiously shivering under the roof of Long-Street Means as the 42 degree air had their teeth chattering and fingers frozen. Once again Sandro subtly hinted “Do we really have to go? I’ve been there before and have pictures”. Without even acknowledging his comment Michael jumped in the Uber and Sandro reluctantly followed. Once again Sandro decided that the Uber driver was his best friend as Michael shook his head and put in his headphones. Though the ride only lasted 10 minutes, the sound of Sandro talking about cheese with this complete stranger had Michael smashing his head against the window.

Michael after we got shut down.

Shortly after the ride Michael and Sandro were warmly greeted by the garden staff with a “We are closed!” as the receptionist shut the window. Sandro started laughing hysterically, but Michael was extremely frustrated as the garden was supposed to be open on Sundays. A technician approached us from behind explaining that there was a “power outage” moments before we arrived. After Sandro berated Michael with about 50 “I told you so”s, Michael was convinced that Sandro was a bad luck charm for our blogs. “What the f*** are we going to write about” Michael crankily said, but Sandro somehow had it all planned out.

Sandro’s eyebrow started twitching and along came a sudden flashback. It was like a PTSD moment for the Vietnam War veterans except on a smaller scale. He was only 13 years old when his parents forced him to go to this wretched place. Sandro turned to Michael and started talking about his first experience: “First up, after the main entrance hall where you are given the opportunity to learn all the worthless information about the different types of flowers at the garden, is the Rose garden itself. The tour guide as well as the website said that ‘The Rose Garden offers a representative collection of old-fashioned and landscape roses to visitors. These varieties are managed organically and are interplanted with appropriate perennials’.”

Sandro’s Flashback:

Outside the Garden.

However, to bring it down to a few sentences, if you’ve ever seen a bunch of different colored roses planted together or have seen four different colored roses in a small bouquet, you can completely skip this part and head on over to the next useless attraction at the garden, the Great Lawn. This one’s amazing, there’s a whole field of grass, I was absolutely mesmerized when I saw grass for the first time in my life on this indeed Great Lawn. If you come at night, they even hang some flashing lights on nearby trees as well as across some of the bushes surrounding the Chapman Conservatory. The lights, I have to admit, were very aesthetically pleasing, but I definitely wasn’t at the botanical garden to get an epileptic seizure. Our tour guide said our next stop was…. The Rock Garden. Holy f***ing s**t, I thought to myself, rocks with lights over them. The tour guide described it as an exciting addition to that garden, but really there was just one tiny gazebo with water around it.

Parterre Fountain Installation
Storza Woods

On the way we saw the Parterre Fountain Installation, which definitely did not make my $30 ticket worthwhile. The website says “Created for the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2004, Dale Chihuly’s Parterre Fountain Installation is a one-of-a-kind sculpture in blue and white, interpreting shapes and colors of water, ice and sky. A captivating assemblage of twisting, brightly colored glass, the sculpture sparkles in Levy Parterre Fountain, where it is especially lovely lit up after dark. See it sparkle from a whole new perspective, the top of the recently renovated Alston Overlook.” “Sparkle” there was not sparkle. I thought I came to the garden to see plants, not glass. Last but not least we were at the Gardens in Storza Woods where we would “Experience the tranquil beauty of storied hardwoods surrounded by woodland gardens in one of four spaces: Beachwood Overlook, Boardwalk Balcony, Channel Overlook and The Patio at the Water Mirror.” That was truly the only good part about the garden, nothing was altered, it was just one big peaceful wooded area. But again, the ticket was $30 and I have some trees planted in my backyard as well.” Wow, Michael thought as Sandro finally closed his mouth and they hopped in the Uber back to Emory. Thank God for the wind that day, as otherwise he too would’ve endured the same torturous fate as Sandro did on the cold night of August 11th, 2014.

Man made sculpture and pond.

Although Sandro successfully convinced Michael that the power outage was a good thing, he noticed a theme in Sandro’s flashback. Though Sandro’s experience was utterly painful, he seemed to have appreciated the natural beauty of the Gardens in Storza Woods. He was able to describe in great detail the unpolished elegance of this wooded area compared to the superficial aesthetic of the other sites. Though the Botanical Garden emphasizes an “organic approach”, it seems like almost everything in the garden has some sort of human alteration and fabricated appearance. Whether it was the Rock Garden or Parterre fountain, there really seemed like nothing truly natural about this garden. While one could easily argue that the garden is supposed to be seen as a giant architectural achievement, there are some clear transformations that are almost too artificial. A perfect example of this can seen with the lights on the Great Lawn. Though this arrangement was aesthetically pleasing, Sandro was disappointed because the lights distracted the visitors from the natural beauty of the lawn. It seems as if our world is no longer attracted to the simple, natural things in life. From beauty products to the man made designs of the garden, our world is living in a constant cycle of superficial reinvention. But when does it go too far? How long can our world sustain a balance of natural beauty and advancement when our own affinity for the natural things in life is ever changing?

