It’s been a year since Aaron Gordon started Rams for Israel at The Weber School to promote student leadership and “reinvigorate Israel at Weber.”
Gordon, 19, now heading to Brandeis University in Boston, looks back on a year filled with current events, Israel history, culture and guest speakers. The club, which had 35 members, met once a month in the lunch room.
Gordon’s first goal was to set an identity for the club and “rebrand Israel advocacy … really just about connecting with Israel,” he said.
In its inaugural year, two soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces came to the school to talk with club members: a Weber alumnus and an Israeli. Since the soldiers are in their early 20s, “it was a very tangible and relatable connection with Israel,” Gordon said.
As Gordon leaves for college, he has faith that his classmates will take over where he left off. “It’s really important to me that the club carries on and is more successful for years to come.”
Elye Robinovitz is club president. His aim is for students to feel that the club is “the place to be,” that it’s “fun, exciting and energetic.” One way to do this is to have a cook-out serving Israeli-style food for the students, he said.
As vice president of programming, Micah Frankel believes it is important that his classmates think about Israel more broadly than solely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “As a Jew, I think of Israel as my home away from home.”
His role is to expose the students to the cultural side of Israel by finding local professionals who are invested in an Israeli nonprofit, organization, tech company or the like to speak to the club. Frankel also wants to bring more IDF soldiers to the school this year. “Soldiers always bring interesting stories with them, and they are always inspirational,” Frankel said.
Michal Ilai, Weber’s Israel Programs Coordinator and an Israeli Hebrew teacher, is the club liaison. Using her background in public relations and journalism, she will help connect students with agencies that can provide speakers and assist with publicity.
About the board of directors, she said, they are “these eloquent, serious students. This group is really remarkable.” She described the students as “super-impressive.” What is most important is that leadership is in the hands of the students, she said.
About working with Michal, Robinovitz said, “she seems super energetic about it; with her, we can get so much done.”
As a high school senior, Robinovitz looks at his job with high esteem. “Personally, I want to take away knowing I could lead a group of people.”
Robinovitz hopes that this club will be meaningful for students and will “affect kids in a positive way and their views and their own love for Israel.”