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Author Archives: Elliott Davis

My experience at the 1st International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding

Studying abroad at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, I became interested in the concept of environmental peacebuilding. This program was based on the idea that concerns over water, land, and energy contribute to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that recognition of mutual interests can yield cooperation with and empathy for “the other.” Since returning to … Continue reading »

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My journey in Jordan, Israel, & Poland

Over the last three weeks, I’ve been in five countries, stayed with seven different groups of people, taken nine flights, and eaten more hummus than you can imagine, all to determine what I believe about my religion and my homeland. Needless to say, it’s been quite the journey. I’m still trying to process the places … Continue reading »

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Why I need to go back

The following is the letter I wrote to my parents about why I needed to return to Israel, and visit Jordan and Poland, to continue the important personal journey I began while studying abroad: My study abroad experience at the Arava Institute was part of a journey, though it was just the start. Since returning … Continue reading »

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Out on the Verge of the Rest of My Life

I honestly can’t believe my time at the Arava Institute is coming to a close. I’ve finished all of my classes and taken all of my finals. Now, all that’s left to do is make the most of these final moments before packing up and boarding my flight. I’m really not ready to go home. … Continue reading »

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Determining My Responsibilities

With only two weeks remaining on my journey in Israel, I’m starting to think about what this experience will mean when I return home. My thoughts and feelings have changed in ways that I could never have imagined. But, I’m struggling to figure out how my time at the Arava Institute should shape my interactions … Continue reading »

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History: Shaped by Politics, Shaping Lives

After lighting the candles for the first night of Hannukah, the Rabbi at the Arava Institute shared the history of the holiday. He began speaking about what I grew up learning: how the Maccabees successfully fought off the Greeks and protected their ability to practice Judaism, and the miracle of oil that was supposed to … Continue reading »

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Judaism: From My Home to My Homeland

                              I’ve been really debating about what to write about in this blog post. At first, I planned to focus on my identity as a Jewish American Zionist environmentalist. Then, I thought about discussing a vision which popped into my head … Continue reading »

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Discovering my own Judaism and Zionism

A primary reason I chose to study abroad at the Arava Institute was to push me outside of my comfort zone. But, I never could have expected the ways I would have been challenged—psychologically, emotionally, or religiously—especially over the past two weeks. During my travels, I stopped worrying about my safety in the West Bank, … Continue reading »

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Peace-Building Leadership Seminar Trip

                Last week, I participated in the Arava Institute’s Peace-Building Leadership Seminar (PLS) trip. While PLS is typically a weekly open-ended dialogue about the conflict, the trip was designed for us to experience the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand. The trip was extremely challenging to say the least: experiencing the … Continue reading »

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Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible?

“May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world. Then nation will not threatened nation, and mankind will not again know war. For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or to destroy. We have come into … Continue reading »

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