Feel free to explore the website:

-Michael and Sandro


uscitytraveler. “Atlanta Botanical Garden.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Oct. 2011,

Central Park Vibes in the ATL

Imagine yourself in standing in the middle of an open, green field, with trees all around. There is a lake to your left, and all around you in the distance are tall buildings that contrast the nature within your immediate distance.

This is what it feels like to visit Piedmont Park, an urban park about one mile northeast of Downtown Atlanta. Its 185 acres of land are home to many activities and events, including a farmer’s market and sports practices.

As I ordered my Uber to visit Piedmont Park last Thursday afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that after a long week of studying and classes, I was ready to be outside in the beautiful weather and have a relaxing afternoon.

The Uber dropped my friend and me off near the Welcome Plaza. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were struck with silence. Not only were there limited people around, but the only sounds we could hear were the rustling of leaves and the occasional bird chirping. This was brand new to us coming from a bustling college campus.

A map of Piedmont Park. Credit to

We decided to take a look at the map to see what the park had to offer. We noticed tennis courts, a swimming pool, and many picnic areas. However, the map was a bit difficult to interpret, so we simply walked forward to see where it would take us.


First, we came upon a beautiful lake, where there were multiple people fishing, reminding me of the parks near my home, where my dad used to take me fishing. We sat on a wooden swing near the shore and soaked up the silence as we enjoyed the view: the tops of the buildings downtown peeking out from the rows of trees behind the lake. This view quickly reminded me of Central Park, one of my favorite places in New York. Growing up, my dad’s company would send him to New York three to four times a month, so going to visit him became a common occurrence. I was always so amazed that the city had room for so much greenery and hills, and I had this same feeling as I sat on the swing in Piedmont Park.

Our view from the shore of the lake at Piedmont Park.


We continued on our journey and came upon the swimming pool. Only open during the summer, the pool included 4 lap lanes, a concession stand, and locker rooms.

This was the best view we could get of the pool, which is closed for the 2017 season.

The concessions stand at the pool wasn’t the only one in the park however. There are multiple throughout the park, most of them only open on Saturday and Sunday. Blue Donkey Coffee and King of Pops, a couple of Emory favorites, are only some of the food options that the concessions stands have to offer.

After passing dog parks, playgrounds, and picnic areas, we climbed some stairs to my favorite area: The Active Oval. The Active Oval, home to a running track, two soccer fields, two softball fields, and and two sand volleyball courts, is where all of the sports practices take place. To me, the greatest part of it all was the view. Standing on the field gives the perfect panorama of the Downtown Atlanta landscape. Staring wide-eyed at the incredible city in front of me, I was so proud to call Atlanta my new home.

A panorama I took of the view from the Active Oval.
Our newest restaurant discovery, Cactus House, right next to Piedmont Park.

After snapping more than a few photos, my friend and I found ourselves wishing the concessions stands were open. We decided to walk to Piedmont Avenue, the city street where the park’s main entrance is located, to scope out the good restaurants. We quickly came upon Cactus House, a brand new Mexican restaurant about a block away from the park. We sat and enjoyed some chips and guacamole and an avocado taco on the porch, raving about our experience at the park. We agreed to gather a big group of friends and return on a weekend for a long walk and a picnic.

Overall, my experience at Piedmont Park was amazing. College students need to get off campus every once in awhile and spend some time outside to refresh their brains, and a walk in the park was exactly what I needed. However, my recommendation would be to visit the park on a Saturday or Sunday, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a snack and see all of the activity.




THE GREEN MARKET: Every Saturday in March-December, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

TOURS: History Tours, Tree Tours, and Bird Walks offered

FITNESS: Guided fitness classes and free monthly yoga




NOV 1 – Pick Up and Pitch In for Piedmont Park @ 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

NOV 12 – Love You Healthy Fitness Party @ 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

NOV 27 – Free Yoga on the Promenade @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


By Kate Monger

What’s Actually Going On With ILA?

What’s actually going on with the ILA?

In 2012, the Dean of Emory College, Robin Forman, said “Finally, we will suspend graduate admissions to the ILA (Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts) and reorganize the ILA into an institute without permanent faculty. In this reimagined institute, we will strive to create a more fluid structure for promoting interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, perhaps through rotating faculty appointments.”

The Institute for the Liberal Arts, which is in fact still intact at the undergraduate level and still offers the IDS program, sponsors a seminar series that features interdisciplinary faculty new to Emory.

Link to articles explaining the dissolution of Emory’s Graduate level of ILA:

Who can attend these seminars?

These special seminars are open to students and faculty from across the university.

What’s the typical format of these seminars?

3:30PM-4:00PM: Refreshments are served to all in attendance. This gives attendees time to meet the professor and allows for a more informal environment.

4:00PM-4:20PM: The speaker presents a provocative problem or issue from their research, aimed toward a general audience.

4:20PM-5:00PM: A discussion among all those present is catalyzed by the speaker’s research.

What was the topic of this seminar?

