Yale student dances his way — Israeli-style — to a Rhodes Scholarship

Daniel Weizmann
The Times of Israel

Yale senior David Carel — who next year will join the ranks of US senators, Supreme Court justices and a president as a Rhodes Scholar — is not just driven to save lives. He’s also passionate about Israeli folk dancing.

In fact, he’s a bit of an expert, and sometimes an instructor.

“There’s a resurgence of Israeli dancing in Philadelphia, actually,” the affable Carel told The Times of Israel recently about his hometown. “Including young people.”

Carel, who speaks fluent Hebrew and Zulu, has also supplemented his Ivy League studies by overseeing educational and HIV/AIDS awareness programs in South Africa, focusing his efforts on at-risk youth in the KwaZulu Natal region.

The 21-year-old, who will receive degrees in economics and African studies in May, is accustomed to recognition: He’s already been named a Yale Global Health Initiative Fellow, and is a national board member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. But in selecting him as one of its next scholars, arguably the highest honor an American college student can receive, the Rhodes Trust also acknowledged his enthusiasm for Israeli folk dancing — called rikudei am in Hebrew — though it erroneously referred to the pastime as “Rukdan” in his official biography.

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