Chag Purim!

Purim: a Jewish holiday like no other. Starting Tuesday evening and going all the way until Saturday night marked the craziest holiday of all time. Unlike in the States, Purim is taken very seriously here in Israel. The goal of the holiday is to drink so much that you can’t tell the difference between the good and the bad people, aka it’s just one party after another of people consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Throughout Israel, you will see people walking around in costumes and masks at all hours of the day. All costumes are welcome, even the most offensive ones (I saw someone in full KKK getup). There were also some incredible costumes. I saw Spiderman stopping traffic in the streets, Walter Whites, cowboys, Elvis, and these…

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I decided to take Tuesday easy because we had just been touring Jerusalem all the day. Highlights of the trip include The Christian Quarter, The Jewish Quarter, and The Shuk. I’ve been to the old city many times so nothing was very to new to me. I loved The Shuk because it was full of delicious treats. I had the most mouthwatering chocolate rugaluhs ever. I also bought freshly baked hamantashen, and a few other desserts that I simply could not resist.

Chocolate Rugaluh

Chocolate Rugaluh

Alright, back to Purim. On Wednesday night, I gathered a group of friends to go to a rave with me. It was a trance music rave at this huge club called Haoman 17. I love trance music and was so glad that my friends agreed to come with me. The headliner was the German electronic duo, Cosmic Gate. I danced for 4 hours and I swear that was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. They played all of my favorite songs!!


Purim Rave

On Thursday, I laid out on the beach during the day and then went out with my roommate, Jess. We went to this club called Pasaz where they played swing music and other oldies. We dressed up in the simplest costumes ever (I was a bunny and she was a cat).

Then on Friday there was a massive street party in Tel Aviv. A grand total of 40,000 people came out to dance to DJ John Digweed. It was a steamy 80 degrees so we left a bit early to cool off at the beach. Overall it was an amazing day.

Street Party

Street Party

I spent all of Saturday relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep. I started my day at this popular brunch spot called Benedicts. I got an Israeli breakfast with eggs, warm breads, yummy dippings, and a mimosa. After brunch, I went to the gym and then laid out on my rooftop with some good music and a book.


Bread basket at Benedicts

I start work at Playbuzz on Monday! This has been such a needed week of free time before I start my job. The weather has been absolutely lovely, the parties have been wild, and most importantly I’ve had a lot of fun.

From my screen to yours,



אני קרלי


I graduated from Hebrew school today. YAY. I am so happy to be done with 6 hours of Ulpan classes every day. I learned some basic Hebrew (see title of this post ~ aka I’ve now know how to introduce myself), but I definitely will still be relying on my English and my smile to get me around the city.

In other news, Spring has finally sprung here in Israel. The weather has been sunny and gorgeous. I’ve been going on long beach runs in the morning. My apartment is just 10-15 minutes away from the beach so it’s really easy to get there. I ran 10 miles one day (from the Jaffa port all the way North). The boardwalk looks amazing and I definitely need to try all of those seafood and gelato places along the water. I’ve been spending lots of time outside and I absolutely love it. I feel bad for all of you freezing your butts off in Chicago. Last weekend, it was 85 degrees here. I laid out at the beach and then we hosted a bbq on our rooftop. We bought a grill and made burgers for everyone. Pictured above is my friend Jackie and I celebrating a beautiful day.

Coming up this week is a day trip to Jerusalem followed by three days of partying for Purim. I will be starting my job on Monday after the holiday. Stay tuned!

From my screen to yours,


Started from the bottom, Now I’m here


For those of you who were following my travels, you probably know I had a rather unfortunate start to my trip. I’m going to keep this short, but to summarize, I was delayed on the runway in Chicago due to a snow storm in Toronto causing me to miss my connecting flight. Then, I was all alone running around Pearson International Airport trying to book another flight. Finally, they squeezed me on the last row of an airplane flying from Toronto to Tel Aviv with a 5-hour layover in Frankfurt. By the time I arrived in Tel Aviv, it was nearly midnight on Monday night (I should have gotten to Israel 12 hours earlier). I landed at Ben Gurion Airport only to find that my luggage did not make it. When I got to my apartment, I had to sleep on a barren mattress with no blanket or pillow. For 4 days, I was in Tel Aviv without any of my things. To make matters worse, the airports could not locate my luggage. I was seriously thinking it would be lost forever!! I give major thanks to my Mom and the travel agents at American Express for tracking down my suitcases. Toronto, on the other hand, was completely incompetent. By Friday night, my luggage was delivered to me. PHEW! I could finally get settled in (and not wear pajama shirts and leggings every day).

