July 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

YU Winter Break Programs Focus on Community Building

Yeshiva University announced that more than 50 outstanding undergraduate students will be participating in service learning, experiential education and humanitarian aid missions in the United States and Israel during the University’s upcoming winter intersession. From January 15-22, the student leaders will take part in an array of hands-on community-building projects while developing their own leadership, teaching and advocacy skills.

In response to the wildfires that ravaged Israel in November, 20 YU students will spend their week-long winter break helping the Neve Tzuf (Halamish) community remove debris and rebuild their homes. In addition, the group will transform YU’s Israel Campus in Jerusalem into a festive location where they will run a carnival day for the youth who have been displaced due to the fires, in an effort to buoy their spirits and lend a sense of normalcy to a difficult situation.

The students will also meet with Israeli first responders and ecologists to learn about the incredible efforts undertaken by international firefighting teams to extinguish the brush fires, as well as the implementation of environmental measures to allow the 32,000 acres of scorched earth to heal.

“We are calling this mission ‘Responding to Flames of Destruction’ because in addition to lending a hand to the communities hit hardest by the wildfires, we will also use this opportunity to teach our students about the political and societal fires that continue to rage in Israel—hot-button issues like religious denominationalism and discrimination against minorities that divide Israeli society,” said Gabi Sackett, program director at Yeshiva University in Israel.

“By the end of the mission, the students will feel a sense of pride for making a difference in the lives of families who lost their homes and worldly possessions, but they will also be knowledgeable enough about the issues to become advocates for real change in Israel, even from a distance.”

During the same timeframe, 10 students will meet with local rabbis, educators, medical professionals and communal leaders in Houston, Texas, to gain a better understanding of the history, personalities and challenges that have shaped their Jewish community’s unique identity. Known as “Jewish Life Coast to Coast,” this experiential education mission aims to broaden the students’ Jewish communal knowledge through informative meetings, hands-on volunteering and the students’ implementation of educational programs in schools, synagogues and community centers.

Highlights will include meetings with executive staff members from the Houston Federation and Jewish community members employed by NASA, teaching in the Beren Hebrew Academy and engaging with the United Orthodox Synagogue community.

“We are proud that so many of our students are spending their short vacations engaged in meaningful volunteer activities and learning real-life lessons about community and philanthropy,” said Naomi Kohl, YU’s director of student life on the Israel Henry Beren Campus. “By giving of themselves so willingly and striving to learn about Jewish life in other areas of the country, these students personify YU’s core principles of altruism, education and communal responsibility.”

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles