The David Project's NYC Retreat
Tucked away in a quiet, cozy, home in Stony Point, New York, intern teams from Queens College, the College of Staten Island, and Hunter College convened for a weekend of skill building, problem solving and, of course, bonding.
We began the Friday March 23 session by sharing our own personal narratives and learning a bit about one another through the world-famous icebreaker (that Rachel, our Campus Coordinator, is way too good at) two truths and a lie. Becoming acquainted with one another happened easily and naturally, as we realized how many similarities we all shared as CUNY students. We then had some time for introspection, as we were given the task of writing down some thoughts about why we each care about Israel and why we want to be Israel advocates.
Before we knew it, it was time to begin Shabbat. Members of the Moishe Project from Brooklyn came equipped with reading materials, conversation topics, and of course, food for all of us to share at our Shabbat meal. From the moment we sat down at the table, the whole room was energized with lively conversation and debate, and a whole lot of amazing questions.
The next morning, we engaged in activities directly aimed at training us to be as effective as possible in our internships. We acted out theoretical situations, and dilemmas, and analyzed different texts that could help us truly understand our roles as Israel advocates. Together, through these programs, we were able to share successes and difficulties that we have been facing on our individual campuses, and to offer support to one another.
The afternoon was dedicated to mapping out our own campuses to analyze our progress so far, and to make plans for the future. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to have the resources of Danny and Rachel (our Campus Manager and Campus Coordinator) to help us figure out how to reach the next step in our David Project chapter development.
After my co-intern Penina and I orchestrated a lively (albeit pretty off-key) Havdalah ceremony to end Shabbat, we all convened for a movie night in the large living room. We watched a film created by the Hillel at the University of Texas, Project Puente that detailed the relationship between the Latino and Jewish students on campus there. During our post-movie break to finish up our Shabbat leftovers, we continued our discussion and investigation of how we could employ the tactics used by the students at the University of Texas to create strong, effective relationships on campus. We finished off the night by celebrating the upcoming holiday of Passover with a screening of (arguably) the best Passover movie, Prince of Egypt. Still can’t get those songs out of my head.
When Sunday morning rolled around, we could not believe that our time together was coming to a close. In our final session, we planned out a series of short term goals, that we wanted to accomplish by the end of the semester, long term goals, that we want to accomplish at some point in the future, and shorter-term goals, that we wanted to accomplish in the following week. After discussing amongst ourselves, we came up with our plans, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Allison House, and to one another.
Having the opportunity to spend time with other interns simply interacting and sharing stories was an invaluable experience. Knowing that there is a supportive community of other interns and David Project staff really strengthened our intern team as a whole and will allow us to finish off this semester strong! Looking forward to the next retreat!