Abigail Sewell: “Hypermarginalization in Policing: The Illness Burden of Racial and Gender Disparities in Use of Force by Police”






I took the silent cue from other students in the room and put away my computer and pulled out the old-fashioned notebook and pen to take notes. Professor Sewell analyzes illness risks associated with systems of inequalities. She has reached a conclusion that excessive negative police experiences or interaction creates a weathering effect on the bodies of people of color by inciting the fight or flight response over and over again. I went from writing a million pen strokes a minute when she introduced her research topic to completely putting the pen down when she went in depth about her usage of equations and the statistical analysis tests that she used for each intersection. This information was dense and extremely developed. I was the only undergraduate student in a room filled with grad students and established professors.

Why is Professor Sewell a credible source?

Abigail Sewell, an Assistant Professor at Emory University in the Department of Sociology, focuses on the political economy of racial health disparities, the social construction of racial health care disparities, and quantitative approaches for studying racial inequality and structural racism. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Indiana University and her B.A. in Sociology (Minor in Women’s Studies) from the University of Florida.

Why should this still qualify as a “Grad Life” post?

The majority of students in attendance were graduate students who took a specific interest in maintaining ILA sponsored events after the ILA was dissolved. These students had either participated in the undergraduate level of ILA or they would like an opportunity for more interdisciplinary studies on the graduate level.

The ILA program is a program that would instill a liberal arts and evidence based education in Emory graduate students, which is something that Emory claims to be very passionate about. The way it is structured now, with no permanent faculty, is a disadvantage to Emory graduate students and it should be reverted to its previous structure. Emory has one of the highest endowments in the nation, so despite their given reasoning that the program was not financially sustainable, I do not understand why they would not keep this program alive on the graduate level.

When are the next seminars and what will they be about?

Always a reason to smile


Sounds like an extinct dinosaur but it’s actually my last name! By the time you’ve gotten to this post, I’m sure that you’re already going to be familiar with my full name. When I say familiar with, I don’t expect you to know how to spell it or pronounce it correctly. I only know of 4 people that can successfully do so with my name, 2 of them are my parents, 1 is my little sister and the other is my roommate at my old boarding school of 2 years. I mention 2 years because that’s how long it took him to be able to pronounce it. Oh, and now there’s also Hunter who can throw a half-decent attempt at it.

Although originally from The Republic of Georgia, I moved to the state of Georgia about 3.5 years ago (Ironic! Isn’t it?). Let me just mention that it’s very bizarre explaining to people that there’s a country called Georgia.

“I’m from Georgia and I speak Georgian!”
“You mean English? Because you do know that Georgia is part of the United States and they speak English there”

“No, listen….”

“Ok…you’re not very smart, are you?”

That’s a conversation I have quite often.

The Republic of Georgia is a failing nation – a country full of all sorts of turmoil and poverty, is still my home. There are many people in various regions of Georgia who, to this day, don’t have direct access to simple, but critical, things such as clean water, electricity, and healthcare. Not to mention a lack of education. But my experiences with moving and displacement are for the next Dooley Special, for now, is one part of my life that truly shaped me.

Being a native of the Republic of Georgia has had a significant effect on my life. Then there’s the whole aspect of me being from a generation of war.

Growing up I shared an apartment with my parents, uncle, aunt, cousin, and grandparents in a large complex on the outskirts of Tbilisi, the capital city. To do the math, there were 8 of us in a 3-bedroom apartment. My grandparents had actually gotten the apartment in a soviet lottery, that’s how things worked back then. If you didn’t have money to bribe officials you would have to be placed on a very long waitlist to get a half-decent 2-bedroom apartment. But that’s a whole different story. I remember I would run down in the huge yard that used to surround our apartment building and meet my friends to start playing football(soccer) or rugby on the football field.

I remember almost every other day, I would decide that I either wanted ice-cream or some sort of candy from the local supermarket 1 block away. I’d run to back to my apartment, the 2 windows of my room would be facing me, and start screaming “Bebooo… Baabbuu” (translated to grandma and grandpa in English) to ask them for what is the equivalent of 0.80 cents in US dollars. Most of the times I would get the requested amount, sometimes, however, they wouldn’t have that much to give me for my silly candies. I was raised to be very humble in general, so I would never complain or ask again for the next 2 days because looking over at my friends, I knew that they wouldn’t get those 0.80 cents thrown down to them for weeks because of the financial difficulties their families were going through.

I remember one day seeing someone buy this big robotic dinosaur at the store, and asking my mom if I could have one too, her looking back at me and shaking her head implying that we didn’t really have enough at the time. We just had enough for the products that we were there to buy. I would smile back at her so as to not make her sad, but from her voice tone and every now and then teary eyes, I would know that my smile wasn’t always enough.

After those stories, you must be ironically thinking to yourself “One big happy family, eh?” The truth is, we were. There was nothing but laughter radiating from our windows, from early morning to late nights.

That laughter was completely silenced in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, yeah, I know this sounds like the whole but “But everything changed when the fire nation attacked” from the Avatar: The Last Airbender, but truthfully it was far from it. I remember my mother hurrying me over to a friend’s house and sitting together awaiting the moment when it would be officially announced that we were under siege.

My dad called us from a village called Gori that was currently being bombed and where Russian soldiers would strip Georgian soldiers naked to string them up on light poles as a form of embarrassment. He said that he was there with the President and Minister of Defense and that combined they had enough army and security resources to make it out fine, but that the tanks were slowly approaching the capital city, Tbilisi. However, a few days after international leaders intervened in what was going to be a countrywide occupation, I remember standing hand-in-hand with my parents and endless others to form a human circle of strength around Tbilisi, a chain that extended over 60 miles.

Post-war there were multitudes of Georgians who had been forced out of the occupied regions. Many displaced families sought refuge in camps neighbouring our home in the city. Most mothers from Tbilisi volunteered to take care of the refugee children, many of whom had been orphaned. It took days of convincing, but my mother eventually agreed it was okay for me to take my soccer ball to the camp where she was serving. That summer, on the ill-maintained playgrounds of Tbilisi, I made many new friends, found some “rivals” – and I met Gocha.

Russian soldiers and their heavy artillery tore apart Gocha’s family, but they did not take away his playfulness. Perhaps we were both too young at the time – Gocha, a year older than me – to truly understand the torments of becoming an orphaned child. I could barely picture how lonely he must have felt because he never shared his sadness.

Gocha and I were a lot alike. Both quick to raise our hands when it was time to volunteer to be captains for a soccer game. Both bent on picking the best players for our teams. A week in, we had all become ferociously competitive, and fights were common – especially when we could not agree on whether a goal had been scored. Stones and rocks, piled up to make goalposts, got the job done, but not very well.

One such fight became unnecessarily ugly. Gocha pushed me, and I tugged at him, tearing apart what I later learned was his only shirt. At the end of the game, my teammates pressured me to apologize to my shirtless opponent. I talked myself into walking up to him – rather begrudgingly and uncomfortably. Gocha looked over at me as I rehearsed under my breath what I was going to say and, as I was about to start, he shamelessly broke into a fit of giggles. I smiled back, more confused than guilty. I realize that despite everything that had happened to him, he could still find it in him to laugh, or at least smile.

The next day I brought him some of my shirts as an apology. All of them fit, and a loyal bond was sealed. I even remember him laughing at one of the shirts because it had a pony, drawn on it by me.

At this point, I know I will spend a lifetime spelling my name and clarifying its pronunciation. I know my country will find it difficult to survive – the population of the Republic of Georgia steadily decreasing to the point where a century from now the number of citizens is predicted to drop from 3.4 million to one million. Despite all of that, I know, because I was there, that aggression does not overpower compassion.  War is devastating. But does it mean we stop looking for joy and happiness? That we can no longer smile? That we turn our backs on acts of kindness? That we subdue our natural personalities? No. As I have learned, sometimes all it takes is a soccer ball and 8 new shirts.






Inside a Record-Breaking MLS Game

As a fun Family Weekend activity and a birthday present, I had the opportunity to attend a soccer match with my family between Atlanta United FC and the team I support, Toronto FC. The match was the last of the regular season, and both teams had something to play for; Atlanta United could score a bye in the first round of the playoffs, while Toronto could achieve the highest ever point-tally in Major League Soccer (MLS) history. The atmosphere truly reflected the importance of the game, with over 71,000 people showing up to watch (an MLS attendance record). The passion of the fans and the amount of noise made it pretty uncomfortable to cheer for the away team.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The match took place in the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which Atlanta United share with the Atlanta Falcons. The stadium is located just southwest of Centennial Olympic Park, close to the center of downtown Atlanta. This causes a lot of traffic before and after their games, but we didn’t really have a problem getting out. The unique shape of the stadium makes it stand out in the downtown area. All the noise coming from the area also draws lots of attention. I found that all of the stadium staff were very efficient and friendly. We never really had to wait in a line, despite there being 70,000 other people there.

Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco signing autographs

In order to get to our seats, we had to walk past the tunnel where they players enter the field from. Fans of Atlanta United were lined up along the sides, waiting for their heroes to come out. As the players came out of the dressing room, they jogged down the tunnel and high-fived all the fans who stuck their hands out. After the players were on the field, we got to watch them warm up from the field-side and then took our seats. We just so happened to be sandwiched between Atlanta United fans, but from looking around the stadium I could tell that they were everywhere. I was only able to find a few other Toronto supporters during the match.

Before the game started, Atlanta United displayed their tradition of taking a golden spike, signed by fans of the team, and hitting it with a sledgehammer as the fans spell the name of the team. This match, the honours of hitting the spike were given to Atlanta recording artist 2 Chainz. Afterwards, the anthem was sung by another Atlanta recording artist, CeeLo Green. As the match started, everyone remained on their feet and did not sit for the entire 90 minutes. The energy in the stadium was truly unmatchable by any other team in MLS.

2 Chainz with the sledgehammer and CeeLo Green singing the anthem
Final score: 2-2

The match was very even throughout and ended in a 2-2 draw. While both teams were hoping to win, a draw suited Toronto just fine – they achieved the most ever points in MLS history with 69 (20W-9D-5L). However, because Atlanta did not win, they were unable to move into second place, so they must play in a knockout game against Columbus Crew S.C. in order to stay alive in the playoffs. Tickets to this game are already practically sold out, as fans of the team are very excited to see Atlanta United in the playoffs in their inaugural season.

Following the MLS and keeping an eye on Atlanta United has made me think about one question: How are Atlanta United so successful? There has to be an explanation to how they can get over 70,000 people to come to a game. There are a few reasons, and combined it all makes perfect sense.

The first reason is undoubtedly the success. There is no way that the team would have so many fans without it doing well in the league. The owner of the team, Arthur Blank, invested lots of money from the get-go in order to start the franchise on a high note. Atlanta brought in talented players from across South America and a coach who understood what the fans want to see. The result is an exciting team that plays fast-paced, interesting soccer that the fans love to watch. When the supporters see their team doing well, it reinforces their pride and makes them feel happy. Atlanta were excited when they got their team, and the success that they’ve had in their first year has kept that excitement going.

The Atlanta United Supporter’s Section

A deeper reason why that many people come out is that it is a team of the people. The team name, Atlanta United really means that it is a medium to unite everyone in the city. Having the word united in the name has special significance to the supporters, as it makes them feel that they are just as big a part of the club as anyone else. Not only that, but Atlanta is a city on the rise with lots of young people. This club is something that they feel they can take and make theirs. This leads to the creation of supporters groups, who sit together, chant together, and… support together.

The supporter groups have really done a great job of getting people to join in and support their club. To quote an interview done by Copa90, “Hip-hop was the lubricant to bring people in who are newbies and show them a good time”. The interview showed the various things the supporter groups do to lure people in to joining. These include playing hip-hop music, tailgating, and creating tifos, which are large displays that the fans hold up to show support for the club.

An Atlanta United tifo

Overall, Atlanta United F.C. is a successful franchise on many levels. The success of the team as well as the fans is really something special. However, it will be worthwhile to see how they do in the playoffs, and if the hype will last from season to season.


Copa90 interview:

Match highlights:


Spreading the Spirit

As a school that lacks a football team and love for sports of any kind, I always get asked the same question: “So what do y’all do for school spirit?”, and I always give the same answer: “Homecoming week.”

Every year, Emory students, parents, and alumni gather in Asbury Circle to watch the Homecoming Parade while enjoying music and food trucks. Residence halls, fraternities, and other on-campus organizations decorate their floats in accordance to the theme. This year, the “Candyland” theme gave rise to decorations involving board games and candy. The group with the best float in the residence hall division would win points towards Dooley’s Bowl, which is Emory’s version of the “House Cup” in Harry Potter.

As a the Spirit Programming Chair of Complex Hall’s Residence Hall Association Council, I worked a lot on the planning and execution of Complex’s float. Let me tell you, it was a process.

Our idea was “The Sweet Life on Deck”, putting a twist on the title of the popular kid’s television show from the 2000s, Suite Life on Deck, which was centered around twin boys named Zack and Cody who attended school on a cruise ship. We decided we would turn our golf cart into the ship from the TV show, including windows with Zack and Cody’s faces inside, and we would place big versions of candy boxes on the top of the float. Formulating the ideas was the easy part.

After purchasing almost $200 worth of supplies from Walmart, we started painting the Sunday before the parade. After two hours of work, we quickly decided we needed another day during the week to finish everything up. So, that Wednesday, we ordered a pizza and began our work at 9:30 P.M. I didn’t get in bed until 3:00 A.M. that night.

Saturday, the day of the parade, finally came. I woke up at 8:30 to go pick up our golf cart, and after about 30 minutes of cluelessly walking around campus searching for the pickup spot, I finally found it, and my RHA team was able to get to work on building our float.

Our “cruise ship” included windows featuring Zack and Cody’s faces, Froot Loops strung from the ceiling, and giant candy boxes on top. We were able to put it together easily, and didn’t have any mishaps… Until we had to drive it to check-in, that is.

Our float put a twist on the popular kid’s TV show, “Suite Life on Deck”.


We had to drive all the way to the intersection of Peavine and Eagle Row (on the opposite side of campus from our dorm) for check-in. Once we reached Asbury Circle, we encountered a large crowd of people and booths that were setting up for parade viewing. As we were blasting Darude’s “Sandstorm” from our speaker, we were cruising in our cardboard-covered golf cart at a speed of 3 miles per hour, surrounded by crowds of upperclassmen and adults staring at us, unimpressed. It was embarrassing, to say the least. But don’t worry, we were laughing at ourselves.

