I feel so fortunate that as a
Birthright Israel Excel Fellow, I'm getting much more than a 9-5 internship.
From lectures by prominent corporate leaders, politicians and academics to
cultural events with our Israeli peers, the Birthright Excel Program has
enabled each Fellow to experience Israel in a new way. We are not just a group
of 36 Americans and 36 Israelis that come together at scheduled events – we
have become a solidified group of 72 and the Israeli peers have done an amazing
job including us in their lives by inviting us to Shabbat dinners and planning
excursions for the group.
As a Business Strategy
Intern at Tnuva, I have worked on some really interesting projects. My
mentor, Guy Propper, is the Executive VP of Business Development and also the
chairman of Tnuva USA. Instead of assigning me typical intern busy-work, my
mentors have trusted me with creating a report on Global Food and Beverage
Companies' Sustainability Initiatives, which I gave to Sarit Levi, Assistant to
the CEO and Chairman of Tnuva. Additionally, I've had the chance to practice my
Hebrew and sit in on a meeting with the Anat, the VP of Marketing in the
Dairy Division, and Irit, the Director of Market Research and
Consumer Insights. Right now I'm working on an exciting project regarding
Tnuva's interest in exploring new markets. At Tnuva I've conducted extensive
research on the global dairy market, analyzed competitors' marketing strategies
and gained a deeper understanding of the global corporate environment.
These are skills that I will apply to my future career.
This past week the Excel fellows
and our Israeli peers were invited to the Israeli Presidential Conference. When
I notified one of my mentors that I would not be in the office on
Wednesday and Thursday due to the conference schedule, she
exclaimed "Wow, I can't believe that. This is an
opportunity that 99% of the Israeli population doesn't get. You are so
lucky." I feel that this sentiment perfectly sums up Birthright Israel
Excel. I am humbled by the amazing speakers we have heard from thus far, and
I'm looking forward to the jam-packed calendar of events in the weeks to come.
The Presidential Conference
was a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from famous politicians including
Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Rahm Emmanuel, Bibi Netanyahu and of course, Shimon
Peres. The conference was broken up into different sessions, and we could
attend whichever session interested us most. One of my favorite sessions was a
Master Class by Professor Dan Ariely, during which he discussed his newest
book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. On Wednesday, a few
of us attended the panel titled "Education: The Test of Tomorrow."
I was especially excited about this session because Frederick Lawrence, the
President of my university, was a panelist! During the cocktail party I was
lucky enough to meet Dan Ariely and Ohad Knoller (he plays Nati on
the Israeli hit television show Srugim), which was really exciting.
I also want to take a
moment to express my gratitude to the entire Birthright staff and especially
Lynn Schusterman and Michael and Judy Steinhardt – it was an honor to meet you
and I want to thank you for helping make this an unbelievable summer.