The David Project is so excited to welcome Michael Kagan as the newest member of campus team. Watch and read below to learn more about Michael.
The David Project: What is your go-to way to begin a conversation with someone you don't know?
Michael: My go to way to spark a conversation usually involves a handshake and a smile. I've always believed the handshake is a great way to break social barriers between people and a warm smile shows others that you are open and friendly. It's also important to bring enthusiasm to any initial conversation as this encourages others to open up and be themselves.
TDP: Why is it important for students from different backgrounds and communities to learn about each other?
Michael: College students come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives that help shape their worldview. As these students embark on their collegiate careers, they begin to learn that the rewards and struggles they will encounter are also shared by others, and only through shared understanding can they progress forward. During my college career, I learned that many students experienced the same challenges that I faced whether it be at home, school, or in society. By finding these commonalities, I realized that these connections with others made myself and the Jewish community stronger and helped us address important issues on campus.
TDP: What is your favorite thing about Israel?
Michael: My favorite thing about Israel is the sense of family and comfort I feel whenever I step foot in the incredible country. While I've lived my entire life in the United States, Israel is the one place I feel truly at home. I walk through the streets and see kosher food in stores. I speak Hebrew with locals and play madkot on the beach. For me, Israel will always have a special place in my heart and is a unique country that I always encourage people to experience for themselves.
TDP: What is an example of a time you were a relational advocate? What is an example of a time you were an ally?
Michael: My experience as a relational advocate and ally definitely came up during this most recent presidential election. Many students on my campus were distraught over the results and looked towards their fellow students for support and compassion. I realized that before I shared my own concerns, I needed to be there for others and ensure that I advocate for the issues they cared about. I was amazed to see how forging these alliances built genuine relationships with these students, and later on, I was able to openly discuss the issues that I cared about when it came to Israel.
TDP: What are you looking forward to most about working with The David Project?
Michael: Starting this journey with The David Project, I'm really looking forward to meeting the student leaders that make up our college campuses and bringing the lessons I've learned in Israel advocacy to the table. I'm so excited to learn about what these students are facing and the successes they've had on each of their campuses. I'm looking forward to a mutual relationship where we both help each other grow and succeed in our endeavors.