Eleven make Is­rael Jour­ney for first time

New scheme for young peo­ple who miss out on youth move­ments

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - RACHEL FL E T CHER FI NCH­LEY

AL­MOST A DOZEN young Jews left for Is­rael last week to take part in a new gap-year pro­gramme de­signed for those who do not be­long to UK Jewish youth move­ments.

Eleven stu­dents aged 18 and 19 left last Wed­nes­day to spend five months in Is­rael, trav­el­ling and learn­ing for the scheme, which is called Is­rael Jour­ney. It has been co-or­di­nated by Is­rael Ex­pe­ri­ence, run jointly by UJIA and the Jewish Agency.

The Is­rael Jour­ney par­tic­i­pants be­gin their pro­gramme on a kib­butz just out­side Jerusalem, fol­lowed by a two-week ul­pan, an in­ten­sive He­brew course.

They will meet MKs in the Knes­set and rab­bis in Se­fad. They will also have the chance to go on a trip to Poland to learn about the Holo­caust and to un­der­take army train­ing and a desert­sur­vival course.

UJIA Is­rael Ex­pe­ri­ence di­rec­tor Adam Sav­ille told the JC: “There are peo­ple who are not nec­es­sar­ily in­volved in youth move­ments and don’t want a lead­er­ship pro­gramme, but who do want a long-term ex­pe­ri­ence of Is­rael. We re­alised there was a gap, if you’ll par­don the pun, in the gap year mar­ket.”

Is­rael Jour­ney costs £4,500 and bur­saries are avail­able. Mr Sav­ille added: “We’re aware of the ris­ing costs of univer­sity.”

UJIA has just wel­comed back a group of par­tic­i­pants on its win­ter Taglit-Birthright Is­rael pro­gramme, whose mem­bers spent 10 days tour­ing the coun­try.

De­scrib­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence as “phe­nom­e­nal”, 25-year-old Suzanne Class of Glas­gow said: “Not in my wildest dreams did I ex­pect to do and see all that we did. We were all from such di­verse back­grounds, but I’ve now made some new friends for life.

“It has changed my views, opin­ions and feel­ings on not just Is­rael, but my life and the way I want to live it.”

Doug Krik­ler, UJIA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “UJIA in­vests in youth through dy­namic ac­tiv­i­ties that en­able young peo­ple to ex­plore their con­nec­tion with Ju­daism and Is­rael.”

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