Before the speeches and activities began, we sat down for lunch, and I was able to meet a few of the Israelis. This winter I traveled to Israel on Birthright with Hillel at UVa, and we were able to bond about the experience- we even had mutual friends on Facebook (insert Jewish geography joke)! I’ve always been impressed with the way Israelis carry themselves, specifically in their levels of maturity. I spoke with one of the Israelis named Or, who is also a brother of AEPi at IDC Herzliya. We came to the conclusion that because of the lifestyle they live in Israel – with the army and the type of people – there is an emphasis on independence and early learning. He said that in the army you learn things that cannot be taught in school like meaningful lessons in accountability and responsibility.
Later, I sat down with two Israelis, Dor and Avi, for an activity that involved depicting America or Israel through the others’ eyes. Dor and Avi spoke about what they thought America meant to them, their parents, their friends and to Americans, and I did the same for Israel. They shared the typical stereotypes of college parties and big business, but they also pointed out some more interesting complexities of American culture. Seeing that they do not see every piece of American news, they focused on the bigger, controversial stories as thematic of American culture. Things like race, the two party system and safety. I went on to describe my sentiments toward Israel and how much it means to my family living in America and in Israel. Dor, Avi and I really bonded over our shared passion for Israel, and it made me remember the great times I had this winter on Birthright. Overall, I was so excited to help host this group of Israelis and I hope they come back soon!
Class of 2017
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,800 Jewish students on Grounds.