Q & A with Shimi Mizrahi
TH: As the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, what is your role at Texas Hillel? How did you become involved with the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow program?
SM: As the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow my role at Texas Hillel is to create the best environment for the students to connect to Israel in their own way. Through programs and activities, I educate the students about Israel and help them to experience it. It’s really important to say that I’m part of a team called “Israel team” at Texas Hillel with Ashira Boxman, the Birthright Israel IACT Coordinator, and Arielle Levy, the Engagement Director. We are all working to strengthen the connection of the students to Israel.
When I was a student at Hebrew University I participated at Birthright and that was the first time I met Jews from outside Israel. After Birthright I remained curious about the Jews in the diaspora, what they feel about Israel and why. A friend of mine participated in Summer Camp of the Jewish Agency and he told me about the opportunity to be an Israel Fellow on a US campus.
TH: What are some of your goals as Jewish Agency Israel Fellow?
SM: Pretty modest goals, at least for the first year, to share my own story as a Zionist Israeli & Mizrahi Jew that lives in a place called Ma’ale Adumim in Israel (very beautiful place, you should visit there!). Since Israeli society is diverse, and I represent a part of it, my hope is that the students will get to know that part.
TH: Where did you work before Texas Hillel?
SM: I worked in a high-tech company call Mobileye. It’s a really cool Israeli startup that is trying to develop autonomous vehicle and save lives.
TH: What are your impressions of Texas Hillel? Of Austin?
SM: Texas Hillel is impressive, not just the building, but the staff. It’s impressive to see the commitment of the stuff to the student’s experience here at UT. Hillel is HOME for all the Jews on the campus but it also opens its arms to everyone. Our purpose is important and Texas Hillel’s team takes it very seriously. I’ll be honest, before the Jewish Agency gave me the option to be an Israeli Fellow in Austin, I had never heard about it. Since then, everyone just tells me how awesome this city is. I discover the city every day. I still have a lot of work to do but so far it looks like a fun city with a lot of options and opportunities. Looking forward to seeing more!
TH: Tell us a little about yourself.
SM: I’m 27 years old and I have lived with my family my whole life, so this journey is also about my independence. I like to watch European Soccer and I’m a Juventus fan (Not because of Ronaldo!). I love Israeli music or how we call it – Mizrahit - and hiking across Israel. I’m also a little bit of a geek. Marvel Movies, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are my favorite. It takes time to get to know me, but I’m sure we will be the best friends by the end of the year! I’m really excited to be here as this is my first time in US and I looking forward to the upcoming year. I’m sure it’s going to be great!