How The David Project Affected My College Experience
By Delaney Kahlert, San Diego State University
When I was a freshman at SDSU, I was invited to apply for a trip to Israel.
10 days, airfare, lodging, food, everything would be covered for a deposit of $250. Being the lost 19 year old I was, it sounded too good to be true - but it wasn’t. My first experience traveling to Israel, back in June 2016, forever changed my life.
I got on the plane expecting to find camels, lots of desert sand, and a strict religious society. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As soon as we began driving through the streets of Tel Aviv, my surroundings felt strangely similar to those of my hometown, Long Beach. It was a modern city on the coast with a diverse, democratic society. The more I got to know Israel, the more I fell in love. Eating my way through Machane Yehuda, exploring thousand year old ruins at Masada, walking through the Old City in Jerusalem and experiencing all four different quarters, slurping down numerous Aroma ice coffees, sleeping in local kibbutzim, and having spiritual experiences pretty much all over the place - it was no surprise that immediately upon my return from this trip, I couldn’t keep quiet about my incredible experience. All I talked about was Israel.
When I returned, I started noticing how polarizing the conversation in the United States is when it comes to Israel. It didn’t make sense to me how people had such strong opinions about a place they had never visited or seen firsthand. One of the other students on my trip, Michael Kagan, recommended me to apply for a student intern position with this organization called The David Project. The David Project helped me translate my passion for Israel into effective and constructive advocacy. It’s given me an outlet to express my interest and appreciation for Israeli culture and an understanding of its political conflicts.
Through the David Project, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the national student board for the past 2 years, and this year as the co-chair. I’ve hosted events between communities that have brought students of all different backgrounds together to find common ground. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to St. Louis and New York to better develop my advocacy skills and to connect with other student interns from all over the country. The friendships I’ve made at these conferences have been particularly special. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to Israel, alongside the most diverse, intelligent group of individuals that I am forever grateful to call peers.
The experiences I have been fortunate to gain from being apart of this organization the past three years are nothing short of priceless. As a graduating senior, I couldn’t be more grateful for The David Project!