for college students by college students
Hasbara Fellowships Israel trip gives students
the hard facts about the Jewish homeland.
By Caryn Zeitlin
y junior year of high school, I was
fortunate enough to participate on
March of the Living, an international,
educational program that brings Jewish teens
from all over the world to Poland to march
from Auschwitz to Birkenau, and then takes
participants to Israel. One week in our home-
land was not sufficient; we had a jam-packed
schedule and a lot to see.
March of the Living participants are
restricted from going on Taglit-Birthright Israel
until age 22. I was rather impatient and could
not wait that long to return. When I was
networking with Jewish organizations while
planning an Israel event for Hillel at Western
Michigan University, I stumbled upon Hasbara
Fellowships sponsored by Aish International.
I completed my application and, within a few
hours, I scheduled a phone interview. While
preparing for Shabbat a few weeks later, I
received an email confirmation of my accep-
tance into the program.
Hasbara Fellowships is a 16-day training
program for college students interested in
expanding their knowledge of Israel advo-
cacy. Prior to the trip, all students are required
to complete an online course of 10 classes on
the history and political structure of Israel. As
soon as fall finals week was completed, I was
on my way to Israel.
We spent a majority of our time in the Aish
World Headquarters (adjacent to the Kotel) in
Jerusalem. At Aish, we met with journalists,
political strategists and scholars on advocacy.
We also visited the Foreign Ministry, where we
met with Ambassador Zion Evrony. As a politi-
cal science student, I was honored to meet an
Israeli public servant. Our tour of the ministry
also included a visit to the situation room,
equipped with red emergency phones on each
Caryn Zeitlin, a INIVIU junior from Farmington Hills,
with Israeli soldiers
desk. My trip came full circle when I had the
chance to hear a lecture from advocacy expert
Neil Lazarus on the correlation of social media
and advocacy for Israel.
tools necessary to complete my two semesters
of advocacy on campus. I have established a
student organization called Blue and White
I am looking forward to my next visit, which
I hope is sooner rather then later. My passport
may say that I'm a U.S. citizen, but my heart
Hasbara has expanded my knowledge on
Israel, and I am no longer advocating based
Forever, which encourages and teaches stu-
dents to support Israel. I look forward to all
tells me that Israel is my home. @
on emotions and feelings, but rather on facts.
Through this fellowship, I have been given the
the wonderful campaigns, programs and activ-
ism that will take place at WMU.
Caryn Zeitlin of Farmington Hills is a junior at
Western Michigan University.
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WAY NE STATE
February 16 • 2012