Friday, August 9, 2019

A New Dawn in America - My Journey to the States

Jamal Alkarenawi - August 2019
It’s been a very eventful month where I traveled across several states and cities on the East Coast. Starting with Baltimore I proudly participated representing A New Dawn in the Negev at OLAM Focal Point 2019 Conference at the Pearlstone Retreat Center. Olam’s Focal Point is an amazing global service, focusing on international development, and humanitarian aid to network, exchanging ideas and best practices, as well as celebrate their shared commitment to serving the world’s most vulnerable individuals. An amazing group of people coming together to make the world a better place, to which I am thankful to the organizers for putting together and sponsoring A New Dawn in the Negev to come as a member, as well as because of all the wonderful people I met, and work they are doing.
While traveling in the United States I visited Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York City and Baltimore where I had the chance to speak with many people to explain A New Dawn in the Negev’s cause, and how our mission is to enable Bedouin and Arab youths to join and engage with as partners and friends in Israeli society.

     Meeting after meeting, visit after visit, taking trains from town to town; from D.C. to New York, New Jersey to Baltimore was a life experience for me. For many this might be tiring, but meeting with so many who care and work toward a better future makes the entire endeavor worthwhile and special- it brings people together, such as someone who is a Bedouin eating at a Chinese buffet in Virginia with old friends. Even the mundane in this journey became magical, and seeing how many support us was extremely touching. Meeting all of our friends, I am reminded that I and a New Dawn in the Negev could not have done what we have so far without their efforts, and that without their support and friendship, a better future we work toward would not be so.
     In my journey, I met with many organizations and people who care about people in Israel and helping youths to engage in Israeli society with the goal to strengthen both Arab and Jewish peoples as well as their relationship through cooperation.
I have infinite gratitude to all those who gave me a chance to meet or speak with them, to impress and raise awareness of a New Dawn in the Negev’s efforts and goals, it is only with the cooperation of others that our mission is possible. The last time I visited the United States was in 2009, and I was only able to visit for a short period and a handful of conferences. Coming back after almost ten years, it gave me a lot of nostalgia to connect with old friends- but this time in 2019 was very different from back then. I have refined and focused our mission and efforts, and wanted to show them what a New Dawn in the Negev has accomplished in the last 10 years.
     For me it was also a wonderful experience because traveling, getting to meet new people, and being hosted is such an honor. This is why we are so thankful, and why we are thinking for the future of ensuring a New Dawn in the Negev is present in the United States, making this journey a yearly sojourn. I had the pleasure to meet with A New Dawn in the Negev’s experienced veteran as well; Mr. Robbie Weissman in New Jersey to present on the subjects A New Dawn in the Negev focuses on; community development, cultural exchange and partnerships between Bedouin and Israeli youths and communities, mentoring to enable youth leadership in Arab communities, education of women, and social acclimation to expected standards of living, as well as job opportunity and growth for youth sectors.
     I look forward to meeting with everyone again in the near future. We are happy to host, and welcome our friends to visit us in Rahat so they can experience Arab and Bedouin culture like they allowed me to experience American in the United States again.

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