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Throughout the year, in the classroom and in extracurricular programming, we strive to reinforce our students’ love for Israel by educating them and inspiring them to want to visit, support the State and even move there. No other week in the school year does that more than this week at ICJA, with Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut.

Every year we are proud to send at least 85 percent of our senior class to spend a gap year (or two!) in Israel.

Recent alumni gather in Israel with visiting ICJA staff
Recent alumni gather in Israel with visiting ICJA staff

Many of these alumni go on to join the IDF, attend college in Israel or make aliyah. Some ICJA alumni classes have so many alumni in Israel, that class reunions are held there in addition to in Chicago! So often, we hear from these alumni that their Academy education was pivotal in deepening their love for Israel. Together with Bnei Akiva, Camp Moshava and Hillel Torah, we are proud to raise generations of Modern Orthodox, Zionist alumni.

This week, in celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, we reached out to our alumni in Israel to send us an update.

Five recent alumni joined the IDF recently, and we heard from Daniel Gottesman this week:

alumni idf

Rami, Elazar and I (all class of ’14) enlisted in March 2016 with Yeshivat Hakotel to the Givati brigade. We are currently in a week of shemira, or guard duty, where we are watching over the camp. All of us look back to our time at the Academy and thank you for the inspiration you’ve given us to allow us to get to this point through experiential and academic teaching of the values of Zionism and importance of the State of Israel. We wish everyone a meaningful Yom Hazikaron and Chag Ha’atzmaut Sameach.

Rebecca Kahn, Rina Jacobs, Lauren Sorscher, Shana Rosenberg sent us a photo today of the group celebrating Yom Ha’Atzmaut at Latrun.

Rebecca Kahn, Rina Jacobs, Lauren Sorscher, Shana Rosenberg at Latrun on Yom HaAtzmaut

Cindy Schwartz Kline (’86), wrote this week:

I have been here since I graduated, first on Bnei Akiva Hachshara on Kibbutz Darren and Cindy's 23rd anniversaryMaale Gilboa, then in Michlelet Orot in Elkana, then in Bar Ilan, where I graduated with a BA in social work. I met my husband Dorron Kline (originally from S. Africa) on a March of the Living trip while at Bar Ilan. We married in 1991 and have five daughters: Hadas-23, Maayan and Shaked-22, Ami-19, and Hallel-13. We lived first on/near Bar Ilan University for two years, then we moved to Yakir in the Shomron, we then had a four-year Aliyah Shlichut stint in South Africa. When we came back, we moved to Beit Shemesh. I work in fundraising for non-profits, and my husband is the CEO  of the South African Zionist Federation in Israel (Telfed), the Aliyah absorption and social support organization for South African Olim.

Almost 30 years later, I love my life in Israel and have proudly watched three children serve the country in National Service and the IDF, and my fourth will be enlisting soon.
Ari Roth (’05) wrote the following this week:alumni ari roth
I am a senior client manager for Five Blocks, a reputation management agency in Gush Etzion that works with some of the world’s leading brands. I live with my wife, Harley, and 2-year-old daughter,  Annaelle, in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanetziv neighborhood. We all love living in Israel because we are surrounded by our people.  I try to help give back to the community by volunteering regularly in Mishmar Ezrachi, the local civilian police force, and this gives the residents a more secure feeling.
Raichel Cohen Harazi (’02) wrote the following this week:
IMG_2403Since making aliyah in 2009, I have been working, studying and raising my family in Israel. I am currently working on a PhD in biology at Bar Ilan University. I live with my husband and four children in Kfar Tapuach, a settlement just outside of the Shomron city Ariel. I’m always particularly thankful and proud to be living in Israel during this emotional week of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

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