By 2014 Israel Trip participant, Alexa Lazerow, Towson University
To say it was an honor being a part of the CAMERA advocacy mission to Israel does not suffice. The trip honed in to me more than anything I have ever done before related to Israel what my duty and mission on this earth needs to be– advocating for Israel. For the Jewish homeland- my homeland where I have been traveling to since age 7 in 1999, where I have family and friends all over the country, friends and family serving in the IDF and where my family can trace back many generations to the land of Eretz Yisrael.
The CAMERA trip was the most organized, jam-packed, education packed trip to Israel – with a high emphasis on education and advocacy training. The two weeks were filled with speakers, lectures, lunches, dinners, driving on the bus and a touch of touring.
We spent the majority of the trip in Jerusalem, visited Tel Aviv, had a free weekend and spent the last few days on the trip together on a kibbutz in the Kinneret.
Our time was wisely spent going from speaker to speaker- a range of speakers including and not limited to a father, Arnold Roth, whose daughter was killed in the Sbarro Pizza terrorist attack, Sgt, Benjamin Anthony who has committed his life to the IDF and teaches advocates about his horrific and triumphant story that led him to making aliyah, an Arab journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, who told us how working in the Arab media world is similar to a communist regimes journalism, CAMERA researchers and many other speakers who used fantastic visual aids, statistics and information which we and the whole world needs to know.
The trip gave me the ability to learn about a topic I am deeply invested and interested in. I studied journalism and electronic media and film in school but have always loved the field of political science, foreign policy and international relations.
As for the people on the trip, I can honestly say I have never been around such an intelligent, worldly, quizzical, fun group of people– all with the same passions and missions towards loving and supporting Israel. Each and every one of them inspired me and taught me something new about Israel, the world and life.
Each participant on the trip had their own story- why they were on the trip, their connections to Israel, their Jewish life and upbringing and most interestingly, their campus atmosphere regarding Israel.
The most fascinating people on the trip for me were the few non-Jews welcomed on the trip. Before this experience, I had never been on a trip with non-Jews before. Jemmie from Clark University became one of my close friends. From Boston, Catholic and from the Dominican Republic, Jemmie had a Jewish roommate her freshman year at Clark University and “realized how nice Jewish people were.” Then later in her college career, she took a conflicts class and learned about the intense, complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict– and from that point realized she wanted to go to Israel and see the land, people, culture herself. Her story touched me and I will never forget it. It was amazing to watch her eat traditional Israeli food such as hummus, falafel, pita etc. for the first time and also to see her eyes when taking in all these new things at once.
She was just one great story and part of the trip.
The biggest component to the trip was learning about Israel advocacy on campus, hearing fellow CAMERA member’s stories and experiences and learning about what everyone could do for the upcoming school year.
As for my school– I went to a very apathetic university. I went to Towson University outside of Baltimore with a high percentage of Jewish students, a Hillel and Chabad and a non-politically active campus.
I did not have to fight on campus for Israel but the majority of the students on my trip had to and will continue to do so.
The CAMERA trip more than anything else opened my eyes to how different each and every campus is in the United States and Canada and also the fight we young Jewish advocates have in store for us when standing up for Israel. The fight is not only just between state actors, its between college aged young professionals even more so.
I became a member and supporter of CAMERA to learn the accurate ways to portray Israel.
Am Yisrael Chai and todah rabah to CAMERA for this life changing, eye opening, fun and educational trip to Israel.