Jewish Culture Club hosts Lev Echad volunteers

Jewish Culture Club hosts Lev Echad volunteers

On December 11, 2023, Masters’ Jewish Culture Club hosted Israeli teens on campus to speak about their first-hand and familial experiences following the October 7 attacks by Hamas. The speakers came together as a part of the group Lev Echad (One Heart), and have been staying in New York for the past two weeks.

Bar Dror, one of the teen volunteers invited to speak at Masters, explained her involvement and connection with the group.

“They [Lev Echad] started in 2004 when Gaza was created,” Dror explained, referring to the 2004 referendum that led to Israeli disengagement from Gaza. “Ever since, they’ve sent delegations to Ukraine when the war broke, a delegation to Morocco to assist them, and after the earthquake into Turkey as well.”

Dror had a clear intention in coming to Masters and other schools around the region: to connect with and support teens in the US, and emphasize the importance of remaining informed.

“Our specific delegation was created to show you guys that we are one, that we are all dealing with the same tragedy and dealing with the same enemy,” she said. “[We wanted] to show you support to boost up your morale, and to show you ways you can help us and yourself at the same time, because as I said we are one, just fighting in different battlefields.”

Speeches touched on various topics, including frontline volunteer experience on the day of the attacks and providing medical aid, to the military experiences of parents and family impacts of the war.

Lily Zuckerman*, co-chair of Jewish Culture Club, spearheaded this event, and said she was glad to see its appeal to the broader Masters community.

“Through the experience, I thought it was interesting because a lot of members who aren’t part of Jewish Culture Club, or even Jewish, showed up,” Zuckerman said. “It shows that this ongoing issue is not just a matter of two sides — it doesn’t apply to one religion or another. The problem is a lot more complex, and I think that gets lost sometimes.”

She added, “Seeing that a multitude of people from different identities showed up shows how important it is to hear from a diverse range of perspectives and fully understand issues, before you make generalizations or develop your own opinion.”

Zuckerman was especially interested in the Masters community hearing their stories from the frontlines, as opposed to just hearing their opinions on the conflict. Those stories told were often in Hebrew, translated live by Dror for the predominantly English-speaking audience.

It was definitely a multicultural experience — their stories really were not lost in translation.

— Lily Zuckerman, Jewish Culture Club Co-Chair

“It was really important that they spoke in Hebrew, and I thought it was amazing to see how Bar could translate that into English,” Zuckerman said. “It was definitely a multicultural experience — their stories really were not lost in translation.”

Zuckerman highlighted that the support of faculty advisor Miriam Emery in coordinating logistics such as transportation, as well as the overall kindness and embracing response of the Masters community to Lev Echad’s volunteers, were a large part of making this event possible.

Lev Echad does considerable work outside of school events and sharing stories, including collecting donations and aid, and recruiting volunteers to deploy into affected areas and restore health. Agam Nachmani, another Israeli teen who spoke to students, mentioned her volunteer experience and why she’s continued working.

“One of the biggest things that made me keep going was the fact that in the first week, when I was managing the emergency room, we got so much equipment from different organizations and people,” she said. “Everyone wanted to help, and it made me understand how big the situation is and how everyone wants to help.”

Dror ended by asking Masters students to take action. “We’d like to ask you to investigate; to learn. Don’t spread fake news, even if it’s pro-Israel, just look up things from government-certified or official sites,” she said.” “Look into what you’re sharing on Instagram and what your belief sets are built on.”

Look into what you’re sharing on Instagram and what your belief sets are built on.

— Bar Dror, Lev Echad volunteer

Her message was ultimately one of unity and a call for collective action and support. Dror concluded, “We are all fighting the same battle, and while ours is on the Gaza border protecting our lives and defending ourselves, the job of Jewish people [abroad], and everyone else who wants to join, is to actually look things up and inform people of facts and not fake news.”

*Lily Zuckerman is a member of Tower staff.

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Xavier Rolston
Xavier Rolston, Director of Multimedia
Senior Xavier Rolston is Tower's Director of Multimedia for the 2023-2024 school year. Rolston joined Tower staff last year, where he served as the Web Editor and began to pursue web design. He is passionate about creating engaging online content, including video segments, podcasts, and photojournalism projects to tell community stories. Rolston has won several scholastic journalism awards, including international portfolio awards from Quill & Scroll and PSJA, awards for website design and editorial leadership from NSPA, SNO awards, and more. He plans to continue pursuing journalism throughout college and beyond. Outside of the Tower lab, Xavier can be seen around campus participating in Model UN conferences, coaching student debaters, and acting in three seasons of theatre.

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    Julie TobakDec 13, 2023 at 8:28 PM

    Great event ! Maybe can be done again for the whole school? That would be awesome