Mar. 24, 2015
We know that visiting Israel can be transformative.
We know that when people see Israel and experience its beauty, its energy, its dynamism and its extraordinary humanity, not only do their opinions about Israel change, in many cases they themselves are transformed.
At this time, with Israel increasingly under attack on many campuses, educational travel to Israel for students and faculty has become a central pillar of CJP’s (?Combined Jewish Philanthropies?) Israel Advocacy strategy.
Recently, a group of Harvard students, of all backgrounds and faiths, visited Israel. They were led by extraordinary Israeli students at Harvard who planned the Harvard Israel Trek with the support of Harvard Hillel and leading local foundations and donors, including CJP. More than 300 students applied for the 50 spaces on the Trek, making it possible to select a cohort whose experience in Israel, seeing the country in all of its marvellous complexity through a very special lens, would have the greatest impact on campus.
Sometimes the impact of a trip like this cannot be captured in prose; it can only be captured in poetry. What follows (and linked here) is a poem, posted on the Harvard trek blog, that reflects one Harvard student’s transformative experience.
The author, Oliver Marjot, is a sophomore medieval history concentrator from Guilford, England. He expected the Trek to be a confirmation of his “European certainty of your arrogant oppression.” That’s not quite the way things turned out.
I think you’ll agree that it underscores the value of visiting Israel, and beautifully expresses the splendor and complexity of the country that we all love.