When I was first asked the question “Why do you do what you do?”, I sat in hopeless contemplation trying to find one concept—one word or phrase—that defines who I am. I asked countless friends who they thought I was, but that was even more unpromising. It wasn’t until I got into a very deep religious debate with my friend that he paused, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “You know what, David? You’re a pretty darn good teacher.” At that moment it hit me that something I did so often, something I felt so passionate about, something that was part of my everyday life unbeknownst to me until that moment was my passion for educating others. Much of the activities I voluntarily participated all had a common end goal: giving me the opportunity to enhance someone’s life with more knowledge.
When I was 13, I started tutoring people for their Bar Mitzvahs. I minimal money, but I really appreciated the job because it was fulfilling to watch my students stand in front of a congregation on their bar mitzvah and confidently lead services. By the time I graduated, I was not only teaching students, I was also teaching other tutors how to teach students.
I decided to work as a counselor at a summer camp when I turned 17. What intrigued me about the job more than anything was the idea that during two months living with campers, I had the opportunity to influence them in ways only parents can reach. My values could become their values; and my knowledge could become their knowledge. I still work at that summer camp.
Entering college, I decided to wear a kippah—a little head covering to symbol my Judaism. I receive countless questions and remarks about it and have the opportunity to teach many people about Judaism. My roommates have been intrigued about it since day one and now know more about Judaism than many Jews.
Being able to make a difference in someone’s life by adding a new piece of knowledge, a different opinion, or even a value system for one to ponder is the most rewarding thing I can do on this world and I do it to the best of my ability. What do I do? I teach. Why? So others can learn.