What do Improv and Israel Advocacy Have to do with Each Other?

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As part of The David Project’s summer advocacy seminars, we invited local improv troupes to meet with our students. While students figured the improv workshops would be a blast, many students wondered what improv has to do with Israel advocacy.

The answer soon became clear as the improv exercises covered two essential skills of improv: active listening and conversation techniques.

Improv taught us the importance of listening first in a conversation rather than pushing to insert our agenda into a conversation. After four of these workshops this summer at our seminars, I am now a believer! Improv has everything to do with our work as drivers of social change. But, you don't have to take my word for it.

According to an article on www.good.is, improv is “the secret to the fastest, widest ranging, longest lasting, and certainly most fun path to positive, global social change.”

This bold statement comes from an actor who recently authored a piece on the value of taking an improv class. In the article, he argues that improv training offers a very specific set of skills that ultimately make us better people:

“In order to be good at improv, you must adhere to a few pretty stringent rules. You must listen to others. You must agree with what’s going on, and respect those you’re working with…As a result, a completely delightful by-product of improv is a set of unbelievably great skills for citizenship. Those who improvise become nicer, more informed, more interesting, more interested people.” http://www.good.is/posts/best-kept-secret-to-creating-social-change-take-an-improv-class

The author hits several important points that are crucial to our work as Israel advocates. The key to changing minds depends on the same set of skills that improv teaches: – active listening, withholding an agenda or judgment, and respecting other’s views, values, and interests. Improv helps you to listen and be present, because if you don’t, you become a weak link in the scene.

Because improv classes offer an important set of skills for advocates, The David Project, in association with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, is offering a free improv workshop and performance to students at New England area schools on Wednesday, October 10, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Improv Asylum in Boston’s historic North End.

To register, please visit http://www.israelcampusroundtable.org/improv.html or check out the Facebook event page at http://www.facebook.com/events/354441761311220/.

For more information, please contact Jacob Levkowicz, The David Project’s New England Campus Coordinator, at jml@davidproject.org, or 617-428-0012, or Nathan Ciccolo, CJP Israel Activism Campus Associate, at nathanc@cjp.org, or 617-457-8573.