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Many of our students and alumni headed to Israel this past summer, volunteering, attending learning programs and even making aliyah. Among them were a few who contacted us to share their photos and thoughts on their inspiring experiences.
Seven of our students headed to Israel with JUF’s Write on For Israel (WOFI) program.

sydney_student_alumni_israelSeveral students volunteered in Israel, including Sydney Novetsky (pictured at left), Tali Pelts, Shira Ben David and Kama Neren, who all worked in orphanages in Israel. Sydney, who was at Beit Elezraki in Netanya, a home for children from troubled and abusive backgrounds, writes: “I spent a month making sure each and every child had an incredible summer. I was able to improve my Hebrew skills, do chesed, and learn a lot about myself and about others. I, along with about 30 other Americans, all slept at the home and were with the children from 7AM-11PM. It was an experience I will never forget, and I will continue to always keep in touch and share a close connection with all the children I’ve met and I feel like I am part of their family.

aliyah_students_alumni_israelAlumni Maor Rudick, Zach Cohn, Hannah Dimbert, Shira Lebowitz and Tal and Adi Tovy all made aliyah this summer, joining hundreds of Academy alumni already living there. Pictured are Maor and Zach.
Four members of the class of 2012, Gabe Michael, Eliana Block and Adi and Tal Tovy were all counselors in an Orthodox day camp, Kefiada Shafir, in JUF Chicago’s Partnership 2Gether region. Gabe writes, “When I thought I was signing up for a unique Israel summer experience, I never realized I was signing myself up for a combination of four separate, unique experiences all in one. At Kefiada 2013 I experienced living in an Israeli home and making a close bond with an Israeli family. I experienced being a counselor for Israeli children, helping them with their English skills while improving my Hebrew skills in the process. At Kefiada I had the opportunity to work with Israeli co-counselors, who are now good friends of mine and whom I can’t wait to visit. And if that’s not enough, throughout the month I also had activities throughout Israel with the other counselors such as BBQ’s, ATVing, and bowling, to name a few. Working at Kefiada was an unforgettable summer which I would definitely recommend others to go experience!”
students_alumni_israel_summerKefiada Eliana writes, “Summer of 2013 was about teaching English (a skill I only recently took for granted), eating homemade Israeli cuisine, and visiting the neighbors’ dairy cows. It was about celebrating the Fourth of July on the sparkling shore of Ashkelon, and having one’s campers lift you 20 times on a chair for your Hebrew birthday. It was about being 6000+ miles and 8 hour time differences away from Chicago, yet feeling right at home. Kefiada is about making a difference with Michal, who spoke not a word of English her first day beside ‘sorry,’ hugging me the last day and saying ‘I will miss you.’ No doubt, had I not come to Kefiada, would I have been sorry! Thank you JUF for everything.”

students_alumni_israel_yeshivotAnd of course, many of our recent alumni headed to Israel to study Reb. Finkel in Yeshivot and seminaries for their first year there or their shana bet. Pictured are Ilana Aaron, Risa Birn, and Miriam Gutstein, who are all in their second year at Tiferet, with Rebbetzin Finkel, mother of alum Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l. Rebbetzin Finkel spoke to the girls and gave them all a bracha.

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