Am Israel Chai

By Clara Scheinmann

In the Jewish tradition, we are taught to ask questions. After returning from a week in India with CJP and JDC Entwine, I feel like I have even more questions than before we left.

My questions range from technical to philosophical, and while I know that I may never get any succinct answers, I also know that by merely asking the question, we are able to have a robust discussion that we might have never had otherwise.

One of the main themes we debated during our trip was the notion of what it means to be a global Jewish citizen.

We discussed this question as individuals and as a whole group, and while we might have come to different conclusions, there were many similarities between our definitions, including the sense of belonging and responsibility to make an impact.

Throughout our trip we met with various Israeli and Jewish organizations that are making a positive impact in Mumbai by improving the lives of underserved and vulnerable populations. These organizations are addressing massive challenges that might seem so simple to us: getting vaccinated, attaining clean water, having access to a toilet. It can be extremely difficult to see such devastating poverty and yet I left with a sense of optimism that there are organizations working every day to solve these issues.

While I have many things to process from our journey, there’s one thing that remains constant: the strength and connection of the global Jewish community. I feel grateful that we were able to learn from members of the Jewish community in Mumbai, understand their history and feel the sense that we are all one people.

The notion that you can be on the other side of the world (literally!) and still feel at home is extremely powerful. The warmth we felt from the community is a feeling I will take with me as I continue to build community at home in Boston and elsewhere.

We may be back home, but our journey will continue as we work together to engage others in the community to learn about India and its vibrant Jewish community.

And we will continue to sing together in Hebrew, English and Hindi.

Kol Ha’olam kulo
Gesher Tsar me’od
Gesher Tsar me’od
Gesher Tsar me’od

Kol Ha’olam kulo
Gesher Tsar me’od
Gesher Tsar me’od

Veha’ikar veha’ikar
lo lefached
lo lefached klal
Veha’ikar veha’ikar
lo lefached klal

The whole world
is a very narrow bridge
a very narrow bridge
a very narrow bridge

The whole world
is a very narrow bridge
A very narrow bridge

And the main thing to recall
is not to be afraid
not to be afraid at all

And the main thing to recall
is not to be afraid at all

Ye saari duniya
Ek chotasa pul
Ek chotasa pul

Saabsi baati baat
Saabsi baati baat
Khisise bhi darna, darna nahi

 

Clara Scheinmann is the director of CEO Affairs at MassChallenge. In her role, she works directly with the founder and CEO to help execute on the company’s strategic initiatives. Previously at MassChallenge, she worked as the Israel program manager enabling start-ups in MassChallenge Israel to get access to global resources while helping to strengthen the relationship between the Boston and Israel programs. Before MassChallenge, Clara served as the social secretary at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and worked closely with both Ambassador Ron Dermer and Ambassador Michael Oren. She received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. She is a volunteer on CJP’s Social Justice and Next Generation Engagement task force. Clara speaks six languages.