Our Friendship Didn't End When the Plane Left Tel-Aviv #IsraelUncovered

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Elizabeth Levi and Tatum Swize are both sophomores at Northeastern University. Along with being a Journalism major and Anthropology minor, Elizabeth is an active member of the campus Hillel, Huskies for Israel, and is a David Project intern. Tatum is Chemical Engineering major, also studying History and Geology. She is involved with the Catholic Center on campus, volunteers with Boston's homeless community, and became a David Project intern after she returned from Israel Uncovered. Elizabeth and Tatum are pictured at left with Jameson, a fellow Northeastern student, on Israel Uncovered. The Catholic Center and Hillel are right next to each other on Northeastern’s campus, separated only by a wall. On Wednesdays, one of us goes to the Catholic Center NULife gatherings; the other attends Hillel’s General Board meetings. We are both active members of our religious organizations, but despite the close proximity of our buildings, we had never met until late last year.

"Before I met Tatum at Pavement for a typical David Project coffee date, I expected an ultra-religious Catholic girl. Instead I found a fellow Southerner and someone I got along with surprisingly well. By the end of the coffee date, I knew Tatum and I would become good friends and was excited to report back to our David Project campus coordinator that we had picked the right person to take to Israel on Israel Uncovered. At the orientation in New Jersey, we mostly stuck together (and also befriended Jameson, the other Northeastern student, so that we could utilize his long arms for taking selfies). Since we only knew each other (and Jameson) before we arrived, I decided to force my friendship on the two of them, especially since we’d be returning to the same campus. We bonded over intentionally awkward ice breakers, giggled at how funny The David Project's executive director Phil Brodsky is, and taught each other more about our religions. Throughout the trip, I asked Tatum to teach me more about Catholicism, the religion my mom was raised with, while I volunteered information about Judaism and Israel." --Elizabeth

"From evening dips in the Mediterranean Sea to exploring the shuk to taking hundreds of selfies, Elizabeth and I instantly became best friends upon our arrival in Israel. We always saved each other a seat on the bus and were a bit disappointed when we couldn’t room together (probably because the coordinators knew we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet all of the other people on the trip). I used Elizabeth as my personal tour guide for the ten days. She led me through the Old City of Jerusalem, taught me how to bargain with the vendors in the markets, and showed me all of the best places for falafel. By the end of the trip, we knew that our friendship wouldn’t end when the plane left Tel Aviv. I am now a David Project intern, and we get to see each other regularly both in and out of the David Project meetings." --Tatum

Throughout the semester, the wall between our buildings has started to seem less significant. We both feel comfortable opening the doors on either side as we continue to share each other’s beliefs and practices with our communities and one another. If it weren’t for The David Project and the Israel Uncovered trip, we would have continued attending meetings next door to each other for the next four years, one of us at Hillel, the other at the Catholic Center, and we would have missed out on this beautiful friendship.

 

Editors note: During the spring semester, there was an attempt to pass a motion on Divestment against Israel at Northeastern University. Efforts put in by both Jewish, Catholic, and other Pro-Israel students prevented it from passing this year.