Whom do you think the average twenty-year old
would rather hear: a government minister or Israeli peers?
To Joey Low, a philanthropist
from New York, the choice was obvious and he founded Israel At Heart in
order to assist Israel’s outreach efforts to American college students and
other young people. Israel At Heart sends Israelis throughout college campuses
in the United States to tell their own stories. Participants in Israel
At Heart must have completed their army service and speak fluent English.
This fall, forty-eight
Israelis in their mid-twenties divided into sixteen groups and traveled over
the United States, from California to Massachusetts, speaking everywhere from
college campuses to statehouses.
Three of the student
ambassadors, Ari, Ariel, and Dalia, spent the weekend at Harvard earlier this
month speaking four times – twice at Hillel, as well as at the Buddhist Society
and the Harvard Islamic Society. One ambassador is religious, two are secular,
but all spoke about their lives, their army service, their disillusionments,
fears and hopes.
One “ambassador” told
the group that on the day before one of his best friend’s wedding, his other
best friend’s aunt was killed in a bombing. Neither
of them told the groom-to-be, who got very anxious, and
finally angry as his wedding progressed and his friend was missing.
Finally, at eleven at night, the bereaved friend arrived, and the groom began
yelling. Only later did they tell the groom. But imagine being the friend
in the middle–torn between absolute joy and absolute horror. This was his
In the end, these students and their mission were powerful and successful.
They encouraged us to visit Israel and brought us the human side of the daily
news. For many students, this was the first contact they had had with
“real” Israelis. They truly brought Israel to our hearts.
Text by J. Rosenbloom.