By Chloe Sahn
I am a student at The George Washington University majoring in criminal justice and minoring in music. This summer I had an amazing opportunity to be in Israel for almost three months. I began my journey with Birthright and continued it with Onward Israel for an internship experience. I never imagined how transformative my internship experience would be. I was placed with The Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF), located in the heart of Jaffa. I chose this internship because I am very passionate about what they do in promoting Israeli culture primarily to Jews living outside the state of Israel. I am always looking for ways to bring Israel into my daily life so working with an organization that brings wine, art, music, film, and events to people in both Israel and abroad was a perfect fit.
My main role at TIIF was creating and managing content for their social media accounts. I was also tasked with promoting their events through social media and helping with fundraising efforts for Wine on the Vine, TIIF’s flagship program which allows people to virtually plant grapevines in top Israeli wineries and donate to an Israeli charity at the same time. It is such an easy yet powerful way to connect with the land and help grow Israel’s wine industry.
I loved coming into the office every day knowing no two days would be the same. Every day on the job was an unknown and I looked forward to the new learning experiences it would hold for me. My favorite moment while interning at TIIF was towards the end of my internship when we took a trip to Gush Etzion Winery and the Gush Etzion museum. We began with the winery to learn about the history of Gush Etzion Winery and ended with tasting four unique wines during lunch. At the museum, we learned about the history of the region through an interactive production. To learn that the land we were currently standing on was defended by our ancestors who had a dream for this land to be part of the new Jewish state was humbling and gratifying. They sacrificed their lives overcoming hardships to protect the land for future generations to come. It made standing on that very land all the more meaningful and put into perspective the work I had done while interning and the work the entire team does on a daily basis.
There is no better place to grow your Judaism than in the state of Israel, a state that has and continues to overcome obstacles just for the Jewish people to have a home free of persecution. I am so thankful for The Israel Innovation Fund for showing me a different way to look at Israel and for providing me with one of the best summers. I have truly created a new family here from the moment my internship began. I will miss everyone at TIIF and all of the work I have been doing and I will hold these memories and skills I obtained forever.