December 29, 2011
I was left wondering how Israel, this 63-year-old nation, can boast such growth in its economy and show such inventiveness while experiencing two major wars, several skirmishes and two intifadas. Then I discovered the Hebrew word davka. It means “despite.” Despite centuries of persecution, a holocaust, criticism from all over the world and continuous upheaval, the nation of Israel has not only survived, it has prospered and has bred inventiveness. Maybe davka should be expanded in its meaning to include a positive word — hope.
Fr. Thomas Curran, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales and president of Rockhurst University, a Jesuit school in Kansas City, Mo
In June 2011, Orli Gil, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, extended an invitation to 11 college presidents of U.S. Midwestern universities to spend a week in Israel. Gil, who is based in Chicago, described the Oct. 22-29 trip as an unparalleled opportunity for the university officials to meet high-level Israeli politicians and leaders of Israeli universities. The itinerary included opportunities to learn of some of the newest Israeli innovations in science, technology, research and development in medicine, alternative energy, agriculture and the environment. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsored and underwrote the costs of the trip, except for each person’s airfare to New York City.
Fr. Thomas Curran accepted the invitation. Upon his return, Curran spoke with NCR about the trip.