Yesterday evening I took a study break to sit on a panel about "Continuing Involvement in Social Activism and Jewish Life". There were 6 of us on the panel; all Jewish young adult involved in multiple different forms of activism. Besides me there was a lawyer, a social worker, a teacher, a independent journalist, and even a pet sitter. We all had different backgrounds, different interests, different relationships with our religious identity, and different words of encouragement to share.
Like all good Jewish events, the night started with a text study. We then were each given 8 minutes to answer the following questions: 1) Introduce yourself and describe your initial service experiences and your transitions since then. 2) Describe your path of continued involvement in social activism. 3) What insights have you found about yourself as an agent of change? 4) In what ways have Jewish values and/or the Jewish community been part of your “work?” 5) Share a story about a time when you knew you were making a difference? Then we split up around the room, and met with participants who wanted to ask us individual question.
This was the second such panel I've participated in since starting medical school/moving to this southern city. Both times I have left feeling completely energized. Through the retelling of my own story, I am afforded the opportunity to see how far I have come on my journey, to see that besides set-backs I have had significant successes, and reflect on how much work I am currently doing [even as a busy medical student]. It allows perspective to see the unexpected doors that opened, and realized that things work out in their own unique way in spite of how much I antagonize and plan. One of the other panalists explained how he became an activist the day he shifted his perspective away from living life by "checking off boxes". Another stated how her activism is accentuated through humility of her own weaknesses and through learning from her clients. A third talked a lot about self-care. I am pretty sure that while I gave out insight and advice to the participants, I walked away with much more from the experience than I gave.
And to inspire you to keep fighting, here are some inspirational short videos.