How I Became an Advocate for Israel
By Jordan Davis ‘16
In the fall of 2012, I had no idea where Israel was on the map and why it was important to me. So, I went on Birthright with Rutgers Hillel and found answers to these questions and more. In Israel, I felt a connection like no other and knew this was where I belong. The passion I had for Israel was growing and the learning was just beginning.
After Birthright, I became involved with the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement. I was invited to represent Rutgers Hillel at the AIPAC Policy Conference – an annual gathering of over 12,000 college students, high school students, and community members in Washington, DC. At Policy Conference, we learn about the importance of the US-Israel relationship, AIPAC’s legislative agenda, and educate members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Policy Conference was the beginning of my political relationship with Israel.
Since attending AIPAC Policy Conference last year, I have continued being involved in the Israel community on campus, including iTrust Israel Advocacy group (formerly RIPAC) as the Campus Relations Coordinator. In December, I attended AIPAC’s bi-annual Saban Leadership Seminar for college and high school students. At Saban, I learned more about AIPAC’s legislative agenda and the US-Israel relationship. In addition to the politics, I learned about myself.
Saban taught me that each and every college student is powerful in our own way. College students are powerful because we have potential – we are the future, the future leaders, the future decision makers – and we have the power to be great at it. But to maintain this potential, we have to be open to learning.
Education is a key factor in the self-development process, and with Saban Leadership Seminar, an education is given. Saban gives college students the opportunity to learn and teach others to change the way they look at the Middle East. From Saban, I learned about Israel’s neighbors and how they affect not only Israel, but the United States. Saban showed me how to approach politics as a college student, from participating in student government to educating members of Congress.
After returning from Saban, I continue participating as a Senator in the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA). In addition, I joined forces with students from other Jewish organizations on campus to create the first ever joint Rutgers Israel newsletter, containing monthly news about culture and politics in Israel and the Middle East, to be distributed to Jewish students on campus and our elected officials (click here to read our latest issue).
Saban Leadership Seminar isn’t just another place to talk about politics; it’s a place to learn, to teach, and to connect with others who are on the same team, working for the same goal. It’s a place to learn about the world and learn about yourself. I am so grateful to AIPAC and Rutgers Hillel for these opportunities, education and training that I continue to receive.
Through the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement, students are exposed to positive messages about Israel, develop stronger Jewish connections to our homeland and are trained to be Jewish leaders. These students are the future Jewish leaders of New Jersey.
AIPAC has always been an important part of Israel advocacy at Rutgers Hillel. March 2-4, 2014, over 12,000 supporters of Israel will gather at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Rutgers Hillel would like to send six students to be part of this life-changing experience. To do this, Rutgers Hillel needs to raise $4,000 to cover registration, hotel, and transportation costs.
Rutgers Hillel receives no funding from Rutgers University for training like this and depends on community members like you to invest in the future Jewish leaders of New Jersey. Help us cultivate and educate more student leaders like Jordan Davis to promote positive messages about Israel and advocate on Israel’s behalf. If you would like to support to this effort, please click the donate now button below.
Please support Rutgers Hillel as we create the next generation of Jewish leaders and change the conversation about Israel on campus.