The David Project to me, if I were to sum it up in a nutshell, is a way for non-Jewish students to meet the people of Israel, to get a more experiential hands on exposure to something that most of us are probably pretty distant from. All I knew about Israel was pretty much what the media sensationalizes, so every time I heard about it, something bad was going on.
Prior to BU I went to Catholic school for 14 years of my life. So the only thing that I knew of Judaism was what I learned in class
I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I really tired to keep an open mind and tried to not go into this trip with my preconceived biases.
I knew this was going to be me being pushed outside my comfort zone. And also experiencing a culture that I’ve never experienced.
I thought I was going to meet a bunch of ultra orthodox Jewish men. I didn’t think there was going to be anyone else there. Obviously I was being extremely naïve and very closed-minded.
A lot of people asked me if I had a lot of concerns going into the trip, because it was the Middle East. “Aren’t you going to be scared? What do your parents think?” And I genuinely didn’t.
People were incredibly friendly. So I really did appreciate the welcoming vibe that was in Tel Aviv.
The social scene in Israel was a lot of fun and I think how we really got intertwined and integrated into this culture. When you go out and you experience the nightlife, or you go out to dinner and you strike up a conversation with an Israeli that is your age. It was just awesome how somebody who is around our same age, lives their life nearly halfway across the world.
The most meaningful experience for me was the Shabbat of a lifetime. We did like a home stay. I had an amazing conversation with the mother who was a Swedish Jew and the father was an American Jew who went back to Israel. Seeing them interact and seeing that they are real people – that put a face to all of it.
Going to the Western Wall, seeing how people were so happy, seeing how people were so passionate about worshiping their religion, even though we shared different religions I just felt that part of the community. I felt that I was very accepted.
I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is that we are all human beings and we feel love and pain and we are all scared. We feel all these emotions and that is something that connects all of us. Being on this trip and hearing both sides of the story, I am definitely more in tune with the issue.
Going to Israel really made me step back and just try to understand from their perspective.
No one is going to have the same opinion after they go. And even for Jewish students – go on Birthright – it’s a trip to meet people like you and get in touch with something you might not ever get In touch with again. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!