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MITF+ Fellows Visit Kfar Manda

BINA’s MITF+ programs offer unique immersive experiences to the program’s Fellows. In addition to spending time in Tel Aviv, the hi-tech capital of Israel, Fellows also get to live in vibrant communities in Israel’s periphery. Exposing all of BINA’s young leadership program participants to the diversity in Israel’s population is a core value of our organization. 

For the past four months, many of the MITF+ Fellows have been teaching English in Israeli public schools as well as taking Arabic classes with BINA’s Lead Arabic Language Educator, Izzy Saied. In addition to her work at BINA, Izzy is also involved in the US Embassy’s Access program. Because of her connection to Arabic-speaking communities in Israel, she was able to facilitate an incredible opportunity for BINA’s MITF+ Fellows at the high school in Kfar Manda, an Arab-Israeli village in the north of Israel.

“I had the absolute joy and privilege to be a welcomed guest in Kfar Manda in Northern Israel. The students were able to experience something unique that had actually given them an opportunity to meet real life Americans and have dialogue between two worlds. We also benefited a lot from meeting the students and learning more about their lives.” ~Eli Goldstein and Jeremy Randall

MITF Fellows Eli Goldstein, Nickolaus Wallis, Nicolette Levine, and Jeremy Randall woke up early to pack into a taxi and ride to the north. When they arrived at the high school in Kfar Manda, they experienced the most amazing welcome. Not only were they greeted with warmth and smiles from the students and faculty, but also a drum line! When they finally got to meet Izzy in person (previously only meeting her on Zoom), she explained that the stares they were receiving was because these students rarely get to meet someone from America. The students were, indeed, watching BINA’s Fellows’ every move. 

“I quickly understood our responsibility to represent ourselves, BINA, and America in the best possible light. Eli Goldstein

The day was a great success and a lot of fun. BINA Fellows and Kfar Manda high school students laughed together as our Fellows shared stories about their families’ Thanksgiving traditions and showed the students their favorite funny “Turkey in your belly time!” video on YouTube. MITF Fellows watched how confused the students were when they tried to understand the rules of American football. The meeting was very special for both the students and MITF Fellows. While the students benefited from meeting Americans and learning about American culture, MITF Fellows also benefited from learning more deeply about Israel’s pluralistic society. 

Israel’s population is very diverse with many different cultures represented in both major cities and rural villages. For our Fellows, the Kfar Manda students reminded them of their own high school experiences. They saw a fun-loving group of intelligent teenagers who have their special family traditions and enjoy moments of being silly, like when the students created a new sport involving horses playing soccer. 

The value of BINA’s young leadership program’s personal meetings with a variety of cultures that together make up Israel’s diverse population cannot be overstated. Because of the efforts of organizations like BINA, teenagers and young adults are able to see similarities between cultures rather than just outlining the differences. BINA’s young leaders learn to have meaningful conversations where they get curious about new cultures and different perspectives, learning that there is strength in diversity and a shared human experience. 

Click here to learn more and apply to MITF

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