‘I Just Fell in Love with the Place’: Rahav Finds New Home at Creighton

danielrahavEven if you don’t recognize his name, chances are you’ve seen Daniel Rahav, BSBA’15, somewhere on or around the Creighton University campus.

Or perhaps even further afield.

In his present position as a senior business analyst for University Relations, Rahav is often found darting around campus to various events and meetings. But before his current job, Rahav worked for Creighton’s Division of Information Technology, which included stints helping get the University’s RaD Lab up and running and in the iJay Apple Store in the Harper Center. It was in the iJay that Rahav’s photo was taken as he helped a client. The photo is now part of one of the University’s marketing campaigns.

“And now it’s everywhere,” Rahav says with a laugh. “You see it at the bus stop, on benches. Two friends texted me and said they saw it in the airport in Minneapolis. So I get a lot of, ‘Hey! Aren’t you that guy in the picture?’ Yes. That’s me.”

Absent that photograph, Rahav’s impression on Creighton has still been far-reaching since he first arrived on campus as a student in 2012, though his first brush with the University came six years earlier.

Hailing from Ramat-Hasharon near Tel-Aviv, Rahav was still a high schooler in 2006 when he served as one of about 30 Israeli youth ambassadors who fanned out around the U.S., tasked with educating, speaking and lecturing about Israel over a seven-month period.

“I have family on the East and West coasts but Omaha was a little bit of a question for me,” Rahav said. “I remember telling my mother, ‘I think it’s in the Midwest?’ And we went to the encyclopedia — not Wikipedia — and we learned all about this place in the middle of the country and I thought, ‘I’ve always been pretty independent, that’s why they’re sending me here. Let’s do it.’”

While here, Rahav attended Omaha Northwest High School and lived with a host family who immediately welcomed him into their fold. In between his work as an ambassador, he played basketball, went to the movies, and generally lived the life of an American teenager, with one significant exception.

One day toward the end of his stay, an English teacher asked Rahav’s class what they were all planning to do with their lives when high school was over.

“People were going to college, getting jobs, maybe taking a year off to travel,” Rahav said. “When the teacher got to me, I said, ‘I don’t really have a choice. In Israel, we all go into the military after high school.’”

As Rahav prepared to return to Israel and his three-year stint in the Israel Defense Forces, a service mandatory for all Israeli men and women over the age of 18, his host mother had a conversation with him that still resonates.

“She knew that I really wanted to return to the U.S. for university,” Rahav said. “And she knew I was looking around the East and West coasts, where my family was. She said to me, ‘Daniel, there’s a school here in Omaha I just want you to think about because it would be a good fit for you. Think about Creighton University.’ And she left it there, but I said I would think about it and I did.”

Rahav completed his high school work, earning a Microsoft certification as part of his diploma, which also included a concentration in computer science and biology, then it was off to military training.

While with the IDF, Rahav started his service training to be a combat fitness instructor, working with commanders on reducing soldiers’ risk for injury in combat training exercises. But when word spread that Rahav had once been a part of a high-school contingent of young computer developers who had a sit-down meeting with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, his superior officer came to him and said he’d been reassigned.

“‘Daniel,’ he said, ‘we might need you to lead our IT department,’” Rahav recalled. “This was on our base and it was a challenge. I led up a group of four to five people and I was just 18, 19 years old. We took IT on base in a complete 180, changing policies, creating backups, building infrastructure, getting it all up to standard because it was in a bit of a hole at that time. I had a logistics instructor who was a little rough on me, but that made me so much better and prepared to do so much of what I’ve done since. It was a great experience.”

When he had leave time, Rahav would occasionally return to Omaha and stay with his host family. And as his three-year service began edging toward its conclusion, Creighton began to grow on his future’s horizon.

“That Creighton connection stayed in my mind,” he said. “So I reached out, I toured the campus and I just fell in love with the place.”

After his discharge from the military, Rahav did another four months as a youth ambassador instructor (“Shlichim”) in Pennsylvania, then made his decision, by that time down to Creighton and New York University. His father told him to go with his gut.

“My gut said Creighton,” he said. “The people, the way they received me, and the way my host family had introduced me to it. I felt a connection that was just too strong to ignore.”

Majoring in marketing and business intelligence and analytics, Rahav found his niche, and a welcoming, accepting place where he could forge relationships with people from all walks of life.

In fact, Rahav said he’s most proud of another photograph he’s in with one friend he met at Creighton from Saudi Arabia, an often-unlikely pairing in the world today.

“Creighton is a place, here in the middle of the U.S., in Omaha, Nebraska, where you can sit down and talk to people from anywhere and become very good friends,” Rahav said. “I have two good friends from Saudi Arabia who came to Creighton. That’s not always something you will find out in the world. But because we came to Creighton, we have the time to talk and connect.”

Upon graduation in 2015, Rahav took a job with University Admissions and was then present at the creation of what eventually became the DoIT RaD Lab and helped get the nation’s first student-run Apple Store up and running. Now in University Relations, he’s continuing to put his Creighton education to use in the service of his alma mater.

“I’ve been so lucky to be at Creighton,” he said. “This place is an incubator for growth and innovation, a global incubator. And the people are what have meant so much to me. They make Creighton the place that it is.”