While celebrating America’s birthday on a rooftop 30 stories high in Boston's Downtown Crossing, I had an everyday advocacy moment that I must share. At the party, I was mingling with the diverse group of guests, all of whom lived in the beautiful apartment building we were standing upon. When I introduced myself to one of the guests, he noted that he had never heard my name, Avital, before and asked where it came from. I explained that it is a Hebrew name and that my mother is Israeli. As usual in this type of instance, my name became the catalyst for a conversation about Israel:
“Oh so you’re Israeli? Wow! Cool, have you ever been?”
“Yes, of course, many times. In fact I was just there three weeks ago.”
“That’s great. I don’t really know much about it. But, actually my good friend, Scott, who is here, just started traveling to Tel Aviv for work and he’s been saying how amazing it is.”
“Yes, it is an amazing place. Tel Aviv is one of the most beautiful, exciting cities in the world.”
My new friend and I went back and forth about Israel for a few more minutes. I elucidated parts of Israel he may have never known before and he became increasingly intrigued by what I had to say. Not too long into our conversation, Scott (the friend who travels to Tel Aviv for work) joined our conversation and began explaining what an amazing time he has been having on his work trips and how he felt that Israel is a hidden travel destination gem. Shortly after, we went our separate ways, but I was left with the feeling that I had taught at least one person a thing or two about Israel, a country I care so deeply about.
More often than not, I’ve seen how when I introduce myself my unique name launches me into a conversation about Israel. My ability to talk about my experiences and my connection to Israel has allowed me to leave a positive impression of Israel with many people. For those of us who care about Israel, we all have something that connects us to the country and the people there. Personal advocacy is all about recognizing this connection while being cognizant of how we can naturally share it with others. For me, personal advocacy starts with my name. For you it may be a red string you are wearing around your wrist from the Kotel, and for someone else it may be a picture on the background of his iPhone. Whatever your starting point is, remember that your ability to share with others your passion for Israel - even during a five minute conversation on the Fourth of July - can really have a lasting impact on the people around you.