Taking the Time to Say ‘Thank You’

- Eryk Dobrushkin, Excel Business 2017

Michael Steinhardt addressed the group at Cinema City ahead of a fun evening out at Birthright Israel’s Mega Event.

Wow, what a star-studded week it has been. From our intimate conversation with Birthright Israel Co-Founder Michael Steinhardt to hearing Prime Minister Netanyahu speak at the Mega Event, it has been quite a whirlwind. Despite all the excitement, as we approach the half-way point of Excel (what?!) I wanted to take my cue from Lior’s tip last week and take a moment to voice some appreciation to those who have made all these wonderful opportunities possible.

First, I want to give a shout out to Sharon Prince. Not only did she see something in each of us that we may not have seen in ourselves: our potential to be impactful (adaptive?) Jewish leaders, but she managed to assemble a cohort of the most interesting, warm, and generous people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these past few weeks. Whether its discussing the geopolitics of the Middle East (I see you Max), asking Josh or David a question about Judaism we hope doesn’t sound too clueless, or fending off a surprisingly large bouncer at THE Clara (Jake knows wrestling, so don’t mess with us), every interaction over these past five weeks has been a privilege and that’s in no small part to Sharon, so thank you.

Next up would have to be our staff. Noa and Eldad run a tight, business-casual ship and although we may not love the sexy blue polos, we wouldn’t have the amazing events we do without their steady hands. Thanks to those two for at least making us look “superior.”

Then, there’s Ayelet and Lior, who somehow manage to straddle the gap between best friend, parent, and cool aunt/uncle. Whether Lior is yelling at TalknSave customer service for me (thanks!) or Ayelet is getting scolded by an Israeli doctor for talking too loud with Smash, our pair of madrichim are superstars. We may or may have literally survived this long without those two, so huge thanks to them.

Last and most importantly, I’d like to thank the cohort! Our experiences here in Israel are all about discovery. Of our internships, our interests, ourselves, and of this beautiful country. But none of us can make that journey on our own. It is our experiences with one another, Americans and Israelis, that uncover the meaningful nuances of both Israel and ourselves, helping us to grow into what some might even call adaptive, Jewish leaders.

Eryk (back row front-left) with 2017 Excelers on a weekend trip to Northern Israel.

Eryk Dobrushkin is a member of the Birthright Israel Excel 2017 cohort, interning at EY. He studies at Harvard University (c/o 2019), where he is pursuing a B.A. in Statistics: Quantitative Finance and secondary areas of concentration in Computer Science and Economics. Eryk is from Arlington, MA.

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