Learn how Project Inspire participants have shared their experience and made an impact in Boston.
“We partnered with Tamar Aziz from Project Ten, one of the Israeli NGOs we visited in Uganda. We found Tamar’s ethical guidelines on international engagement helpful in contextualizing our trip. Inspired by Tamar’s wisdom, we decided to conduct a video interview to be shared in orientation sessions for future Project Inspire Trips. We hope Tamar’s answers help future trip participants grapple with difficult questions and come to Project Inspire eager to engage ethically and openly on trips.”
As guest co-host of the israel360 podcast, I had the privilege of interviewing Eyal David, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Seychelles and the United Nations Office at Nairobi. I met Eyal on the first day of our Project Inspire trip, and we accompanied him while traveling through Uganda, which was the perfect opportunity to really get to know him. On the podcast, I shared why I was "inspired" to participate in the program and my experiences in Kenya and Uganda. One of the most interesting aspects of the trip was learning about international diplomacy and how Israel represents itself throughout the world. It was fascinating to see diplomacy in action. By interviewing Eyal, hopefully I will share some of the insights I gained from Project Inspire with israel360 podcast listeners.
“While participating on this trip of a lifetime with Project Inspire, it was hard not to find meaningful parallels between the trip and my work as a Boston-based fundraiser for the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. For my follow-up project, I presented an “armchair travel” virtual presentation to my colleagues around the United States. I focused on how the Israeli government is tapping into its own agricultural and technological innovations to share with developing countries like Kenya and Uganda. My colleagues were very impressed with how much access we had to the Deputy Ambassador of Israel to Kenya and that we interacted so closely with Kenyan, Ugandan, and American government officials. Many of my colleagues now want to visit Kenya and Uganda!”
“One of the most meaningful aspects of my trip was the chance to learn from the people we encountered. Through shared time, stories, and meals, I gained a deeper understanding than I could from just reading about a site. In this spirit, I hosted a group of friends to share my experience. I shared the story of my trip through items I acquired along the way, including a pin of the Ugandan and Israeli flags, a shawl gifted to me at a MASHAV site, and even an elephant stature I serendipitously acquired after the trip. Each item prompted a new conversation and a new chance to learn.”
“After visiting Bussi Island in Uganda and learning about the importance of sustainable international development, I wanted to spread the word in my community. I’ve been inspired to find a group of friends who are committed to making the world a better place through sustainable solutions. We want to promote economic prosperity by helping others use their talents and passions. I invited friends for a Shabbat discussion focusing on the needs of a community and the long-term goals of helping create self-sustaining businesses and communities. There was so much to discuss that we planned a follow-up discussion over Sukkot with friends who work in sustainable international development and transitional justice projects. Together we hope to learn more about partnering with people around the world to promote peace and prosperity.”
“I was really excited to share my experience with friends and family. I hosted a Rosh Hashanah dinner for a group that started out as eight guests and ended up as twenty. In my dining area I have three Kenyan woven bowls hanging on my wall, and a few people pointed them out and asked questions. I grabbed a few more pieces of artwork and gifts I purchased on the trip and begin talking about my experience. My guests were excited to learn about this alternative way to learn about Israel. Many of them asked questions about the safety in the region and what progress there was in terms of gender equality, so it became a really interesting discussion about responsibility. It was wonderful having the opportunity to share such a positive and interesting experience with people I love on such a special holiday.”
“I was eager to tell people about the impact Israel has had on the world, and specifically on farming and agriculture in East Africa. For my follow up project, I spoke twice at Congregation Kehillath Israel’s Rosh Hashanah service, including to the main service on the first day of the holiday. I wrote a speech about the farms we visited in Kenya and Uganda and the people we met in each country who traveled to Israel to learn firsthand about the country’s agricultural strategies and technologies. I hope I was able to inspire the 100 people I spoke to and make an impact on the world, even if it is something small!”
“One element of the trip that I deeply enjoyed was the opportunity to interact with Eyal David, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel in Nairobi representing Israel in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Seychelles, and the UN in Nairobi. Ambassador Eyal traveled with our group and there was ample time to chat with him about a variety of topics. For my project, I interviewed Eyal about his work as an Israeli diplomat. From this interview I compiled an article for JewishBoston.com to give my community a glimpse into the life of an Israeli Diplomat in East Africa.”
“As the guest speaker for Shirat Hayam’s Shabbat morning ‘Nosh and Drash,’ I spoke with 30+ congregants about my Project Inspire experience. The crowd loved hearing about Israel's international development work and congregants were quick to suggest those in their lives who would benefit from learning more about Israel’s work. There was also a tremendous interest in the Abayudaya—the Ugandan Jewish community—with congregants excited to visit (!!!) and exchange ideas internationally. This sparked a conversation about small and emerging Jewish communities around the world and how we could form meaningful connections to learn from and engage in dialogue with each other. Sharing with Shirat Hayam and receiving such a warm response, proved that Project Inspire is only starting to unfold in my life. I consider myself fortunate to work with so many great people in Israel, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States. I don’t know what will happen next, but I am certain it will be beautiful.”
“A big part of the Project Inspire experience is learning about tikkun olam. Our pre-trip orientation included a text study on this topic, and during the trip we continue to examine this concept. I felt that my students at Northeastern Hillel, where I am a fellow, could benefit how this value is expressed in the world. As part of a larger event series, I invited Yael Shapira, Director of Network Engagement and Programs at the Olam Fellowship to speak to a group of students about her work in international development through a Jewish lens.”