Blog

The Road Less Traveled

This post is written by Talia, a Yahel Social Change Fellow living and working in Rishon LeZion.



By now most people here know the following things about me

My name is Talia and I grew up wearing skirts down to my knees


I was raised in Milwaukee, in a Jewish Orthodox community

I felt isolated and different until I got a new opportunity


In high school I was surrounded by diversity and ideas I had never heard before

I soaked it all in with a desire to keep learning more


Fast forward a year, and I found myself across the world at boarding school

Mosenson Academy, in Hod Hasharon, Israel, a hidden jewel


It was there that I started seeing my Judaism in a new light

The passion of the Israeli people, the unity, it all made my eyes shine bright


It was this experience that sparked my deep love for Israel

And made me see things that used to be important as more trivial


I felt in my heart that Israel was a part of who I am

And I knew I would be back either through work or a program


After college, I looked hard at the people living around me

I craved something different, to find my passion and feel free


When I found Yahel and the work that they do

I laugh now at the things I thought I knew


I thought the work I did here would lead me to my dream job

Surprisingly, I found something else that made my heartthrob


I started exploring my neighborhood, Ramat Eliyahu

I saw loving families, friendly faces, and skies of blue


Everywhere I went here, everyone seemed to have a connection

It was a deep love like they were all each other’s protection


Soon I was working at the high school with the teens

I began to develop bonds, through listening to their experiences and dreams


At the after school programs, I taught English to kids under ten

They kept me laughing while I got to practice saying רגה and כן





At Yesh Matzav I worked with at-risk youth

I told them I play basketball, and they all wanted proof


So along with creating programs, every Sunday we hooped

I think when they saw my skills they felt a bit duped


I’m joking I keep up with them, so

If you don’t believe me, just look below





My perspective widened when I started working with an organization

It’s called Elifelet, an incredible NGO that does work for the nation


Hundreds of refugee children have no place to go

Elifelet gives them a safe space, to eat, play and grow


On program seminars, we had the opportunity to travel wide

empowering women, blended communities, and inspiring stories all came to collide





In weekends filled with emotion, learning, growth, and bonding

When I’m asked how this has affected me, I find myself responding


That I truly feel I am exactly where I should be right now

I look at my beautifully full life here and can only breathe “wow”


I am so grateful for Yahel, the people I have met, the memories I will treasure, and the lessons I will take with me

I will always have this experience in my heart, and truly know that connection with others is the ultimate key