Taken Aback By The Relationship Building Institute

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Millie Marcus is a second year student at Brooklyn, a Junior if you take her Israel gap year credits into account. She is a psychology major & is pursuing a career in physical therapy. She also runs for the Brooklyn Bulldogs Cross Country Team. Millie jumped right into the Israel Club at BC as soon as she arrived on campus. After just one semester on the board, she chaired her own event, a crowded screening of Beneath the Helmet with a guest appearance from a soldier from the film. Excited to use her talents & spread her love for Israel & its defense, Millie became a fellow at Hasbara as well as an intern at The David Project. She is looking forward to the next strategic semester on campus!   When I registered for The David Project’s Relationship Building Institute (RBI) I realized that I was taking a break from my busy summer schedule. I had no time to mentally prepare and therefore had zero expectations for the week in Boston. So yeah, taken aback.

While getting to know my peers, I was astounded by the diversity of students that The David Project had attracted. Many participants as well as staff were not Jewish. Some of these student leaders were more enthusiastic about Israel advocacy than my Orthodox Jewish friends who grew up with a Yeshiva education. If this doesn't inspire you, then I don't know what will.

Growing up religious, I had only seen Israel through the Jewish lens. It wasn't until recently that I had the opportunity to tour the other quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as other cities that are not predominantly Jewish. Although Israel is the Jewish state, it is a country of many faiths. At RBI it was empowering to hear non-Jewish students talk about the spiritual connection and religious experiences they have had and felt in Israel.

Some of the students at the conference haven't visited Israel yet and are still so passionate about defending it. This served as a wake up call for me. I had to re-evaluate. Am I doing enough? Am I giving it my all? How committed am I to making a difference on campus?

I was indecisive about coming to the conference but I decided that it would be a great networking opportunity and a chance to learn from fellow interns and their experiences with relationship building at college. What I didn't know was that I'd be learning about my own responsibilities to defend Israel as a Jew, from non-Jewish leaders.

The week at RBI in and of itself has already made a difference. Let's embrace the unity that we have created and take it as far as it can go.