What Israel Means to Me: Zack Leitz

What Israel Means to Me: Zack Leitz

Here’s what the UGA student and founder of the Backpack Project has to say as we celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday.

One of Zack Leitz's memorable images of Israel
One of Zack Leitz's memorable images of Israel

This past summer I was blessed with the opportunity to live and work in Israel for several months through Birthright Excel. My personal goal for this experience was to connect with Israel and its people on a deeper level than I had during my previous trips when I was just a tourist. What my Israeli peers, colleagues and friends taught me during this time was that maintaining the state of Israel is a labor of love. While Israel is one of the strongest and most innovative nations on Earth, she is the product of the collective effort of Jews from around the world who lend their support in various ways but primarily the result of continuous effort and sacrifice by its citizens.

Zack Leitz

In my heart, the existence of the state of Israel is synonymous with the safety, security and longevity of the Jewish people. Israel does so much for Jews around the world, and I believe we have an inherent responsibility not to take that for granted, but to give back to her in meaningful ways. There are many global avenues through which we interface with Israel daily, such as business, philanthropy and politics, but we don’t regularly engage and collaborate with Israel to the extent that we should.

I say with certainty that Israel is a home away from home for all Jews, including myself. To the extent that Jews from the Diaspora, such as Atlanta, are willing to support Israel proactively, I truly believe that Israel, which has existed for 70 years already, will be here for many generations to come.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.

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