This interview is part of the Yahel Alumni Spotlight Series, where we catch up with past Yahel participants to hear about their experience with Yahel and what they’re up to now. This Spotlight is brought to you by Miriam Aniel.
It’s been for 4 years since alumna Ariel Amaru came to Israel to volunteer with Yahel. We recently caught up with Ariel to hear about her experiences on Yahel and how Yahel has continued to impact her 4 years later.
Yahel: Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What’re you up to in life? Ariel: I am a 23 year old native Coloradan; an extroverted introvert who prefers tea to coffee! I am about to start law school at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.
Y: What did you do on the 6-week Yahel program? A: I worked at a women’s shelter in Be’er Sheva specifically with a group of girls ages 11-14, whose mothers were at the shelter. My program partner (Jordana Gilman) and I worked on developing empowering and creative activities for the girls.
Y: What is your biggest ‘take-away’ from the program? A: The program greatly deepened my relationship with Israel. I have family in Israel and had been several times before the program, but never for such an extended, intense time. I grappled with the multifaceted issues incumbent in Israel in a way that was at once motivating and frustrating. I so appreciated learning from my cohort. My love for Israel has only grown since Yahel, and it is a complex love which somehow feels more authentic.
Y: How did you bring what you learned on Yahel back with you to the states? A: After my time at the women’s shelter, I was inspired and energized to continue engaging with women’s issues. I spent my entire senior year researching black women’s reporting of domestic violence as a research fellow for the American Studies department at The George Washington University. I traveled to the University of Minnesota and Northeastern University to interview professors who specialized in women’s studies, criminal justice and African American studies. Yahel sparked my feminist spirit.
Y: What’s your favorite Yahel memory? A: Too many to count! But we did have one of the most interesting talent shows I have EVER seen. (By interesting, I mean bad- just totally and completely awful. But, very amusing!)
Thank you, Ariel! Best of luck in law school, we can’t wait to see what’s ahead!