Well I hope they did not come expecting some delicious kugel or some fluffy matzah balls, because they did not get it (there was, however, gefilte fish on the salad bar). This past week, around 40 college students from all over the country traveled to Boston University to attend The David Project’s Israel on Demand seminar. And while the food during the four day conference might not have received the best reviews (we asked the students to fill out a survey before they left), one category was consistently ranked high – The David Project staff. The conference participants noted the effort that all of the staff made in building and developing meaningful relationships with them over the few days in Boston. This was great news considering the theme of the conference was relationship driven Israel activism. We believe that campus opinion towards Israel can be improved one conversation, and thus one relationship, at a time. Israel activism is really no different than making new friends. It is all about how we approach and interact with people. Just as conversations with one group of friends might be different than conversations with another group of friends – so too must our approach be to talking about Israel. We need to talk to the interests, and more importantly the hearts, of our friends and peers. This is the message we passed along last week in order to make the students more comfortable when talking about Israel on campus. And it did not take long to see the results.
Only two days after the conference, a student told me he just had his first conversation with a classmate about Israel. Without the confidence he gained at Israel on Demand, this conversation would likely not have happened. In the coming months, I know I will hear more stories like this as The David Project continues to give students the extra boost to develop these relationships.