When I was doing an interview last month with Hadas Ofek, a physical therapist and member of Shatil’s Northern Health Equity Network, I ended our interview by asking if she had anything else to say about Shatil or our work. She responded without a beat;
“I think the Shatil people are brilliant. Each one of the ones I’ve met, they’re just so professional and committed and such nice people, first of all. You go all sorts of places and meet all kinds of people but the Shatil people all have their hearts in the right places. And just that puts them ready to help in the right place. They’re all vegetarians, they’re a good crowd, they’re the good guys. And very professional.”
While she was saying this quote, especially the part about the vegetarians, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was such a simple way of saying some of my own thoughts about Shatil. And this woman hadn’t even needed to work at Shatil to notice it, only to work with Shatil.
In my almost two months at Shatil, I have also noticed that despite whatever is happening in the office, abroad, or in Israel, the people here have a sense of eternal compassion and commitment that never wavers. Even when members of their community are staying in their homes due to siren sounds, the employees of the Shatil Be’er Sheva office are going into work, answering e-mails and phone calls, and working hard to make a difference for someone.
Working for a non-profit is not a low-stress job, and especially not working for a non-profit that deals with parts of the population that is often overlooked. And yet the Shatil employees are able to do it with unwavering passion and finesse.
I was able to experience this compassion in a different way. My summer in Israel has been cut short by a medical emergency that caused me to spend a few nights at Sha’are Tzedek hospital. After this tiring experience, I decided that the best thing to do would be to go back home a little early and rest up before school starts again.
However, I will never be able to forget how exceptional my co-workers are. From the moment they found out I was in the hospital, they were calling and asking when they could come visit. They arranged a rotation so that I would never have to be alone, even volunteering to sleep in my hospital room when they had their own families to worry about. I received countless phone calls and well wishes from various members of Shatil staff. And I think it’s no surprise that the two people who brought me in and out of the hospital, were from Shatil.
My summer internship at Shatil has taught me countless lessons about Israel’s democracy in general, how to advocate, and how to address inequalities, as well as assisting me in my personal goals of gaining technical writing skills, learning how to write grants, and gaining a lifetime supply of knowledge in the world of social justice. I’m going to take everything I’ve learned with me, but most of all, I’m going to carry Shatil in my heart with the knowledge that the people there are the most incredible part. None of the amazing work that Shatil has accomplished would have come to fruition without each and every member of the Shatil team. Whether it’s writing grants or leading a training session, planning a seminar or attending a board meeting, each Shatil employee completes his or her task with undeniable passion and commitment. That’s why we’re here.
I’m disappointed to be leaving Israel early, but I know I’ve done my part on the development team, and learned in ways I never could have anywhere else. From here on out I have Shatil to take with me, from my improved and concise writing, to knowledge about democracy building, to the memories of people who just really, truly care.
Thank you all, so, so much.