On a sunny day at the end of April several pro-Israel and Jewish groups gathered in front of Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. The small part of the quad was covered in tables, the smell of falafel and schwarma hung in the air and Israeli music was blasted over the loudspeaker. The event was even complete with a bouncy castle and carnival games.
This carnival was the perfect opportunity to show that there is more to Israel than the conflict-based paradigm that seems to rule all discussion of Israel. Israel is a normal country and celebrates its independence just like many other countries, including the United States of America.
At the Emet booth, run by former CAMERA Fellow, Rachel Wolf, there were treats, a fun game and even some facts about Israel! While at the table students made Israeli flags out of graham crackers and icing.
While they were enjoying their treats students were also given the opportunity to play a picture game. The game consisted of a large poster with nine pictures of Israel. Players were given whiteboards and wrote down where they thought each picture was taken. Some students treated the game as a race and others used it as an opportunity to work in teams and learn more about Israel. Those who were able to name most or all of the pictures’ locations were given a choice of Bisli or Elite chocolate.
Throughout the carnival several students came up to the booth and were genuinely interested in learning, not just about the pictures, but about CAMERA as an organization and about Israel. Additionally, the game provided an icebreaker and allowed students to have a fun outlet for learning about the diversity within Israel. The pictures were taken in locations such as Masada, the shuk, Jerusalem and many more, showing that Israel is not just a desert with camels, but a vibrant, modern country.
This piece was contributed by 2014-2015 CAMERA Fellow, Rachel Wolf.