By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
From the moment of your arrival, a journey to Israel is a 24/7 immersion in Judaism and all that Jewish life has to offer. Traveling to our Jewish homeland—meeting its diverse people and encountering its rich culture, witnessing its inspiring history and the beautiful land, sensing the sights, sounds, and yes, the tastes—is an experience like no other for nurturing Jewish identity on a foundation of indelible memories.
That is why your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle provides scholarships that enable teens in our community to travel to Israel. For young people with questions about Jewish identity, belonging, and peoplehood, an Israel experience will help them find a lifetime’s worth of answers.
We invite parents to make the dream of an Israel experience come true for their teens by applying for a scholarship, made possible by our many generous donors, our legacy supporters, and the Samis Foundation. We have opened scholarship applications in the hope and expectation that safe travel to Israel will be possible by next summer. For 2020, we granted a number of scholarships in spite of the pandemic, so we are optimistic that we will be able to grant many more scholarships for 2021.
The first-round deadline for returning your completed application is Sunday, February 7, 2021. That’s a few weeks away, so if you’re wondering what your teen might gain from an Israel experience, the insights of teens who have made the journey will give you a strong sense of the impact. After his travel to Israel in 2019, Matan, for example, wrote movingly about the power of the experience:
“Now looking back, I realize how deeply the semester in Israel impacted my life. It was so beneficial for me to go because the experience threw me in the deep end … Throughout the trip, I was presented with a rich, pluralistic learning environment where I could explore what I believed and see where I might align with different beliefs, opinions, and values.”
As Matan learned, a journey to Israel is a priceless learning experience for any Jewish youth. Teens come home with a strengthened sense of their Jewish identity and sense of belonging that will carry forward as they move into adulthood. Being in Israel with peers is a stop on a Jewish journey that will make a lasting impact on your teen and do a world of good in securing a brighter future for Jewish life.
Please consider making a journey to Israel possible for your teen by applying for a teen Israel scholarship. The experience and its memories will be a gift for your child and an assurance that our collective Jewish future will be in good hands.