Local high school teens have the opportunity to explore Israel – in Hebrew – and make new friendships with Israeli teenagers.
This four-week trip in June of 2019, called Chalutzim Ba’aretz, will be hosted by Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute of Oconomowoc, in partnership with NFTY in Israel. NFTY is the Reform Jewish youth movement.
This Hebrew-speaking trip will “allow each participant to experience Israel not as a tourist, but as a Jewish young person returning home,” according to NftyIsrael.org.
Although there is not a requirement to speak Hebrew full time, this trip is an opportunity to “learn, develop, practice Hebrew,” said OSRUI Director Solly Kane. A baseline knowledge of the language is needed for this trip, Kane said.
The teens will move from the north of Israel to the south. They will visit Eilat and snorkel in the Red Sea, float in the Dead Sea, sleep in a Bedouin tent, ride a camel, climb Masada, pray at the Kotel, experience the city of Tzfat and Tel Aviv and do much more.
Students will be accompanied by American and Israeli counselors from OSRUI and NFTY staff in Israel, which includes rabbis. Students will also participate in Shabbat services.
There will be a few Hebrew-spoken tours and the teens will learn new vocabulary throughout the trip, according to Kane.
Students will also participate in Ulpan in Tel Aviv, an intensive Hebrew program to work on language development, which Kane describes as “Hebrew boot-camp.”
They will converse in Hebrew with their new Israeli friends and go on excursions together.
Participants can be “typical teenagers” on this trip and “see they have lots in common with Israeli teenagers half-way around the world,” Kane said.
Registration is open throughout the winter and there are 40 spots available. The trip will offer private transportation. “Our highest priority is safety,” Kane said.
After the students return, Kane said, “we hope relationships built on this trip will be an important part of their Jewish identity.”
For information and registration regarding Chalutzim Ba’aretz, visit NftyIsrael.org/Osrui