This was our float right before we left for check in.

At check-in, we saw all of the other floats ready to go for the parade. Jungle themed, Monopoly themed, and board game themed carts filled the parking lot, and participants applied body paint, danced to their music, or performed some chants in preparation for driving. Then, the cue came from the megaphone, and everyone loaded into their floats.

Our banner was held by some Complex residents who walked with us in the parade.

Driving through crowds of people who share a love for my school was truly exhilarating. I loved seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when I would throw them a piece of candy, or the laughs that came from those who found humor in the recognition of our Suite Life on Deck reference. I got to wave to friends I saw in the crowd, and I even passed my parents. Asbury Circle was buzzing with activity at this point, with people gathered around to watch the parade and enjoy lunch from the many delicious food trucks that were there. I could feel the sense of school spirit everyone shared and it reminded me of just how tight of a community Emory really is.

The banner led the golf cart into Asbury Circle for the parade.

While many colleges base their spirit off of sports, Emory has been able to spread school pride in other ways through traditions that our specifically our own. Since I’ve been here, I’ve allowed myself to take part in activities that help spread spirit around campus, and I’ve found that our sense of community here is very strong. Participating in events such as the homecoming parade has made me proud to be a student at Emory, and I can’t wait to continue repping the name over the next four years.

Complex RHA and some residents put up an X after walking in the parade.


By Kate Monger

“If You’re Alone, You’re Sick”

After three hours of chasing down MARTA buses, forgetting play tickets, and interesting uber rides we (Faith and Rachel ) somehow managed to arrive an hour early at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta for the showing of the Alliance Theatre on the Go’s Crossing Delancey. Exhausted from the day’s events we didn’t even consider looking up the plotline of the play and instead decided to kill the hour with a conversation about academics, pushy family members, and our loves lives, or more so our lack of ones. So imagine our surprise when the play unfolded to be a young Jewish bookstore owner, Izzy, and her attempt to find love with the unwanted help of her persistent grandmother and matchmaker friend. As the play continued we found ourselves in a pickle with a pickle man, a lonely bookstore owner, her Bubbie, an author, and a matchmaker.

Faith’s ticket

Needless to say, the play, Crossing Delancey, captured our attention and nurtured our interest in generational differences on dating and marriage.

The stage lights turn on and immediately the audience is transported to the tiny home of Bubbie, the protagonist, Izzy’s, very bold and very Jewish grandmother. Right off the bat viewers can feel the endearing love that Izzy has for her eccentric grandmother, despite the conflicting viewpoints the two women discuss over baked goods at the kitchen table. As Izzy stuffs her mouth with Bubbie’s home-cooked delights she is subjected to the lecturing of her grandmother, who insists on getting her married off as soon as possible in order to protect her from the most horrible fate imaginable-life alone. As Bubbie’s speech progresses Izzy becomes continuously more amused until finally laughing in disbelief when her grandmother encourages her to go out on a blind-date a matchmaker set up for her with the local pickle man, Sam Posner. Right away Izzy counters her relative’s statement, defending the mindset of the modern woman’s take on marriage.

Bubbie’s kitchen

She argues that “It’s very different for women of my generation. . . . Everything’s different. We have options. . . . I can do anything I want to do. Go anywhere I want to go. . . . Maybe I don’t want a husband. . . And if I did, he wouldn’t be a pickle man.”  Izzy’s statement stood out to us as a perfect representation of the generational gap present in terms of what marriage truly entails for millennials versus those born before. Whereas Izzy’s grandmother looks at marriage as a means for security, Izzy sees marriage as a unity between two souls made perfectly for each other, which is more along the lines of what today’s young adults are searching for in lifelong partners. Initially, Izzy looks down on the idea of a prospective suitor being someone invested in the business of pickles as it seems to contrast immensely from her passion for books and intellect. However, as the play progresses it is revealed that perhaps not all the ways we millennials go about the dating process are ideal. Crossing Delancey brings up differences regarding the options available to younger generations, the use of technology for dating, and expectations of marriage.

When examining Izzy’s previously mentioned statement there is one word that seems to stand out, “options”. People of our generation, Millennials, and even the generation after us, Generation Z, have far more dating options than our grandparents. We do not have to worry about one lost opportunity because we have plenty of fish to catch in the sea, which we can easily attain with one quick swipe right on our phone screens. Izzy just had Sam the pickle man and the author Tyler Moss, who we eventually learned was only interested in making her his assistant, but that could be more than others had near her. Because the play is set in the 80’s Izzy doesn’t take to any dating apps to talk to her potential suitors; however, we still noted the idea of “options” being translatable to technology today. Technology provides places like the internet with millions of users worldwide, which allow us to connect with numerous amounts of people who could be prospective companions. Dating apps, websites, and even social media are new places for people to meet and form relationships; however, prior to this people were limited to those that lived in close proximity to them. This meant that there were not many places where people could connect and thus convenience played a large factor in who people married at the time. This fact is depicted in the play when Bubbie goes on to describe how she married her late husband. He was ever persistent and had a good job so finally, she decided “why not?” and proceeded to date and eventually marry him. Because Bubbie grew up in a time where traditional male roles of providing for the household were expected, there is a conflict with the way she views marriage versus Izzy. Just like us, Izzy is living in a time of female progressivism and the idea of a woman providing for herself and marrying for love and not convenience has become normalized which Bubbie, just as some members of older generations, do not understand.

