By Emily Gutowski, Class of 2015
Question: Where can you find a diverse group of students from completely different backgrounds—religions, organizations, ethnicities, interests—enjoying a dinner together and talking about Israel? Answer: The David Project’s biannual Campus Conversation. Throughout the fall semester, interns from the David Project, an organization that seeks to engage student leaders in conversation about Israel, had been involved in outreach with various groups on campus. Led by our advisor from the David Project, Erika Wohl, and Ido Mahatzri, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Rutgers Hillel, we established connections with influential students who feel passionate about getting involved with their organizations, and learning about Israel. We held regular meetings, both with the David Project team and with the campus leaders with whom we were engaging. Conversations revolved around the values that were important to us, and how we relate them to Israel.
Ben Kern ’18, an intern, recalled, “Throughout the semester, I got to work with some really amazing campus leaders from College Republicans, the Rutgers student-run radio station, and the Korean Student Association.”
At the end of the semester, we invited these leaders to join each other in an event called Campus Conversation. Over Chinese food, we discussed the qualities that make a good leader, as well as challenging questions such as, “When do you take a stand?” and “What do we assume?”
“Planning the David Project Campus Conversation was a great experience,” said Danielle Hoshia ’16, another David Project intern. “I enjoyed watching the event unfold and be such a success after all the hard work and effort the David Project interns put in. I invited members of ROTC, The Odyssey Greek newspaper, and Rutgers University Global Citizens, all whom thoroughly enjoyed the event. My guests liked meeting people from other organizations around campus and gave me great feedback regarding the discussion questions and the food. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the event, as did my guests, and am glad I was able to be a part of a successful night!”
Guests were encouraged to share contact information so as to share ideas in the future, and possibly co-sponsor events. Ben added, “Inviting these student leaders to our campus conversation, along with numerous other leaders, allowed for a productive discussion and very successful dinner. I am so proud of the work we were able to accomplish this semester.”
This past December, we sent three Rutgers students to Israel along with multiple other David Project representatives from around the United States. We are so excited to hear their stories and watch them get involved as we continue our work with the David Project.
Rutgers Hillel David Project interns (Fall 2014): Emily Gutowski ’15, Danielle Hoshia ’16, Ben Kern ’18, Adam Nachman ’17, Ariel Schabes ’17