Shabbat of a Lifetime

Jay Patruno, Boston University

The David Project as a whole is a challenging, mind bending experience. There's a lot of information from numerous narratives and you try to piece it all together only to realize one basic yet complex reality; its complicated. With that, the most impactful experience was a conversation I was able to have at the Shabbat dinner table with our Israeli host family. Putting politics aside and breaking bread I was able to just connect with an Israeli Jewish mother on a human level. As a non-Jewish, nonreligious, American college student I'm as far removed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as possible it seems. This fascinating women and I spoke of education, immigration and emigration, Holocaust literature, and family. She had beautiful children and their family dynamic was admirable and heart warming. It was the best experience for me to see the reality of a situation like the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. The reality is these are people, on both sides of whatever color line people want to draw. They have families, their children go to school like we do, they have various views on religion, and their ethnic background is as colorful as their hotel breakfast buffet spreads. Even if I cannot directly relate to their struggles they face on a political level I can still internalize their experiences and where they are coming from because there is a common thread between us all, and this has taught me that I don't need to be Jewish or Israeli or Muslim or to relate to such a situation because the core values and overarching tension can be applied to so many aspects of individual life.