Joey Asch is an alumnus of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program, Class XVIII. He can be reached at

In his book “The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million,” author Daniel Mendelsohn describes an encounter he once had with an Australian Jew. When she told him that she was going to be light (meaning “late”), it dawned on him that there really are Jewish people in places other than New York City. That’s not to say that Mendelsohn didn’t know until that enlightening moment that Jews actually live all over the world, but rather that the real encounter, and the ever so evident differences between them, made this fact very real and brought with it new insights and meaning.

Israel is the home of Jews from all over the world – we speak many languages – English, French, Amharic, Arabic, Hungarian, Moroccan… even Hebrew. We are very aware that there are Jewish people that live in many countries other than Israel, mostly in the U.S.  And still, the opportunity we had in Jerusalem this past July to meet with other fellow Wexner constituents from the U.S. stimulated many thoughts.

I found it interesting that the venue chosen for this meeting was Jerusalem, the city where our paths diverted some 2000 years ago. And now, meeting back again in the holiest of cities, we practically picked up right where we left off. We share many of the same concerns, both personal and general; we strive for similar “Jewish” goals; worry about our children; and revel in the same joys in our lives.

I feel that Israeli Jews live a different Jewish life than do Jews abroad in ways that are hard to put into words, and I thank The Foundation for facilitating this very meaningful and fun get-together with great, idealistic, and smart Wexner Heritage members from the U.S. These meetings remind us all that we have much in common, and that meeting and talking to each other more often would certainly benefit all of our Jewish lives.