Yeshiva University News » 2007 » January » 08

Jan 8, 2007 — A select group of 23 Yeshiva University undergraduate students are participating in a leadership mission intended to provide students with the skills and information to run Israel educational and social action programs in high schools and communities upon their return to the United States.

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The students are in the northern part of Israel, learning about the conflict with Syria and Lebanon through the years and helping Israelis rebuild from this summer’s conflict. The trip was coordinated by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and the departments of student affairs on both undergraduate campuses.

On January 2, the group spent the day in Ramat HaGolan, touring the strategic areas of the Golan Heights with retired General Kobi Marom. The YU students were taken to areas crucial in the Yom Kippur War, and the Lebanese wars. They ended the tour on the spot where 73 Israeli soldiers were killed when their helicopters collided after a surveillance mission in Lebanon.

The students also spent time with their Israeli peers, discussing world Jewry’s support of Israel; met with Karmit Goldwasser, wife of kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser; interacted with the recent Bnei Menashe aliyah; and studied in Midreshet Nov for women and Yeshivat Hispin for men in the north, both of which were closed during the 2006 war with Lebanon.

The group also responded to a call by Magen David Adom asking for blood donations. Due to a severe blood shortage, the blood bank at Magen David Adom was forced to stop delivering blood to many hospitals. A blood drive where YU students, friends, and alumni were encouraged to donate blood was planned for January 5, in Jerusalem’s Kikar Tzion; in Haifa on January 7; and at YU’s Israel campus on January 30th.

“The responsibility to create student leadership laboratories is at the core of unique activist atmosphere at Yeshiva University,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of YU’s Center for Jewish Future. “We are glad to partner with other departments in the university to create experiences to empower the next generation of Jewish leaders.”

The Center for the Jewish Future also sponsored a trip for students who are in Israel independently and want to visit the Gush Etzion region. Two hundred YU students spent Monday, January 8, in Gush Etzion, learning about the area and interacting with some of the YU alumni who call Gush home


Jan 8, 2007 — Undergraduate students from Yeshiva University (YU), under the direction of The Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), will bring their Jewish knowledge and enthusiasm for learning to different Jewish communities as part of the new Jewish Life Coast to Coast program.

“Through this trip, our students get a closer look at Jewish communal life and leadership,” said Rabbi Ari Rockoff, director of the CJF’s Department of Community Initiatives. “Many of them have already expressed interest in the communities they’ve visited, and we hope that interest will inspire them to pursue future roles as leaders in Jewish life.”

The 18 students left New York on January 2, traveling by bus to Baltimore, MD, where they will visit the JCC of Park Heights. From there they traveled to Richmond, VA, where they visited with community members at Knesseth Beit Israel and stayed overnight in members’ homes.

From Richmond, the group took the bus to Charleston, SC, where they facilitated family learning programs at Brith Sholom Beth Israel. On the morning of January 4, the YU group conducted programs for third through eighth graders at Addlestone Hebrew Academy and met with the school’s principal.

They then headed to Atlanta, where the YU students visited Young Israel of Toco Hills. Jewish Life Coast to Coast participant Adina Borg gave a class for adults. Ms. Borg, a student at YU’s Stern College for Women, participated in the CJF Atlanta Summer Kollel in 2006 where she gave several classes, and the community requested that she facilitate a program during Coast to Coast. Rabbi Michael J. Broyde spoke to students about what it is like to be a rabbi outside of the New York City area.

On January 5, the YU students will fly to New Orleans, where their first order of business will be to see the areas of the city hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina. They will spend Shabbat with Congregation Beth Israel, giving shiurim (classes) and adding to the Shabbat experience.

On January 7, the group will volunteer with NECHAMA, a group that facilitates disaster response volunteer projects. The YU students will do some restoration and cleanup work around New Orleans.

The group will fly to Miami for the last leg of their coast-to-coast tour. On January 9, they will spend the day at Maimonides Day School and Hillel Academy, running programs for the students.

The YU students will facilitate an adult learning program at Highland Lakes Beit David Synagogue on January 10. The following day the students will again visit Maimonides Day School and Hillel Academy. From there they will travel to Boca Raton, where they will facilitate an adult education program at Boca Raton Synagogue and the Boca Kollel.

The students’ final Shabbat will be spent in Boynton Beach and Highland Lakes with host families, where they will meet with high school students and share meals with the communities. The YU students will be returning to New York on January 14.