In this week’s blog, Talya Greenblatt, PPI – ME’s International Fellow, interviews Noy and Hadas, both of whom joined PPI-ME in 2008 as participants, and are now coaches in the organization. Having made a mark in the Jerusalem teams in which they played, both had to leave PPI-ME for two years in order to complete their military service, required for all Jewish Israelis. Upon completion of their service, both decided to return to PPI-ME as coaches and are today key staff members in the Jerusalem PeacePlayers Basketball Clubs.
Reflecting on past and present, Noy and Hadas relay their experiences as participants and coaches in PPI-ME.
T: How does it feel to return to PPI-ME after serving in the army?
H: Its great! I love being back with everyone especially with the people I didn’t get to see so often over the last two years. It’s like being back with family. And it’s great to coach basketball and see the kids play and get better. It’s different seeing PPI-ME from the staff side though. When I was a participant, I didn’t see all the work that takes place behind the scenes, so it’s weird to see it from backstage now. But its amazing to see how everything works.
N: Weird but at the same time, it feels really good to be back. It’s an important organization and its something I always believed in. I don’t think I was ready to really leave PPI-ME, and it felt like my duty to return and coach.
T: What do you feel you have gained from your involvement in PPI-ME?
H: Wow, a lot. Most importantly, friends. Friends that I would not have met otherwise. And leadership skills, many of which helped me become a commander in the army, such as having the confidence to talk in front of large groups. I was really insecure and PPI-ME gave me the skills to be self-assured and to say what I think is right, even when it is difficult to do so.
N: Of course my friendship with Hadas! But also, PPI-ME helped me change my perspective on Arabs. Before I joined, I purposefully would not talk to Arabs and before I left for the army, I hosted a dinner at my own house for the Arabs and Jews in the PPI-ME program with me.
T: What is your hope for the participants that you now coach?
H: I want them to be in a position where the relationships they have on the court grow off the court as well.
N: I agree. I hope they continue in PPI-ME and believe in what they are doing on the court and in the end, return to become coaches
Rapid Fire Questions:
What is your favorite movie?
Hadas-She’s the Man
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Hadas- Australia or Thailand
What is your favorite food?
Hadas- Ice Cream
Batman or Superman?