Hello, my name is Yonit Vareika, I live in Haifa, and now I’m finishing high school.
A lot of incredible things can happen in a year, but in this blog post I’m about to describe the most important one that happened to me – all the friends I gained.
Last year, I joined Debate for Peace. Immediately upon arrival I was introduced to new and diverse people, who were from all over the country – Jews, Muslims, Christians, and those who do not affiliate themselves with any of the above.
But meeting them was just the tip of the iceberg. I had the opportunity to fly with two delegations abroad, one to England and the other to Kosovo, and this is when I had the best time to know people better.
In England, we traveled together: to London, to Oxford and then back to London, and had a chance to debate with one another on our views of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We spoke on our personal beliefs yet still joked with one another, and made connections which I hope will last even after we finish high-school.
And even though England was super fun and enriching in terms of the people, I believe that the Kosovo delegation was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had.
The shabbat in Kosovo was something I won’t forget. Steven brought with him a game called Empathy in a Box, in which you discuss issues, concepts and ideas without judging each other.
It allowed for the people in the delegation to open up and speak about themselves and the world in a different way than they usually would. I feel very connected to them now, and in the perspective of Debate for Peace, it came to my realisation that everyone faces difficulties, regardless of religion.
All in all, I can’t stress enough how powerful was the experience of meeting all those different people and simply talking to them and getting to know them. I hope that now, as I leave high school, I would still be able to continue doing so in the future.