Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Power of Women youth wisdom: 'You have something incredible to bring to the table'

Throughout May, we're celebrating the women who make Jewish National Fund what it is. Next up in our Power of Women series is Carly Sobol, one of our rock-star Campus Fellows. The JNF Campus Fellowship program is an amazing opportunity for students to be a voice for Israel at their college. Applications for the next school year are being accepted now. 

Why did you first get connected to JNF? 

I first visited Israel with NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) on a summer semester abroad in high school and fell in love with the land and its rich history. My first experience with JNF was participating on an Alternative Spring Break trip during my freshman year of college. JNF's mission immediately resonated with me as I had previously struggled with my love for Israel and my desire to stay out of the political world involving the country. JNF's ability to support Israel through environmental and community-based service provided me with opportunities I was comfortable supporting. 

Did you grow up with involvement in Jewish life/organizations? 

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, in a very small Jewish community. I think because of this I strived to connect with other Jewish people and make Judaism a large part of my identity through attending Goldman Union Camp Institute for 12 summers.

What does the idea of "girl power" mean to you? 

"Girl power" means using ones strength and ability, regardless of being a girl, to fuel a mission forward. It means using your identity in a positive manner to benefit society. 

If you could teach one lesson to the next generation about being a woman involved in the Jewish community, what would it be? 

I would teach that no matter what your background is you have something incredible to bring to the table. I would want each woman to realize that their beliefs are important and to spend the time asking questions, forming opinions, and finding clear respectful ways to express them. Lastly, you can be an influential woman in the Jewish community without making that your profession or even end goal. Strive to fulfill your Jewish identity in a way that makes you happy and by doing that you are adding more to the Jewish community than you even know.

What do you want to see in the world for women in the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years I hope that women leading in many aspects of society will no longer be a surprise or a headline. I hope that within 10 years we can not only create equality but create this equality as the norm.      
Carly, right, says her ASB trip cemented her love of Israel.
Is there an area of JNF that touches your heart more than another? What about that area spoke to you?
Last year on Alternative Spring Break we volunteered in Yerucham. Here there was a playground overgrown with weeds up to my hip, making the park entirely unusable. My group was able to spend the day cleaning and making the park a beautiful place for families to use. 

This task stuck out to me in that all kids in the community now have a place to congregate and be kids. As families in Yerucham work incredibly hard, having somewhere for kids to play was not top priority. JNF being able to help with community-building tasks like this not only create better environments for children but also promote families to come together regardless of differences.

Click here for more information on applying to become a JNF Campus Fellow

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