Prior to arriving in Israel, I had done some research to find a good gym in Jerusalem. I knew that was something I would need in my daily regiment in order to hone some sort of complacency in my new home. The results? After researching thoroughly online and reading advice blogs from other invested 'olim', I had every reason to be wary of finding a modern health club that would fit the bill. I think we would all agree that we are spoiled in the U.S. with mass produced state-of-the-art developments and our gyms are no exception. As for my gym at home in southern California, I have been a member of L.A. Fitness for nearly 10 years, where for just $34 a month, I have complete access to modern, high-tech equipment with fans, TV's, radio and audio. Additionally, I can go to as many classes as I want as part of this plan and there are large, comfortable locker rooms with clean showers and sophisticated saunas. It is clean, comfortable and highly affordable. In sum, for just a minimal fee, we seem to be spoiled in the U.S. with all sorts of daily comforts that we may arguably take for granted.
I was prepared to give all of this up when I moved to Israel. I questioned whether exercise would even be a part of my daily life. My mind, filled with misperceptions and worries, for some reason anticipated that moving to Israel meant giving up all the modern conveniences that I was used to having on a regular basis. Although good friends - and you know who you are - tried to assure me that Israel had everything I could find back home, fears are simply fears for a reason and they do not acquiesce until they are proven wrong. While to some extent it may be true that there are certain conveniences I am having to give up, I am relieved and excited to share with you a new comfort I have found: my new home away from home. Well, okay, that's going a little far to say that my new gym is a home, but I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
|Entrance to Hebrew University's Gym|
|High-tech workout room overlooking Mount of Olives|
|A cafe on the gym's 1st level with million dollar views|
|An outside green area with chairs to laze in the sun|
|A world-class pool|
|Rafi enjoying a massage chair|
|Juice Bar with fresh fruit and vegetables|
Pretty nice, isn't it? My jaw kept dropping and my eyes kept bulging as we continued throughout the four-story gym, finding more and more surprises with every turn on every floor. Sometimes, it's so much better when you expect the least, only to be pleasantly awed by what you find. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see my fears and worries evaporate before my eyes, as my basic comforts and worries are restored. It reminds me a little bit of Maslow's hierachy of needs - a shout out to my graduate school studies - and yes, I did just refer to a psychological theory. This is what happens when you get your degree in counseling; you start psychoanalyzing your life and the lives of those around you as well. It's an inside joke identifying what theories you see jumping to life around you, whether it's a character on a TV show, a good friend or family member, or even a barista in a coffee shop. This is much the same way that a law school graduate or a medical school student might start speaking in their own language with their peers, labeling the people and world around them on a daily basis in their everyday encounters.
And now, back to the gym. Although it's nearly double what I would be paying back home, I am thrilled to know that I have access to the fanciest gym I've ever been a member of, which was never something I anticipated. And this four-story modern masterpiece it's just around the corner from home, which makes it walking distance. Not only does it have everything I had at my gym back home, it has more. This should train me to open up my mind to the unexpected. Certainly, it also does not hurt to have a view like this when you head out for a run:
|View of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus Campus|