(March 17, 2021, JNS Wire) New York, NY: March 10, 2021 – A new and exciting era in long term teen travel to Israel has begun with the launch of Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) DREAM ISRAEL: Teen Travel Initiative.
JNF-USA’s DREAM ISRAEL will make grants of up to $7,500 available per teen on selected programs.
The initiative will reignite long-term Jewish teen travel to Israel, bringing leading Zionist movements, the Conservative and Reform movements together with JNF-USA.
Supported by JNF-USA’s Boruchin Center, DREAM ISRAEL will enable students to access various levels of grant funding toward their travel to Israel while learning about the act of tzedakah (charity) and fundraising for approved philanthropic causes in Israel.
For example, if a teen raises $2,500 in funds, they receive $3,750 in grants for a minimum four-week program in Israel. If the program they choose is at least eight weeks long, they can raise $5,000 in funds to receive $7,500 in grants.
JNF-USA Boruchin Center Chairman Mike Lederman said: “JNF-USA’s Boruchin Center continues to play a leading role in maintaining and promoting the historic connection between the American and Israeli people. Fostering this connection is a key priority of the Boruchin Center. We look forward to broadening and deepening our impact by nurturing lifelong connections to Israel among teens and thereby inspiring our next generation of community leaders and changemakers.”
President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs said: “The Reform Movement is committed to creating the spark that connects young people to the land and people of Israel. A core part of that connection is impactful and educational long-term teen travel to Israel as well as building ties to Reform Movement institutions within Israel. We are pleased to be one of the launch partners of JNF-USA Boruchin Center’s DREAM ISRAEL initiative, which will help achieve those goals for the next generation.”
CEO of USCJ and the Rabbinical Assembly Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal said: “All of us in the Conservative Movement are thrilled that more and more of our young people are interested in spending significant time in Israel on our programs. We are grateful to JNF-USA’s Boruchin Center for its innovative approach to youth philanthropy.”
Director of Israel Immersives URJ/Youth Rabbi Loren Sykes said: “DREAM ISRAEL is going to make a high school semester in Israel a reality for more students than ever before. Participating in longer, more immersive experiences will lead teens to deeper, lifelong connections to Israel and Israelis.”
Ramah TRY Jerusalem High School Director and Head of School Jonathan Madoff said: “The generosity of JNF-USA will make it easier for hundreds of teens to spend a high school semester on Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY), journeying through Jewish history and modern Israel, and making Jerusalem their home.”
President of Alexander Muss High School in Israel, Ron Werner said: High School in Israel has been transforming teen lives with our immersive educational experience for nearly 50 years. Our programs teach Jewish history as a tool to inculcate Zionistic and Jewish values while providing students with a greater thirst for learning and setting them up for further academic success. We are so excited about the creation of DREAM ISRAEL and believe it will reenergize long-term teen travel to Israel in a way that also highlights the importance of tzedakah.”
DREAM ISRAEL Manager Josh Samet said: “Now more than ever, it is crucial that Jewish students feel an attachment to their ancestral homeland. With this initiative, future leaders will feel a strong connection to Israel that will last a lifetime.”
Stefan Oberman, JNF-USA Director of Communications
P: 212.879.9305 x222
About Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.
About Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Alexander Muss High School (AMHSI-JNF) is a pluralistic, college prep, international study abroad program that strengthens teens’ Jewish identity, teaching them 4,000 years of Jewish history while using the land of Israel as a classroom. Offering Semester, Mini-mester, and Summer sessions with opportunities to earn college credit, make new friends and memories, and have the experience of a lifetime. For more information visit amhsi.org.
About Roots Israel
Make a difference in a fun and meaningful way on Roots Israel, a service-learning adventure for students in 9th-12th grade. Spend four weeks in the summer traveling throughout Israel and volunteering with local Israelis and JNF affiliates, all while exploring issues of environmentalism and social sustainability that are so crucial to Israel’s way of life. Volunteer projects include cleaning up beaches and working with refugee children. For more information visit rootsisrael.org.
About URJ Heller High
Since its founding in 1961, Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is the most experienced and trusted high school in Israel program for meaningful Jewish learning, spiritual experiences, personal growth, and academic success. With Israel as its classroom, they build a dynamic learning environment where formal instruction, experiential learning, and travel combine to bring Jewish living and learning to life.
About Ramah TRY
TRY is a study abroad opportunity for 10th-12th grade Jewish high school students. Students on the program experience every facet of the country—hiking and exploring the land, immersing themselves in nuanced dialogue and Israeli culture, and making Israel their classroom. At TRY’s fully accredited high school, students’ academic needs are met by a faculty of trained teachers. Students complete the semester feeling more confident and independent, and with a stronger connection to Israel and their Judaism.