Living with immigrant parents that are a generation older, Faith has been acutely aware of these differences as she grew up. Growing up, Faith still remembers being confused about both her parents and her grandparent’s marriage situations. Her grandparents wed when her grandmother was only about fourteen or fifteen, but her grandfather was about thirty. Keep in mind that this was in Africa, and it was and in some places still is culturally acceptable. They basically still see marriage as a source of security. Faith’s grandpa owned a business so he could take care of her grandma, they lived in the same city, shared the same religion, and their families descended from the same tribe, which meant that they should be able to live together comfortably. Love was not the main priority because it could come with time. Faith’s parents married for similar reasons. As she grew up, it was clear that while her mom did want her to be in love with the person she married, Faith could tell based off what her mother said that she prioritized stability and security. Faith, however, is not necessarily worried about security and wants to marry her soulmate, which parallels Izzy’s desires exactly.

Us with Sochi Fried who played Izzy

Another issue that we discovered is that the Millennials and the Baby Boomers are not looking for the same things when it comes to partners and marriage. According to Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg in their book Modern Romance: An Investigation, in the past, people had companionate marriages: they were not necessarily about love, but convenience. Marriage used to be mainly about security; each person had clearly defined roles that would ensure that they produced a good family. For women, marriage meant more autonomy, since they were now only under the authority of their husbands. Since men worked, marrying a man that had a good job was necessary. They were just looking for someone that they could have kids and a stable life with. For men, marriage meant finding a nice girl to have kids with so that you could be the head of a household. In a survey taken in the 1960’s, they found that 76% of women would marry someone that they did not love as opposed to 35% of men (Ansari and Klinenberg 22). Now we are not just looking for these things alone, but we also want a soulmate. In the play, Izzy did not want to marry the pickle man because having a successful business was not enough for her. She wanted someone that she connected with on a deeper level, which is what she believed she would have with Tyler, the snobby author, based off what she read in his novels. Ever since the Women’s Movement, women no longer find themselves needing to rely on a man for stability. This means that it is no longer the biggest factor in pursuing a partner. In the 1980’s another survey was done and they found that 91% of women and 86% of men would not marry someone that they did not experience romantic love with (Ansari and Klinenberg 24). The people want true love and real connections. We found this especially interesting as the play takes place during the 80s where this shift of marital expectations is examined. After reflecting on the play and researching the causes and effects of generational gaps we began to ponder what we learned from this Out on the Town event.

We decided that dating in the twenty-first century can get complicated quickly. At first, it seems simple: Slide into said person’s DMs, swipe right on Tinder, create a profile on Christian Mingle, or just text the kid you like from your math class. While we do have so many options, so does everyone else, which makes finding a soulmate a long and tricky process. It makes us wonder whether or not the “old way” of thinking is all that bad, especially when considering Izzy ends up being with pickle man Sam by the end of the play.

A poster for the play

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about convenience when we examine it from the viewpoint of lessening up on our dependency on technology to make connections. And maybe finding a soulmate who can provide security is not so bad if we view security as emotional and mental insurance as opposed to just economical protection. Lessening the generational gap could be possible if we viewed opinions and concepts from a different perspective and simply tried to understand one another. But going back to dating, if you find that you are still looking for love in your life, relax. Despite what Bubbie Kantor says, being alone does not make you sick. It could just mean that you are still in the process of searching for your soulmate, which in the end could make it all the more worthwhile.

Ansari, Aziz, and Eric Klinenberg. Modern Romance: An Investigation. Penguin Books, 2015.

The Possibility of Peace

Climbing Masada

Throughout Freshman Parent’s weekend, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thanks to Professor Kenneth W. Stein. As an expert writer, teacher, and lecturer in the history and politics of the Middle Eastern Studies since 1977, particularly with respect to Israel and Arab-Israeli relations, Stein conveyed major insight into the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, located in room 305 of White Hall. He is currently the President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE); Under Stein’s initiative, Emory has established the Middle East Research Program and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel – ISMI.

Some background of the matter is that the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating back to the end of the 19th century. The conflict began as a struggle over land; From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known as Palestine. After the Arab-Israeli War of 1947-48, Palestine was divided into the areas we see now: Israel,

Gal at Gaza Strip

The Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. Jewish Israelis, whose ancestors began migrating to the area in the 1880s, say their claim to the land is based on a promise from God, as well as for the need of a safe haven after widespread hostility toward the Jewish people, also known as anti-Semitism. In contrast, the Palestinian Arabs believe they are the rightful inhabitants of the land because their ancestors have lived there for hundreds of years prior.

