From Tech To Taste: Israelis In America Share Their Journeys

A collaboration of DFI and CJE: for Jewish communal professionals to Discover 70 Years of Israel through Personal Stories

Thursdays, 12-1:30, The Weinberg Park Heights JCC

 

What is your name? Gabrielle (Gabby) Burger

When and why did you move to Baltimore?

I moved to Baltimore in October of 2001. Believe it or not I moved here for a guy! Thankfully that worked out and we have been married for over 14 years.

What has surprised you most when moving to US/Israel?

The most surprising thing was how each place has their own distinct culture and sets of priorities. I moved to Israel twice as a young teen, and then back to America as a young adult. The things that were of the utmost importance to me when I moved to Israel (both times) were nowhere near the top of my list when I moved back to America. Some would say that could be age, but I think it is more than that.

What do you wish other people would understand about the impact of living in two different cultures?

I think it goes back to priorities. The way that I lived my life in America and the way that I lived my life in Israel were not the same. In America many teenagers have cars, where in Israel you have a monthly bus/train pass! In Israel many young kids have responsibilities that we would never give to a child of the same age in this country. In Jerusalem where I lived you cannot walk more than a few feet without passing a site that has religious significance to any number of religions, and in my opinion that amplifies the beauty and sanctity of the land. These differences are not good or bad, they just are. The way I live my life, raise my family, make decisions and see the world is impacted by having lived in these two cultures.

What do you think is the benefit of having a diverse understanding and background?

I think that any chance we have to see things from different perspectives is a blessing. We live in a time where diversity is part of our everyday understanding and the more I can be attuned to that the better my empathy will be towards those not like me in this world.

Tell us what you love about your work and how what you do contributes to both American and Israeli society?

I am lucky to do what I do! As the director of PJ Library and PJ Our Way here in Baltimore I have the pleasure of working with families while they are raising their children. I have the opportunity to show them the beauty of being Jewish and the complexity of it as well. Me being who I am means that Israel is always part of that beauty and complexity. Being part of a larger organization that spans across the world means I get to learn from and with those from outside both Baltimore and America, and that means that all of our work is enriched.

Start typing and press Enter to search