I have always felt part of the Jewish story. Despite growing up in a Jewishly-unaffiliated, secular family, I always felt an innate connection to Judaism and the Jewish people. In my formative years, I was drawn to learn what it means to be a part of this people.
As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, I majored in Jewish Studies and History and quickly became involved in the campus Jewish community, especially through Texas Hillel and Rabbi Moshe Trepp. While my university studies enhanced my knowledge of the Jewish past and improved my command of the Hebrew language, my leadership in the community helped me better understand the Jewish present and the many challenges of the future.
Initially, I had my heart set on working as a Jewish community professional in the non-profit sector. Yet during my senior year, my passion for Hebrew and Zionism set me on a path that led me to the beating heart of the Jewish people—Jerusalem.
In the summer of 2018, I embarked on my journey with Masa Israel Government Fellows (IGF). Through the program’s educational component, I was exposed to thought-leaders, politicians, and activists from across Israel’s diverse society, who engaged my fellow participants and me in discussions on the most critical issues facing Israel and the Jewish people today. Beyond those seminars, we traveled the length of the country, visiting places seldom seen on other programs.
The highlight of my Masa experience was spending eight months working as the Marketing and Government Relations Intern at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, one of Israel’s leading non-partisan think-tanks. I played an integral role supporting the Center’s mission of conducting high-quality research on socioeconomic conditions in Israel and developing innovative public policy options to advance the well-being of all Israelis.
My Masa helped me make Israel truly feel like home. Through IGF, not only did I get job experience, but I also built true friendships with people from around the world. But when our year ended, though most of my friends returned to their respective countries, I couldn’t imagine leaving.
It was only a few months ago when I officially made Aliyah and became an Israeli citizen. Today, I’m still living in Jerusalem, and I am proud to work for Mosaic United—a joint venture of The State of Israel and the Diaspora, dedicated to mapping the broad spectrum of Jewish experiential opportunities and strengthening Jewish identity and connection to Israel for youth around the world.
Just by living in Israel, I get to realize the 2,000-year-old dream of my forefathers who prayed each day to return to the land I am now privileged to call home. And now, through my role at Mosaic United, I get to continue realizing my dream of making an impact on the story of the Jewish people.
Graeme Campbell is a Masa alum of Israel Government Fellows, a program of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.