Leadership Development in Israel: My Journey from Texas to the Masa Wilf Summit

This article was originally published in the Passover 2023 print edition.
April 10, 2023

Growing up in seven cities and four states, my understanding of what it means to be part of a Jewish community has been constantly evolving. From attending Jewish day schools and Camp Ramah in the Poconos, to joining BBYO, CTeen, USY, and NSCY in high school, to being a teaching assistant at synagogue, I have had opportunities to build and strengthen my Jewish identity. When I moved to San Antonio, I had to adjust to going to a secular high school. But it was worth it to become part of such a vibrant Jewish community at large. Getting out of the Jewish “bubble” also helped me find various “homes away from home” when I got to college. I attended the University of Texas at Austin, where I was involved with Texas Hillel, Chabad, and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. I helped to bring Texas JTribe back to campus and worked with the Texas Hillel staff to create a position of “Israel Intern” because of my love for Israel and wanting to share that love with others. My leadership experience in college included serving as Texas Hillel Birthright Recruitment Intern, Texas Hillel Israel Intern, Texas Hillel First Impression Intern, and V.P. Networking for Texas JTribe, along with participating in the Hartman Student Leadership Summit.

These past few months, I was lucky enough to experience life in Israel through the Masa Career Israel Program and I am currently interning at ThriveDX, a cyber security education company. Never would I have imagined working in a legal department or even for this kind of company, but I’m incredibly grateful for this new experience. Thanks to my leadership experience and current work in Israel I was honored to be invited to the Masa Wilf Leadership Summit. I went into the summit knowing little to no one, pushing me to make connections from the start. Throughout the week, I learned about different leadership concepts and was able to participate in many real-life situations through case consultations. I learned how to be a better presenter and give feedback through this process. My favorite experience during the leadership summit was the opportunity to explore Mea She’arim, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, and hear from different speakers in the Haredi community. This was a window into an unfamiliar world, and it was eye-opening to listen to individuals express their beliefs and desires for the future of their community. One of the speakers expressed his hopes of expanding modern Haredi schools for other members of the community to be able to send their children.

Being part of the leadership summit equipped me with the skills to take on any challenges I may face in the future, both personally and professionally. It taught me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, a skill that will help me make the best decisions for myself and those around me. My experience in Israel has been one of growth and discovery. I am so thankful for all the opportunities to be a part of this amazing country, and I look forward to what my future holds!