“Am I really about to do this?” is the last thought I had as I boarded a plane nine-months ago to come to Israel. I had signed up for LIFE (the Leadership and International Fellowship Experience) because I am extremely passionate about social justice and social change. I also hoped the program would give me an expansion of opportunities to help others while also helping me learn and develop valuable leadership and professional skills that would help me later on. But as a waved goodbye to my friends and family, a knot filled my stomach- could this program really do everything it said it would? Will I meet interesting people? Can I really live in India and Israel for almost a year? Am I prepared enough to really make a difference in the world?
But over the course of my LIFE experience, I have found out the answer to those and many more questions and doubts I once had. The answer is YES! LIFE will change your life (!) in everyway that they promise and more.
Yes, LIFE will give you the opportunity to interact and associate with a talented and unique group of professionals and individuals that you would not have an opportunity to engage with in any other settings. From your fellow LIFE members, to the staff, to your internship supervisor and the scholars and professionals you interact with on a weekly basis, you will walk away from this program with a network of the most valuable people, many of whom will stay connected with you for many years to come.
Yes, I and anyone else should and can live in India and Israel, and it is the combination of living and working in such two unique and yet connected countries that gives LIFE participants such an enriching, challenging and rewarding experience.
But most importantly, YES, I am not only prepared enough to make a difference in the world, it is my distinct honor and responsibility as a Jewish young adult to do everything I can to positively affect the world and communities in which I am a part of. And this is the same honor and responsibility that every other young Jewish member of society should also strive to accomplish.
While I have always been passionate about helping others, it is through my year on the LIFE program that I have been able to develop the skills and leadership ability needed to continue my efforts towards social justice and change throughout the world. I can’t possible understand the extent to which this program has affected me, for I know even many years from now I will look back and realize something new that this year has taught me. But as I prepare my next steps, I know that I am bringing with me new mentors, a great group of friends and a solid foundation on which to begin my adult life. I could not have asked for more.