The David Project is so excited to welcome Rachel Adams as the newest member of campus team. Watch and read below to learn more about Rachel.
The David Project: Why is it important for students from different backgrounds/communities to learn about each other?
Rachel: Considering the current political climate and evolution of technology and social media, it is of the utmost importance for students to exit their bubbles of comfort and echo chambers. It is time to expose themselves to their peers with different opinions and experiences. Every aspect of our digital life is curated to fit our own unique preferences, demographics, and experiences, often limiting our exposure to those outside of our networks. We need to make a conscious effort to step out of our newsfeeds and engage with new and different people. This often requires putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations. I believe that it pays off, and forces us to constantly reexamine our own beliefs and perspectives on the world.
TDP: What is your favorite thing about Israel? Why?
Rachel: I don’t have a favorite single thing about Israel, but I have a favorite feeling that I get in Israel. It’s this sense of familiarity and ease (despite the almost constant chaos and noise) that I can only get there. I think the scene that illustrates it the most is walking down Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv on a summer evening. People are out with their families and friends, sitting on benches and talking, walking their dogs, out on their balconies, and just enjoying an evening stroll. I love that the entire city is out to walk, enjoy the weather, and be with one another. Living in Tel Aviv often felt like living in a village or a kibbutz, and I loved that I actually got to know the people I interacted with on a daily basis. From the owner of the grocery store on Shenkin, to the bank teller around the corner, it was great to feel that we knew each other beyond our simple daily interaction. This is something that I have only found in Israel and is what I miss the most.
TDP: What is your go-to way to begin a conversation with someone you don't know?
Rachel: I always try to find some sort of weird random thing that I have in common with the person. Whether it’s finding out that we have a mutual friend, or some other strange fact in common, I love those “What a small world!” moments.
Here are a few examples:
I discovered that my current roommate’s cousin went to high school with me
It turns out that a good friend I just met in DC actually lived around the corner from me in Tel Aviv for a year
Some of the local Moishe House residents knew the students I worked with in Australia when they were on a leadership trip to DC.
I love it when worlds collide!
TDP: What are you looking forward to most about working with The David Project? Why?
Rachel: From my college days to my present work on university campuses, I have found myself returning time and again to the same question- How we can bring Israel to campus in a smart and effective way? In my previous work, I admired The David Project’s innovative and nuanced approach to finding answers to this question. It allows for so much diversity of opinion, personal exploration and growth in terms of Israel, and can show measurable impact. Rather than shy away from the complexity of Israel, The David Project embraces this as a point upon which to build a stronger relationship to Israel and between students.
TDP: What is an example of a time you were an ally? What is an example of a time you built a coalition?
Rachel: When I was a student leader on at my campus Hillel, we were trying to think of a different way to commemorate the Holocaust and reach out to the wider community. This was during the height of the genocide in Darfur, and we wanted to make sure to bring attention to this as a part of our program.
We decided to organize a commemoration on Yom Hashoah with different student groups representing communities which have also been victims of genocide. At the time, it was quite the departure from the traditional Holocaust commemoration. We gathered speakers from the Jewish, Armenian, Cambodian, and Sudanese communities together to tell their stories. It was an incredibly emotional event, but we all left feeling a sense of connection, shared experience, and new found strength.