By Hope Vernon, 2014-2015 participant
I grew up in the Union of Reform Judaism, I spent every summer at Jewish Camp, and practiced leadership skills in the North American Federation of Temple Youth movement. In this upbringing, I have always felt a strong connection to Judaism and Zionism.
Fast forward to this past summer. I was living in downtown Seattle and went to my first I Stand with Israel Rally. The community was singing Am Israel Chi, I felt the energy of The Jewish Community and once again I felt at home with my people.
Then I reached the edge of the rally, and saw a line of police officers separating the celebratory Pro-Israel Rally and silent Free Palestine protestors on the other side. As I stood in the divide, I realized I didn't really understand these divisions; this situation we were in. What information was I missing? The only way to know the truth is to search and learn, first hand. For me this meant moving to the center of Jerusalem, Musrara on the West side of the Green line. Here, the separation is the line marked by the light rail track, and people aren't just divided for a few hours during a protest and then returning to their lives, these are their lives; and now mine.