The Gaza Strip is a rectangular piece of land along the Mediterranean coast between Israel and Egypt. The majority of its approximate 1.4 million residents are Palestinian refugees, many of whom have been living in refugee camps for decades. 80 percent were estimated to be living in poverty in mid-2007.

Camel Riding at Bedouin Tents

Israel is a small area—approximately 10,000 square miles. The competing claims to the territory are not reconcilable if one group exercises exclusive political control over all of it. Jewish claims to this land are based on biblical promises to Abraham and his descendants, on the fact that the land was the historical site of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and on Jews’ need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. Palestinian Arab claims to the land are based on their continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represented the demographic majority until 1948. They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim. They do not believe that they should forfeit their land to compensate Jews for Europe’s crimes against them.

From Professor Stein’s discussion, I learned that Jewish educators shy away from teaching subjects that they deem too political, arguing that politics does not belong in the classroom. Educators of Judaism tend to begin with the premise that Jewish students must learn to solely support Israel and defend its government.

Family in Tel-Aviv

As a niece of my Zionist Aunt and Uncle living in Israel, this concerns me greatly. I tend to question why many Jewish Institutions encourage critical thinking when teaching ancient Jewish texts –challenging students to consider multiple voices, give expression to minority viewpoints and ask difficult questions — but when teaching about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, they avoid this approach.

Educators believe that their role is delineated on teaching young Jews that Israel is the core to their Jewish identity.

The Kotel [Western Wall]
Yet, teachers have a responsibility to teach not only the vision and dream of Israel, but also its harsh reality as well. So, it is seemingly impossible to neglect these appropriate political discussions.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to Jewish life. It’s as important to Jewish identity as prayer and the weekly Torah portion. While American Jews can certainly live a prosperous lifestyle without ever thinking about Israel, it remains the epicenter of all Jewish politics. Involving middle and high school students in the debates around the conflict allows them to grapple with Jewish history, explore the many variations of Zionism, and comprehend religious and political differences within the Jewish community.  

Jews must acknowledge the Palestinian perspectives, primarily because we can’t wish Palestinians away nor pretend they don’t exist. We have a moral obligation to listen carefully to their stories and effectively comprehend what they have endured as a result of war and displacement. If we want a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must engage directly with Palestinians — not by criticizing or attacking them, but by genuinely trying to understand their experiences, starting in the classroom.

Military Training Base

The children and teenagers within our Jewish communities are bright, creative and eager to learn. They are capable of discussing divergent viewpoints and can wrestle with difficult issues; They can understand that Israel is a modern nation-state embroiled in a complicated political situation wherein nobody can become neglected. In order to ensure proper learning, young children can sample Israeli and Palestinian foods, attend cultural events, and learn songs in Hebrew and Arabic. Older students can read novels, have structured debates and mock trials, write poems from multiple perspectives and conduct interviews with family members, activists, and scholars.

Many individuals within society want to avoid fruitless debate about the conflict, but within a classroom setting can employ creative teaching techniques that allow students to genuinely engage with the material.  This type of learning will help students prosper, encourage them to develop their own unique ideas about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and foster a sense of respect and understanding for others. These are the kinds of attributes that the next generation of Jewish citizens desperately need.

This topic is one that has remained very close to my heart,

Top of Masada

as my Aunt, Uncle, first cousins, and even their children have suffered and fought through the many wars in which plague israelites every-so-often. On my second trip to Israel last summer, I was immediately captivated by my special country, one that I admired tremendously and soon grew to love over the five weeks I had spent there. Over that summer, like so many others who are drawn to this extraordinary place, I had climbed Masada, swam in the Dead Sea, tasted extravagant foods, met a unique range of individuals, and had driven from one Biblical city onto the next. I had walked through exhibitions of the hell of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, stood on the Golan Heights, spent nights star-gazing in the Negev, and shot an M-16 rifle at one of Israel’s very own Military training bases.


Shooting M-16 in Lower Galilee

Out of those experiences came a steadfast commitment to Israel’s security that has never wavered for a single minute in my 18 years of life. I have also often visited West Bank communities, where I met Palestinians struggling for basic freedom and dignity amidst the occupation and passed by military checkpoints that can make even the most routine daily trips to work or school mundane.

It is held within the vitality of Israel to keep open the possibility of peace, by consistently educating bright individuals, so that we not lose hope in the two-state solution, no matter how difficult it may seem [because there really is no viable alternative]. The plight of many Palestinian refugees is heartbreaking, and many, especially Professor Stein, feel this must be addressed.

Tel-Aviv Beach

As part of commencing a comprehensive resolution, their suffering must be acknowledged, and there will be a need to have options and assistance in locating permanent homes. The international community can provide significant support and assistance, especially starting by educating young students through Jewish organizations and institutions.


If you would like to learn more about Professor Kenneth Stein:

  • Search for Ken Stein on the Course Atlas for his upcoming lectures