As we prepare for the upcoming new year, we'd like to reflect on some of the amazing moments of the 2017 calendar year. So here are the 17 most memorable moments that made this past year so special:
1. The David Project Student Board
Each year, The David Project selects 8 outstanding relational advocates to serve as representatives of our organization. These students not only work together to promote lasting initiatives, but also serve as a source of guidance and support for their fellow students across the country. This year's board has already served in several leadership capacities, including participation in our first Black-Jewish Summit and participating on this winter's Israel Uncovered: Campus Leader's Mission. To read more about our outstanding National Student Board, click here.
2. Our New Campus Staff
2017 marked the beginning of several new campus coordinators at The David Project. Michael Kagan was recently hired as the Mid-Atlantic Campus Coordinator, Juliana Moskowitz was hired as our new New Jersey and Florida Coordinator, Rachel Adams now serves as the Coordinator for New York and Vanderbilt, and Carlos Martinez joined us as the newest Campus Coordinator for Northern California. Each of these coordinators have done a tremendous job in empowering their students to create positive change on campus. To learn more about The David Project Staff, click here.
3. The Black-Jewish Summit
On November 3-5th, The David Project hosted the first ever Black-Jewish Summit in Washington D.C. Students representing 8 campuses across the country, joined together for an incredible weekend of collaboration, education, and dialogue. Check out the video below for a complete recap of the weekend.
4. Latino Jewish Summit
On March 3-5th, we hosted our first ever Latino-Jewish Summit titled, Latino y Judios Unidos! Latinos and Jews United (Latinos y Judíos Unidos) was a weekend of exploring identity, personal and community narrative, delving into topics such as hate crime, immigration, and diaspora, and finding shared values for the purpose of coalition building between Latino and Jewish communities on college campuses. To read more about this amazing first time summit, click here.
5. Israel Uncovered Follow Up.
As our Executive Director, Phil Brodsky loves to say, "The last day of the trip is when the real journey begins". Students that participated on Israel Uncovered began to realize the impact of bringing their experiences from Israel back to campus. Over the course of the Spring 2018, our students found a number of creative and exciting ways to connect their fellow peers to Israel that they never thought imaginable. Many of our students realize that bringing nuanced conversation to campus is so important when it comes to discussing Israel, and we're so proud of the amazing strides that our students made this past semester.
6. A 40 Percent Increase in Campus Activity This Last School Year
At the end of the 2016-17 Academic Year, we were proud to announce a 40% increase in genuine relational advocacy and outreach on our campuses. Our work showed that building genuine relationships across campus communities and finding common ground, lead to a strong view of the Jewish and Israel communities as allies on campus, but also a shared sense of connection with diverse groups. We want to thank each and every one of our students for their tremendous work this past year for they are the agents of change on their respective campuses.
7. The David Project Merges With Hillel International
On August 23rd, Hillel International announced that it has reached an agreement with The David Project to integrate the pro-Israel group into Hinenu, Hillel’s Israel Education and Engagement department. This new partnership has served the causes of both of our organizations, and we look to grow within our new role at Hillel International in the upcoming year. To read more about our merger, click here.
8. Alexie Came Back
2017 not only marked the beginning of new staff, but the return of those we love. We could not be more excited that Alexie Lundeen rejoined The David Project as our Associate Director this past year. Alexie has been instrumental in serving our organization, while also helping establish our new relationship with Hillel International. We're glad to have you back Lexie!
9. Welcome to #PhilFridays
Following the announcement of our merger, we launched a new weekly series called #PhilFridays on our Facebook page! Starring Phil Brodsky, the weekly show has provided insight into the work behind the scenes at The David Project, while also highlighting many of our partners and the incredible work they do. To catch-up on the latest PhilFridays episodes, check out our Facebook page.
10. Juliana's Venture Vlogs
As Juliana started her first semester as a Campus Coordinator, she decided to take all of us on the road with her! In her series called Venture Vlogs, Juliana brought us along to her campuses in New Jersey and Florida to meet some of the amazing students and professionals that she gets to work with (also who doesn't love those karaoke scenes in her car?). To check out some of her most recent videos, click here.
11. The 2017 Relationship Building Institute Award Winners
This year's Relationship Building Institute highlighted a number of worthy recipients from our 45 campuses across the country. Our students and professionals created outstanding initiatives, built genuine relationships, and strived to achieve our goal of creating positive change on campus. To read more about this year's award winners, click here
12. Conan's Trip to Israel
This past summer, late-night host Conan O'Brien traveled to Israel to learn more about the history, people, and culture of the Jewish homeland. Conan's visit highlighted a great deal of what the world doesn't always see in this part of the world. We thank Conan for shedding a light on the everyday lives of Israelis, while also understanding the nuance behind many of the difficult issues in the area.
13. Gal Gadot
By far the biggest reason for Israel to celebrate in 2017, was Gal Gadot becoming a global superstar. Her role as Wonder Woman in the DC films broke box office records, but it was her role outside of the films that truly set her apart, Gal took up the mantle as an ambassador of Israel, and a beacon of feminism which has led her to inspire so many people all across the world. We know that her work has been a source of inspiration for so many of our students and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes next.
14. All of our campus Hillel partners
There are a number of Hillel partners we have on campus who without their support, our work would not be possible. From the engagement associates, to Israel professionals, and the incredibly supportive Hillel Directors, we want to thank you all for your commitment, dedication, and passion towards our movement. We cannot wait to continue working with you all in 2018!
15. The Amazing NGOs Working For Peace
With all the violence and tension portrayed by the media, we sometimes forget the incredible work of organizations on the ground that work to better the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. We hope for a day that peace will be achieved amongst these two people, but we are thankful each and every day for those dedicating their lives towards making that dream much more achievable.
16. The Amazing Israel Fellows on Campus
Part of what makes our work so rewarding is the genuine partnerships we form with our Israel Fellows on campus. Many of them leave their homes in Israel to start a life in the United States, and we know it's not always easy. These individuals dedicate their time towards empowering the pro-Israel community on their campuses, and their work most definitely deserves notice. Michelle Rojas-Tal, head of the Israel Fellows program most recently talked about the great work of the Israel Fellows on campus which can be found here.
17. Our Amazing Student Movement
Our work would not be possible without our amazing students. You inspire us each day with your passion and commitment, despite all your stresses of being a college student. We are thankful for your work on campus and hope you all enjoy a wonderful winter break. You all have earned it!