Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has nominated me for the free ticket to Israel (in order to attend the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention.) Whether I am chosen to go or not, I truly appreciate your nominations and the expression of faith you have in me.
Now, I would like to address the issue of why I should be chosen to go to Israel.
Here are my qualifications:
1. I am not someone who has an agenda towards Israel. Those who read this blog are aware that I have struggled with my relationship to the country. I certainly love it but I myself would have difficulty making aliyah there, something which has led me to consider myself a false Zionist. What this means is that whatever you hear from me regarding this trip, my experiences on it and what I learn would be the honest truth as opposed to any sort of propaganda/ slanted agenda-driven lovefest. This means my thoughts on the matter would be fresh and different; you've already heard from many people who have asserted that their one goal is to make aliyah (or have done so). On the one hand, this might not be what the conference organizers want- perhaps they'd prefer someone who they know will automatically align with their beliefs regarding Israel. But I think that someone like me would be a challenge to them- show the average American, the one who isn't planning on making aliyah, the beauty of Israel and the people there. Talk to them about creating a web presence that supports the country and why it is important that they do so. Talk to me in order to reach those people, the people who, like me, live happily in America and plan to continue doing so.
2. I am single and I am in grad-school. Also, I am located in New York. Thus, for me to take off a week and head off to a different country is entirely feasible and doable. Taking the flight out of JFK is a cinch. I won't be leaving behind family-members, abandoning a job or otherwise feel that there are pressing responsibilities that will not enable me to focus upon my task in going to the country.
3. I love speaking to people. Whether it's homeless men, Queens College students or Germans named Kurt, I strike up conversations with all sorts of people wherever I go. Asking me to speak to a family and record their experience in choosing to make aliyah is something I would enjoy doing and would be good at doing. This is aside from the fact that I have plenty of interview experience due to my work at The Observer and The Forward.
4. I am excellent at transcribing lectures and conferences. This is a talent I have utilized at the Tanakh Yemei Iyun and the Medical Ethics Conferences given at YU. If part of my task is to liveblog the Conference itself (in addition to the experience of the family making aliyah), that is certainly something I am qualified to do.
5. Choosing a Yeshiva University student to do this will allow NBN and the conference more press than just this blog. Many of my friends and fellow YU/ Revel students will be intrigued as to what exactly I am off to do, and thus I can spread the word regarding this conference and my experience beyond this blog audience.
Thus, logically, I think I should be chosen to go to Israel. This is entirely aside from the fact that I would love to go and would be incredibly grateful for the opportunity, especially because of the fact that I haven't been to Israel since 11th grade. In terms of what is practical-for both Nefesh B'Nefesh and the goal they wish to facilitate- I am a practical choice.