By Lior Shalev, Israel Fellow at University of Massachusetts Amherst Hillel.
Although this is my second year working with The David Project, this was first experience at the Relationship Building Institute. I always supported the work that The David Project did on campus and loved working with the staff. However, it was only through my experience at the summer conference that I gained a true understanding of what The David Project represents and values: true relationships.
Students that work with the David Project are mentored and trained to build relationships with campus leaders and unique communities. However, this relationship building strategy and investment in personal connections extends beyond the outreach that the students do on campus.
While it may be most measurable in the student outreach, the value of relationships and connections extends much father than that. Throughout the conference, I got the feeling that we were all one family. Regardless of your age, background, or knowledge, The David Project staff was invested in building a relationship with us, and making us feel like part of a larger family and network.
Whether it was through sharing lunch with The David Project staff, dancing together on the boat cruise, or engaging in serious conversation, I felt that The David Project was truly committed to building a relationship with students and Israel fellows.
The strategy of Relational Advocacy is deeply rooted within the organization and its staff. It is reflected in the way that The David Project builds relationships with the Hillel staff and Israel fellows.
Throughout the conference, the Israel fellows felt involved and valued. Having the opportunity to lead sessions for the students, participate in a specials Professionals Track, and provide input and suggestions, I felt that we were a part of the bigger team.
As an Israeli who is committed to advocating and supporting Israel, it was so touching and important for me to realize the shared dedication and support that Americans have as well for our cause. Throughout this conference, it was clear to me that we found the “common ground,” which is deeply rooted support and dedication for Israel.
Lior Shalev is the Israel Fellow at University of Massachusetts Amherst Hillel. Lior was born in the country of Georgia, but made aliyah in 1994 with his family. In Israel he studied psychology and management at Open University.