How Are These 110 Teens Going to Israel?

By Nicole Patolai, Israel Connections Program Coordinator for the Jewish Federation of San Diego County

...Because of you!

A young surfing enthusiast, a modern orthodox 8th grader, and a Mexican Jewish family walk into the SDSU Hillel house…

This isn’t the beginning of a silly joke; it’s the beginning of My Israel Journey, the program that’s bringing together high school students from the dynamic mosaic of Jewish San Diego.

On Sunday, March 6th, nearly 150 local teens and parents gathered in the SDSU Melvin Garb Hillel Center for the first ever orientation for My Israel Journey: San Diego Teen Travel Subsidy program.

Each of the My Israel Journey 2016 subsidy recipients will be granted $1,750 towards an organized Israel program of their choice. This group of an unprecedented 110 teens represents seventeen different schools, and eleven different trips to Israel that run the gamut of Jewish denominations and causes.

With so many teens enrolled in programs like March of the Living, NFTY in Israel, JITLI and the Ken’s Aluma trip (to name a few), Federation’s universal gathering aimed to emphasize the San Diego Jewish community’s unity and common goals of teen engagement, while celebrating and supporting all of its unique organizations and individuals alike. 

Central to the subsidy program is service learning and volunteerism, of which a minimum of four hours is required to qualify for funding. With the upcoming launch of the Jewish Teen Service Institute & Corps, another key component of the Community Teen Initiative, Federation hopes to further the ties of teens to the Jewish community, to each other, and to the Jewish values of tikkun olam and tzedakah.

All orientation attendees received collateral materials from Federation, invitations to upcoming programs and involvement opportunities like JServe, and information about the larger motivations and implications of this groundbreaking initiative.

Although the My Israel Journey 2016 program is currently at capacity, we welcome all San Diego teens to apply and spread the word about this incentive grant, and help us make Israel a more central tenant of growing up Jewish in San Diego.

This program was made possible largely by the generosity and vision of Esther Fischer, and the support of our local partner organizations.


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