Aliza Weiss is an incoming junior attending Michigan State University. She recently attended The David Project’s Relationship Building Institute and has written a blog post sharing her experience. When asked if I wanted to participate in The David Project’s Relationship Building Institute, I hesitated. Going to Washington DC to meet students and important leaders sounded intimidating. After some encouragement, I became excited and decided to apply. No amount of descriptions from The David Project staff could depict what my four day adventure in DC would hold.
I arrived in DC to find an energetic group of young leaders, excited to build relationships around Israel. We met with the Urban League (an organization working on improving the urban community in DC). We also ate dinner at the Greek Embassy and had a meaningful Q & A session with their interns as well as the Greek leaders.
The most encouraging aspect of the program was learning the skills for creating and maintaining relationships. We learned how to sincerely reach out to other leaders on our campuses, while simultaneously solidifying the relationships within our own group.
After the conference, I boarded the plane, excited to get home and put what I learned into action. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long. I sat next to a man wearing a kippah. I pulled out my traveler’s prayer and after reading it myself, offered it to him. He enthusiastically pulled out his own and we spent the entire plane ride back to Ohio discussing his journey as a Rabbi and mine as a young Jewish leader. Once we exited the plane he handed me a pin with the Israel and American flag on it that said, “keep on making a difference.” This is the message I received from The David Project conference and it’s the message I am excited to put into action on my own campus.