Shaping Future Leaders of Science, Technology, and Judaism
By Asaf Dov, Mishlachat Counselor
As a kid, I grew up hearing from both my parents that “America was better” than what we had in Israel. I was actually born in Philadelphia, but moved to Israel with my parents at the age of 4 because they wanted to return to their families. Thus, I have dual citizenship, and a deep connection to both the United States and to Israel.
Growing up in Holon, I immediately gravitated toward science and technology in school. I studied physics and practiced electronics in middle school. By high school I was flying radio controlled airplanes, attending robotics class, and competing in robotics competitions. My teams’ robots won 3rd place in Israel in a Robocop competition for playing autonomous soccer and won 1st place in the world RoboCup Singapore as a Robo Band.
After high school, I like most Israelis, started my tour in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). I advanced within the artillery forces to the commander level and eventually joined the operative forces which took me all around Israel. Protecting Israel while seeing the entire country really showed me just how beautiful Israel is and how worthwhile my service was to the country. My time in the army was hard, but valuable; however, I felt proud to be defending the safe haven for the Jewish people.
After finishing my tour, I knew that Mishlachat (delegation) through the Jewish Agency was something I had to do. Besides my parents’ constant reminders that America was the best, my cousin had already been a part of Mishlachat and encouraged me to go – especially since I had a passion to give back to the Jewish people. I was eager to make an impact in a strictly positive way. When I heard that a new camp, URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech was an option for the program, I knew I had to be there because it matched up with my passions perfectly.
At camp, I see myself as a lens by which campers and staff have an opportunity to see into the culture of Israel. It is my goal to only bring the best of Israel to camp; I want to show campers that being Jewish in Israel is awesome, yet totally different than in the US. In addition to being a representative for Israel, I hope to instill the passion I have for science and technology into my campers; I want them to learn, but most of all I want them to have fun. There are very few summer camps in Israel and I believe that an opportunity like Sci-Tech is an important one. It gives a variety of kids someplace to belong when they might not have had a place like that until now.
Concerning the current war in Israel, I was called back to the IDF. However, I believe that what I do here is equally or more important than assisting at home. Here, I shape the future of science/technology and future of Jewish leaders. I hope these campers come out seeing Israel in a good light and will travel and help Israel when they grow up. My family keeps me updated, and I have friends in the army, so although I’m not there, it is still very hard not to be able to do anything to protect my family. Although I sometimes wish I were back in Israel, the work I’m doing here keeps me high spirited.