Last winter, Lexi Knopf and Tami Segal (pictured here) got to see a unique side of Israel in an unlikely place: on the broad, arid plains of Kenya. Lexi and Tami traveled to the East African country as part of CJP’s Project Inspire: a program that gives young adults from Greater Boston the opportunity to discover a side of Israel they may not know. Last year, thanks to generous support from our donors, three trips brought a total of 46 young adults to Guatemala, India, and Kenya, where participants witnessed Israel’s global innovation and grassroots impact up close.
On their trip, Lexi and Tami met a local farmer named Peter who visited Israel, where he learned new agricultural techniques that have helped him build a thriving farm. They also met James, a principal of a school in Western Kenya who, after his time in Israel, brought home the concept of Education for Sustainable Development, which has helped transform his school into one of the region’s best.
“To experience Israel’s efforts in this light is to completely reimagine the Israel narrative most of us are familiar with,” Tami said. “I learned that Israel has a long history of Sustainable Development Initiatives around the globe. It was fascinating to understand its model of international development and how they do things on a small, grassroots level — empowering local individuals to create long term, positive change on a greater scale.”
“This program gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn something that would be impossible to learn any other way,” Lexi added. “The Kenyans we met have such love for Israelis because they are bringing them new opportunities and perspectives.”
Upon their return, all participants are asked to lead an independent community education project to bring the impact of their experience back home. They give presentations, write articles, partner with local organizations, and host Shabbat dinners, creating a ripple effect from their journey that is felt across Greater Boston and beyond. So far, they have shared their stories with more than 1,800 people.
“I think if everyone could go on this trip, they would have a great opportunity to see what Israel is doing and create their own change,” Lexi said. “I’ve never gone on a trip so focused on the initiatives and industrial design that Israel is bringing to other countries.”
Project Inspire helps people consider Israel in a new light, see what they’ve learned in new ways, broaden perspectives, and share the stories, triumphs, and achievements that often go unnoticed — and to do so through a Jewish lens.