A taste of Shavei Israel in the Poconos
Among the future leaders of the Jewish people are the several hundred attendees of the annual BBYO International Kallah seminar that takes place in a pastoral setting in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. The program, which this year included participants from 12 countries and from every stream of Judaism, goes beyond the traditional classroom setting and includes interactive sessions and one-on-one conversations about a spectrum of topics of Jewish learning.
A highlight this year was a diverse and talented panel there to provide a forum through which the teens could learn from genuine voices across the Israel/Palestine spectrum and be able to ask difficult questions without fear of judgment.
The panel. L-r, I. Ezagui, S. Silverman, M. Dajani Daoudi, E. Wilf, L. Ben-David, A. Eisen. Courtesty: BBYO
The panel was made up of our own Laura Ben David, Author and Director of Marketing for Shavei Israel; Dr. Einat Wilf, Diplomat and Thought Leader; Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, co-Founder, Wasatia Movement (Palestinian Centrist Movement), Professor, Al-Quds University; Rabbi Arnie Eisen, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary; Rabbi Susan Silverman, Founder, Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement; and Izzy Ezagui, IDF Veteran, Author and Motivational Speaker.
In addition to two intense panels, where the deep questions directed to the panelists clearly demonstrated that the youth in attendance were intelligent, knowledgeable and care deeply about Israel, each panelist had the opportunity to present individually to two different groups of fifty to sixty students. Laura shared her aliyah experience as well as introducing the students to the important work of Shavei Israel through stories and photographs of the Bnei Menashe.
As she shared the unique modern journey of the Bnei Menashe from their little villages in northeast India to their ultimate dream of Aliyah to Israel, the participants were both fascinated and inspired, asking many questions and wanting to hear as much as they could in the limited time.
One of the beautiful photos of Bnei Menashe presented by Laura Ben-David.
Overall the experience was incredible as voiced by the panelists, the BBYO youth and the staff. May we continue to have such opportunities to inspire and challenge our youth.
Einat Wilf, Susan Silverman, Laura Ben-David and Mohammed Dajani Daoudi enjoying some free moments between sessions. Courtesy BBYO