My story begins with other people’s stories; namely, my grandmother’s. I was born in Rishon L’Tzion a few years after my family emigrated from Belarus to Israel, and I spent the first eight years of my life listening to my grandmother share her memories. Her stories from life in the Soviet Union were poignant and became part of my identity and sense of self.
Growing up in Israel, I always knew that military service was part of life, and key to keeping our Jewish state strong and safe. I also knew that it came with a very real and heavy toll.
Growing up in Jerusalem is a straight path towards learning that life is complicated. When I take the light rail through downtown Jerusalem, I sit next to people from all kinds of backgrounds and all walks of life.
Traveling, fashion design, and Israel have all been a core part of my journey as I’ve explored my own identity and strengths throughout my life.
In reflecting on my journeys recently, I realized that my wanderlust comes from my grandfather. A Yemenite sailor, he came to Israel as part of Operation Magic Carpet and set my family on a new path. He loved to travel the world, but he loved my grandmother, their family, and Israel even more. He shared […]
But I love Israel, and sharing that love has always been so important to me, so when my friend came back to me a few months later and told me that Stanford University was looking for an Israel Fellow at the last minute, I decided to apply. A month and a half later, I was settling into California life.
For me, Judaism is warmth. It is the warmth of a mazel tov on a happy occasion. It is the warmth of far too much food at every social gathering. It is the warmth of traveling away from home to college and having a constant, reliable base in the campus Hillel. And it is the warmth of hearing “welcome home” the moment you step foot in Israel.
I am Jewish, queer, and Mexican. So often, trying to hold all three of these identities at once is challenging. But I didn’t have to try when I went on Birthright Israel with Santa Barbara Hillel. I was able to embrace and celebrate every part of myself.
Even if they didn’t know who I was or even if my English was awful, they were the most welcoming people ever.
I was born in Mexico City into a Jewish family that included my parents and grandparents. For my entire life, I’ve had a Jewish support system in Mexico, not only with my family, but with the Jewish community there.
What I saw at the No Fear Rally that I hope to take into my role in the Student Cabinet this next year is that, first and foremost, students need resources and need to know that people in high-up places and all over the world are supporting them.