A Student’s Journey to Israel During the October 7 War

A student from New Jersey shares her experience of visiting Israel during the October 7 war, and how it changed her perspective and inspired her to stand up for Israel.

Maya Rotman, a student at Rutgers University, had been to Israel three times before on various educational and cultural programs. But her fourth trip, which took place in October 2023, was different from any other. She joined a Take Action for Israel student leadership mission, organized by Hasbara Fellowships and IsraelAmbassadors.com, which aimed to show solidarity and support for Israel during the war.

Rotman says that she decided to go on the trip despite the security risks and the travel restrictions, because she felt a strong connection and responsibility to Israel and the Jewish people. She says that she wanted to see the reality on the ground, to learn from the experts and the locals, and to share her voice and her story with the world.

A Healing Experience Amid the Chaos

Rotman says that her trip to Israel was a healing experience, as she witnessed the resilience and the unity of the Israeli society and the Jewish people. She says that she was moved by the signs and posters that expressed gratitude and encouragement to the hostages and the soldiers, and by the acts of kindness and generosity that she saw among the people.

Rotman also says that she felt a sense of belonging and acceptance in Israel, as she met and befriended other students and activists who shared her passion and her values. She says that she felt validated and empowered by their stories and their struggles, and by their determination and courage to stand up for Israel.

An Intense and Empowering Education

Rotman says that her trip to Israel was also an intense and empowering education, as she learned from various speakers and experts about the history, the politics, and the culture of Israel and the region. She says that she gained a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the complex issues and challenges that Israel faces, and of the efforts and achievements that Israel makes in various fields, such as innovation, security, and diplomacy.

Rotman also says that she learned valuable skills and tools to become a more effective and confident advocate for Israel on her campus and beyond. She says that she learned how to research, analyze, and present facts and arguments, how to communicate and engage with different audiences and platforms, and how to respond and counter the lies and the propaganda that are spread against Israel.

A Trip That Changed Her Life

Rotman says that her trip to Israel was a trip that changed her life, as it transformed her perspective and inspired her to take action. She says that she came back to the US with a renewed sense of pride and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, and with a clear vision and mission to share her experience and her message with others.

Rotman says that she is ready to go back to her campus and to face the challenges and the opportunities that await her. She says that she knows how to answer the question “How was Israel?” with honesty and confidence, and that she hopes that her answer will spark curiosity and interest among her peers and her community.

Category: Opinion

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