Invaluable Initiative

September 4, 2013
BY Maayan Jaffe
Baltimore’s Masa-Israel Action Network fellow plans to set record straight about Israel
Brooke Prince is Baltimore’s first Masa-Israel Action Network fellow. She attends UMBC. (Photos by David Stuck)

Brooke Prince is Baltimore’s first Masa-Israel Action Network fellow. She attends UMBC. (Photos by David Stuck)

Masa Israel Journey and the Israel Action Network recently launched their inaugural Masa-Israel Action Network Fellowship, in which alumni of long-term, immersive Masa Israel programs gain insight about the State of Israel advocacy in the United States and receive tools to help them counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in their communities. The goal of this volunteer fellowship is to offer young adults a unique opportunity to engage in supported, hands-on work in their community.

Local fellow Brooke Prince, a senior and history major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says her love of Israel helps her be a strong advocate and allows her to speak firsthand of her experience, using it to her advantage.

The JT learned more:

JT: How did you hear about this opportunity?
Prince: I heard about the program through an email I received from Masa.

What are you going to be doing?
My role is a bit different than what the Masa-Israel Action Network Fellowship application had suggested. It seemed to me that they envisioned the Masa-IAN fellows to be students returning from their years in Israel and looking to start Israel advocacy initiatives in their communities. However, I spent this past year at UMBC and already had a position when I applied for this fellowship; I am one of the co-presidents of UMBC’s Students for Israel. I looked toward Masa for some extra resources to help us change the way that our organization functions in order to ensure its success both this year and when my co-president and I graduate.

So …
My role is to attend phone conferences, held either once or twice a month, with experts and professionals to help us train to further our efforts in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. I will also be attending Baltimore Israel Coalition meetings and checking in with [local program coordinator] Chana Siff to discuss my plans and progress throughout the semester. Moreover, as president of Students for Israel, I will be hosting biweekly meetings in which we will be analyzing ”The Case for Israel” by Alan Dershowitz, holding debates on various topics and discussing the best way to approach engaging in conversations regarding Israel’s legitimacy.

Is it going well so far?
This fellowship so far has proved to be extremely beneficial. I have not begun any of the training conferences or received any resources from them yet, but the connection to the Baltimore Jewish Council that they provided me with has been invaluable.

How did you become connected to Israel?
Growing up Modern Orthodox and attending both Yeshivat Rambam and Camp Stone, I have had a strong connection to Israel for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember my first visit to Israel when I was 8 years old. … I realized after leaving Israel, I did not just feel a sadness that my trip was over, but I experienced a sense of emptiness. It was then that I declared to my friends and family that I would move to Israel when I grew up. I still feel this connection to the land when I visit now.

If you could accomplish one goal with this role, what would it be?
I would like to ensure that Students for Israel becomes a fully established organization that will be easy to maintain in the coming years. There is a strong need for an organization such as this one on every college campus, but I believe this is specifically true at UMBC, since it is the second most diverse university in the country. We do not see large anti-Israel demonstrations or experience outright hatred as they do on other campuses, but there is a real need to teach the population … the truth.

What is the truth?
The media often skews the facts when portraying events related to Israel. It is necessary to provide students with the proper facts, both historically and current, in order to allow them to form an educated opinion rather than just accepting what the media tells them to believe.

Prince is applying for medical school, which she hopes to attend in 2014.

Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief mjaffe@jewishtimes.com

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