I unpacked, happily put on my gym shoes, and joined a gym. The gym here is something else, I tell ya. It’s a no-frill gym in a basement full of sweaty Israeli men. I definitely miss Sky Fitness already. I can’t wait until I learn my way around this place so I can figure out how to get to the beach. Running next to the Mediterranean Sea is way better than running on a dingy treadmill.

Okay, bear with me for one more minute… I’m almost done with my complaints. Our apartment is quite the sight. We call it the Levinsky Shit Hole. The showers are small and disgusting, our tiny bathroom sink leaks, my “closet” is just a couple shelves, and the beds are prison cots. Our “full kitchen” (as promised by the Destination Israel website) consists of a toaster oven, a fridge that freezes everything, a microwave, and hot plates that don’t get hot. It will definitely be an adjustment. I miss my Mom’s cooking, but we have managed to make a few good meals. The picture above is all of us at a family dinner. We made lemon chicken, Israeli cous cous with mushrooms, a tossed salad, and green beans. There are few things that make our apartment worth it. For one, we have an AMAZING rooftop patio. It is huge and has a beautiful view of the city. Once it gets warmer out, we will be hosting a bunch of parties out there! My roommates are also wonderful. From left to right, we have Danny, Hannah (the girl with whom I share a room), Jess, Mitch, and Jesse. Not pictured are Ashley and Gil. The people on this program are super cool. We’ve all bonded and I’ve made close friends already. I’ve gone out a few times with the group and Tel Aviv has an epic nightlife. I can’t wait to explore more clubs and bars.

In other news, I started my Ulpan class. I’ll be learning Hebrew for 5-7 hours every day for the next two weeks. Luckily, I’m in the most basic class. We struggle counting past 3…

I can’t wait until March. Hopefully it will be warmer by then (the weather has been cold and rainy). It’s also Purim, which is like Halloween on steroids!!! Plus, I start my internship. I’m really looking forward to starting my job. Playbuzz just surpassed Buzzfeed as the website with the most shares on Facebook. I’ve only heard amazing things about this company! March is also the month when I get to see my family again! I miss them so much.

Although I had a rough start, I am confident that things will get better. I still haven’t had falafel or shawarma yet, so I need to get on that FAST! There are so many restaurants that I need to try. My place is just 5 minutes from this awesome street, Rothschild, with a ton of cute cafes and kosher restaurants. Well, I am super behind on my American television shows so I must wrap up this post.

From my screen to yours,


Contacting Me!

Just a quick update regarding how to contact me when I’m in Israel.

My Israel number is +972-52-899-6464. I am getting a new SIM card so my original 847-373-9762 number will not work. Feel free to text me whenever because I have unlimited texts.

It’s even better if you have an iPhone because you can reach me with iMessages, at no cost to either of us. Just add my Israel number into your phone and text like you’d normally do. I can also send and receive iMessages using my email (cdobkin93@gmail). You can read more about iMessaging here:

Add my new number and email address into your phone! You can also always contact me via email, Viber, Facebook and Facebook messaging.

I hope all this makes sense. I can’t wait to start my journey soon (and leave the Chicago winter for good).

From my screen to yours,


Hey Everyone!

There are certain essentials for going abroad. Some might say light weight suitcases. Others may say comfortable shoes. But there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, and that is creating a blog. So here it is, my official Israel blog.

It’s called Pressing Play In Israel because I will be interning at Playbuzz and working for the content team. It also has this name for a much deeper reason. Signing up for the Destination Israel Program was my way of pressing play. Graduating from Northwestern a year early put me in a state of limbo. I still felt connected to my college friends, but I also felt obligated to begin a career. I was stuck and didn’t know where to go. Having missed out on the opportunity to study abroad and the experiences that come with it, I saw this program as a way to fill that void. It’s what I needed to begin the next chapter of my life. I am about to embark on an incredible journey. This will be my first time truly living on my own, away from home. I will be traveling to a foreign place where I know not a soul. I don’t speak the language and I don’t know my way around the city, but I have faith that I can do it. Very soon, I’ll learn Hebrew and become immersed in the Israeli culture. I will explore my Judaism and discover amazing places while meeting new friends along the way. I hope to grow as an individual and a professional. I can’t wait to begin my job. I get to write about entertainment, which is a dream come true.

Look to this blog as a portal into my exciting adventure. You can press play as well, and follow my Israel journey from your very own computer. I’ll be writing about the sites I visit, the foods I try, my awesome internship, and all the fun things I do.

From my screen to yours,