After playing water polo for the Israeli national team and serving as a commander in the Israel Defense Forces, Nave Dromi is bringing her stories to Penn.
Not much older than the average Penn student, Dromi, 27, will be working as a Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow to Hillel at Penn.
While at Penn, Dromi will work to empower local Jewish students to advocate for Israel and encourage unaffiliated Jewish students to get involved.
Her stay was arranged by a program hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shlichut program, which brings Israeli adults to various Jewish communities all over the globe to share Israeli culture and shape relationships with individuals in local Jewish communities.
Sharona Kramer had previously served as Hillel’s Israel Fellow.
When Dromi was younger, she realized the importance of teamwork. “Water polo gave me the sense of being a part of a team that fought for one goal,” she said. At Penn, she may not be playing water polo, but she will continue to be a part of a team through her work at Hillel as well as her advocacy for Israel.
Dromi, who earned degrees in political science and Middle Eastern studies from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, decided to become a fellow because she believes that she can relate to the community as well as learn from students.
Her main goal at Penn is to inspire dialogue about Israel. “I really believe that this generation is going to be the next generation that’s going to create ideas and change,” she said.
“Penn is extremely fortunate to have Nave as a fellow not only for her personal traits but because Hillel has a full-time staff member whose job it is to interact with students,” College junior and Hillel Israel Vice President Brian Mund said.
Dromi’s fellowship fits in with one of Hillel’s broader goals for the year.
When College senior Alex Jefferson was elected president of Hillel last year, he wanted to implement a new model of Jewish involvement based on conversation, and Dromi’s plans to communicate directly and personally with students fits his plan.
“These issues which are what excite people are extremely important, but they’re untouchable without relationships and without comfort,” he said.
Dromi realizes that she may face challenges. “‘Israel’ can be a very provocative word, but I am sure we can manage,” she added. She is willing to speak with students about many topics including Judaism, gay and lesbian rights and Middle Eastern relations with Syria and Lebanon.
College junior and President of Penn Friends of Israel Noah Feit supports a holistic and multi-partisan approach to activism and believes that Dromi is well trained in advocacy.
“She provides a pretty unique perspective coming from Israel and having learned to advocate firsthand, having lived through it as opposed to just citing statistics,” he said. “Having a personal narrative is sometimes extremely important. People respond well to narratives in tandem with statistics and facts and history.”
This article was updated to clarify Dromi’s fellowship was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shlichut program.