I am one of the lucky few who have participated in Israel Amplified as both a participant and as a professional. My first time at Israel Amplified was a few years ago when I was a student at University of California, Irvine. I remember feeling anxious to learn as much about Israel as I could. When it was over, I walked away from that conference excited to teach my sorority sisters what I had learned. Now a few years later I had the privilege of getting to plan and be a part of Israel Amplified as a staff member. There was one moment in the conference that reaffirmed my commitment to Israel advocacy and my professional role with The David Project. In one of the breakout sessions a couple of us decided to listen to Dan Gordon, a speaker from the Israeli consulate. He started out by telling us about the political climate in Israel and the surrounding countries, which was interesting, but was nothing I had not heard about before. Then Dan shared a personal story that really changed the tone of the room. Dan told us about how he once through random circumstance was able to saving a wedding that had to be moved into a bomb shelter because of rocket fire from Gaza by supplying to the ceremony flowers that he had randomly ended up with because of the chaos of the day.
Dan’s story spoke to the family atmosphere that Israelis have toward each other, which is one of the characteristics I love about the country. Dan’s story will always stay with me and reminded me that sharing a personal story can have a greater impact than explaining complex issues in the news.
During Israel Amplified I worked with students to help them learn to share stories that highlight why they connect to Israel. When it came time for our programming brainstorming sessions, the students had much more drive to do so after remembering their own reasons why they connect to Israel. The students had the opportunity to brainstorm new Israel events to plan within their chapter, with other Greek chapters, and campus wide. I lead the discussion on chapter wide events, and people really came up with some great ways to incorporate Israel in the programs they already do. Whether it was a self-defense krav maga lesson, a spa night with Israeli products or an Israeli themed tailgate, they were creative.
I am excited for our students to go back to their chapters, tell their personal narrative and implement some great programs with their chapter and Greek wide!