By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Those of you who have traveled to Israel know how beautiful, enlightening, and inspiring the journey can be. For anyone of any age, a trip to our Jewish homeland creates an indelible sense of belonging to the Jewish people.
Now, imagine what an impact such a journey can have for teens emerging into adulthood, exploring their Jewish identity, and figuring out the Jewish life they want to live.
From what we’ve heard from teens who have gone to Israel, the impact is a life-changing transformation. Every summer, we receive blog posts from teens who have traveled to Israel with the help of scholarships from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.
When you read through these insightful messages, the amazing impact of the journey is immediately obvious.
I’d like to share with you a powerful example, from Miriam’s 2018 journey: “We prayed, we learned about the fall of the first two temples, we visited what felt like millions of historical sites, and every time I was thinking, ‘This is me. This is my Judaism and my history and my right.’ This trip was potentially the first time I ever felt really connected to my ancestry as a Jew, the first time it felt right to say that I can lay claim to my heritage.”
Such heartfelt words illustrate vividly how an Israel experience deepens Jewish identity and why your Federation provides teen Israel scholarships – made possible by many generous donors like you, our legacy supporters, and the Samis Foundation. Every Jewish teen, regardless of financial circumstances, should have the opportunity to travel to Israel, an immersive experience like no other for connecting with community and finding one’s path into Jewish life.
The second-round deadline for applying for a teen Israel scholarship is Friday, March 27. For families who might have missed our first-round deadline in January, now is the time to prepare your scholarship applications and send them to us.
Still wondering about a trip to Israel for your teen? Let me share another inspiring story from a local teen who returned home deeply affected by the experience. As Naftali recalled, “The last thing we did in Israel was probably the most meaningful of everything we did on the trip. We planted a tree, following the famous statement from Taanit 23a, ‘I found a fruitful world, because my ancestors planted it for me. Likewise, I am planting for my children.’”
Giving your teen the gift of an Israel experience is like planting a tree, one more way that together, we can ensure our collective Jewish future through our actions today. Your Federation wants to be your partner in sending your child on a life-changing Israel journey. Let us help – apply for a teen Israel scholarship today.